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Retail spotlight: In the community with Wishes of Cudworth

At Wishes of Cudworth we try and put something back into the village where the shop is based. Any good shop should pride itself on good and friendly service.

Julia Keeling and Chris Fox at The Retas in July.
Owner of Wishes of Cudworth, Julia Keeling and Chris Fox at The Retas in July.

It’s not just the products you sell, though it does help to have lots of great card and gift suppliers, but it’s also having the time for a quick chat too. It’s nice to hear kind feedback and the longer Wishes has been part of the high street the more we’ve wanted to help promote our great village to the wider area. We’re happy to support local charities and promote local events however that sense of responsibility has grown over the last couple of years. It all started with last year’s Cudworth Bunny Trail and this year we’ve been involved with a number of local projects.

Cudworth Bunny Trail

Julia Keeling with the Bunny Trail leaflet and stickers.
Julia Keeling with the Bunny Trail leaflet and stickers.

We’re currently three months into the 2018 Cudworth Bunny Trail and there’s no doubt this year it’s really taken off. We’ve even had to print more stickers off and seen people travel from all over Yorkshire to do the trail. A quick recap of what we do: there are 12 bunnies, each decorated by a different artist, hidden in 12 shops around Cudworth. Local children and parents pick up a leaflet/map and use it find the bunnies. The leaflet has expanded up to 12 pages this year with artist bios and information about keeping Cudworth tidy.

The bunnies in 2018 have been decorated by artists, some Barnsley-based, some more Yorkshire wide plus we’ve even been lucky enough to have two decorated by our card suppliers, Cherry Orchard and Lola Design. One of the key areas this year was our school assembles. One of our community association members Andrew Scattergood gave a presentation and we gave out nearly 1,000 leaflets. It’s cost us a fortune in sweats as every Bunny Trailer gets a little treat bag but the increase in foot fall, not just in our shop but on the whole high street has been terrific.

Cudworth Christmas Lights

Julia with a collection pot for the Cudworth Christmas lights.
Julia with a collection pot for the Cudworth Christmas lights.

Running up to Christmas last year the news came that after 2017 there would be no Christmas lights in Cudworth. The disappointed Cudworth community and local shops voiced their concerns and for the last time the lights went up. To be fair to the Council the lights had quite clearly seen better days, a shadow of their former glories they barely stood out against the lamp posts and take away signs. A group of us got together to form the Cudworth Businesses & Community Together association and set about raising money to buy new lights for the community.

That was way back in January and to be honest we found ourselves in a tricky situation. We soon were in middle of the hottest summer many could remember. It was summer of endless BBQs, England storming into the World Cup semi-finals and we were asking everyone to think about Christmas! Still as a group we never let our heads drop: we held raffles, the first a giant Easter egg which really started the ball rolling. We stood with a collection tubs in the local Co-op, handing out leaflets and as more and more people joined the campaign. We did local galas and even a pub crawl.

It was hot work fundraising for Christmas lights in the middle of a heatwave!
It was hot work fundraising for Christmas lights in the middle of a heatwave!

To add a modern twist to this, we set up an online CrowdFunder, which has just hit its £4,500 target (we had the added bonus of some £2,000 matched funding from Barnsley Council as part of their Barnsley Boost campaign). The CrowdFunder really help us reach a larger audience, especially people who had moved away but had fond memories of Cudworth at Christmas.

We’re just getting the last few pledges in as some local businesses have sponsored a light. We’ve even had three local families who have chosen lights as memorial. If we hit our target of £12,500 we’ll be able to buy 25 new lights. To do this will be a real coming together of the Cudworth community to ensure the village is truly festive thus Christmas.

Wishes of Cudworth is proud to be part of the community and village from which part of our name comes from. We can only encourage more small businesses to work together, with each other and with the wider community as together you really are stronger.

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