There is still much to do with the Forge and plenty more opportunity to make it even better, but a number of things have happened recently that we are very pleased about.
Firstly, and most rewardingly, Luke Shepperd, one of our keen volunteers got a job at Carluccios in Chichester – mostly on the strength of his own abilities of course, but backed up by the experience he gained at the Forge and the reference we were able to give him. Luke said “I’d never have got the job if Maria hadn’t taught me how to make good coffee”. Congratulations Luke – although it does mean we have lost some of Luke’s much valued volunteering (but only some, he still comes in from time to time to help out when he can).
Then we finally worked out how to do cash back (it needed an extra download for the card-reader machine). We can offer cash back on debit cards when you spend more that £5 – and this is subject to us having enough cash in the till and only Maria and Julie are authorised to carry out this service.
We have a new veg supplier – Sevi, from East Wittering who visits Covent Garden each day AND trawls the local growers for seasonal and local produce. Many have commented on the deliciousness, quality and range we now offer.
Many thanks to Polly Dutton too who was able to get hold of wonderful strawberries this June and lovely flowers.
We’re also busily searching for additional local suppliers – its amazing who you find out there (not all of them very good, so we have to be selective!).
We are comfortably hitting our sales forecasts (although we have a bit of catching up to do after the impact of the weather early this year) and some may be surprised to learn that although the café is very popular and often full, sales in the SHOP account for two-thirds of turnover.
Finally, we are up for a surprising number of awards for the renovations and the community services the Forge offers – fingers crossed and more news on the results next month.