Waitrose – at the heart of Cirencester's community

PUBLISHED: 14:04 16 November 2012 | UPDATED: 12:00 19 April 2013

New Cheese and Deli Counter

New Cheese and Deli Counter

Cirencester's new-look Waitrose has more than 700 new lines and a bigger cafe, yet it's still managed to half its carbon footprint. Impressive stuff, says Katie Jarvis

Waitrose at the heart of Cirencesters community

Cirencesters new-look Waitrose has more than 700 new lines and a bigger caf, yet its still managed to half its carbon footprint. Impressive stuff, says Katie Jarvis

You may have seen this years Waitrose Christmas ad: Delia and Heston in the barest of rooms. Instead of a fancy TV ad, were able to give more to local good causes than ever before, Heston explains.

This year, the Waitrose group wants to make a difference. Rather than spending thousands on television marketing, theyre increasing each stores December Community Matters budget to 3,000. These pots of gold will each be divided amongst three nominated local charities, with shoppers deciding on proportions via the stores green-token vote system.

One of Cirencesters charities is The Wiggly Worm, an inventive and innovative organisation that uses food and cooking to improve health and self-esteem amongst the vulnerable, disadvantaged or seldom heard. Rob Rees of the charity was at Cirencester Waitrose at the end of October, officially to open the new-look store after its 3 million refit.

Waitrose is one of the most ethical of all the stores in terms of involving its people in decision-making and process. And its always been ahead of the game in selling good-quality, local products, said Rob, who was awarded an MBE in 2006 for his campaigning and other good work on behalf of the food industry.

The Wiggly Worm is planning to use its windfall for a social enterprise scheme with Cirencester Farmers Market. The details are as-yet under wraps, But what I can say is that it will involve the whole community, Rob said.

More than 700 new lines have been introduced into Cirencesters new-look Waitrose; many sections have been enlarged including a bigger caf - and there are more checkout and self-scan facilities. All this, yet the carbon footprint has been more than halved.

Steve Gardiner is manager of the Cirencester branch, one of the most profitable stores in the whole group, as well as being an elected member of the John Lewis Partnership board. Customers have been asking if weve had the store extended, but the answer is, no! The refit has just been designed so well. Amazingly, it has given us more space to put in more lines, but it has also managed to make the store feel bigger.

We have had a 95 percent positive and even ecstatic - response and; the negative has been more about adjusting to change. Our customers are very loyal.

Hes also right behind Rob Rees and The Wiggly Worms plans to support Cirencester Farmers Market. People might perceive the farmers market as competition to us but I see it as an added benefit to the town as a whole, he said. I have seen what Stroud Farmers Market has done for the town its a fantastic asset and Cirencester needs something equally good. If we can make Cirencester a food destination, well all reap the benefit.

To find out more about The Wiggly Worm, visit www.thewigglyworm.org.uk

Cirencesters new-look Waitrose is at Sheep Street, Cirencester GL7 1SZ,

01285 643733; www.waitrose.com

Latest from the Cotswold Life