Chatsworth Estate Farm Shop launches food deliveries to the vulnerable

The Chatsworth Estate Farm Shop in Pilsley has launched a new home delivery service with priority given to those who are either ill with the coronavirus, particularly vulnerable to infection such as the elderly, or people who are self-isolating.

With capacity for 75 deliveries daily as well as 60+ click and collect slots, the estate farm shop can now help around 140 customers per day (nearly 1000 a week) to receive fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, fish and groceries either direct to their doorstep or straight into their car boot. 

As well as the usual estate farm shop opening hours, a dedicated delivery and collection operation has been set up with three telephonists, two till operators, two payment processors, seven pickers and five drivers, operational seven-days a week. Advance orders are being taken by phone for collection at the shop without leaving the car – goods are loaded straight into the boot by the collections team.

From across the Chatsworth Estate, staff normally working in catering, retail, marketing, IT, the Chatsworth Gym and elsewhere have been working around the clock to introduce the delivery service to support local communities.

Initially, a fulfilment centre was set up in the estate farm shop café, closed during the pandemic, but it quickly became clear that it wasn’t sufficient. A larger, more suitable space was created by putting up a marquee (usually used at Christmas) in the courtyard and converting it to a fully operational fulfilment centre in just a few hours. 

Delivery drivers returning to the estate farm shop are reporting that their jobs are as rewarding as anything they’ve ever done, with some customers in tears on their doorsteps.

Local suppliers such as Tomsons Fruit and Vegetables and RG Morris Fishmongers from Buxton, Bloomers of Bakewell and Matlock Meadows Ice Cream have been supporting Chatsworth Estate Farm Shop with both stock and additional vans for deliveries.

As well as these new services, Chatsworth Estate Farm Shop is still open as usual but has implemented a range of measures to ensure that customers can shop safely, respecting social distancing guidelines.

  • Hand wash stations have been installed outside the shop entrance. All customers are asked to clean their hands thoroughly before handling any produce or entering the shop
  • During busy periods a single shopper policy will operate whereby only one person from each family group can enter the shop
  • An external queuing area has been introduced, which will be used during busy periods 
  • At checkout and across other areas of the shop, there are marked spaces on the floor to help customers adhere to safe social distancing
  • Customers are asked to use contactless payment and avoid using cash where possible
  • Team members are working throughout the day cleaning touch points such as handbaskets, trolley handles, door handles, till areas and card machines.

A regular award winner, more than half of all the products at the estate farm shop are either produced or prepared on the Chatsworth Estate. With a wealth of talented producers within easy reach, the estate farm shop prefers to source from small local suppliers wherever possible – some relationships stretching back more than 30 years.

Established by the Duchess Deborah in 1977, the shop sold beef and lamb from the estate farms, and venison from the park. Its aim was to sell Chatsworth’s produce directly to the people who wanted to eat top quality, locally grown food.

The house, farmyard, adventure playground, garden, gift shops, restaurants and car parks at Chatsworth will remain closed until further notice. Home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, the Derbyshire estate took the decision to close in response to the rapid spread of the coronavirus.

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