Thatcham shops spring into reopening after lockdown 3
THERE was cautious hope in Thatcham this week as shops reopened following the third national lockdown.
Non-essential retail reopened on Monday following the Government roadmap out of lockdown.
And helping to sow the seeds of optimism, Thatcham Town Council has installed a 'Flowers of Recovery' display in the Broadway to encourage people into the town centre.
The owner of Sweet Imagination in the Kingsland Centre, Colette Myers, said she had her fingers crossed that re-opening after lockdown 3 would be the last.
She said business had been "quite busy, a continuous flow of customers coming in. It's good to see people again, including a couple of regulars who have not been in for ages. I've been doing things online but not everyone deals with online. It's nice to see we are back to some sort of normality."
Owner of framing shop PictureIt in High Street, Jay Lunn, said: "It's good to be back. Today was our first day open and we've had a couple of customers in already. I'm optimistic."
Mrs Lunn said she was hopeful of not going into another lockdown.
"Unless there's some hideous variant," she said. "The vaccine programme has been amazing, I'm hoping that's going to make a big difference."
Mrs Lunn said that she had been keeping busy during lockdown on other projects and that lockdown might prove good for some businesses.
She said people had had time to do home improvements when they hadn't beforehand.
"I think lockdown will help us in that respect," she said.
Lesley Sangwell at Community Spirit donation shop in High Street was also hopeful of a last lockdown saying "I hope so, if we have to go back to how it was there's not a lot we can do."
Mrs Sangwell said that lockdown had given them time to clear the shop and restock, and give it a good clean.
"It's given us a bit of time for that at least," she said. "We just need the customers coming in now."
Mrs Sangwell said that customers should aim to drop off items during opening hours, or to contact the shop in advance, and large items cannot be taken at this time.
The Broadway Green display is blooming into life as families and community organisations add to Flowers of Recovery.
The community installation marks the easing out of lockdown and businesses reopening.
People are encouraged to make their own spring flowers – symbols of renewal and hope – from plastic found at home to create a blanket of colour until May 3.
The town council has teamed up with environmental educator Charlotte Allchin for the display.
She said: "I'm really happy. The flowers have really stood out. Using the natural resources means it's weathered the weather really well."
Contributors can repurpose the plastic flowers into insect feeders once the installation comes down.
Mrs Allchin said: "The council very much wanted people to think about sustainability and the impact of things we make and do."
Families can also track down the Easter Bunny’s woodland co-workers with a new activity, Mr Finniebaker’s Easter Factory Trail, running until April 18 around Thatcham town centre, with 10 woodland Easter factory characters hidden in shops.