The countdown begins! | The Hospice of St. Francis

The countdown begins!

It’s been great to see Chesham coming back to life this week as lockdown eases and people are venturing out again. We have waited a long time to open this shop.

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Sarah Coles, our Director of Sustainable Trading and a Chesham resident, had the idea to open a bookshop many years ago and we were primed to open on the High Street 28th March before lockdown cut us short. We are very excited about opening and we have lots of good things to share with you.

We currently have about 15,000 books in stock well as vinyl, cds and dvds, all of which have been donated by local people. We have so far identified around 500 rare and valuable books, some of which are on show in the shop, but which we have placed on sale on our online platform at Abe Books. If you can’t see what you’re looking for we operate a free requests service and will let you know if we find a book you’re hunting for.

All of the furniture and bookshelves in the shop have been upcycled from donated materials because sustainability is the keynote of our business ethos. We want to encourage our customers develop healthy habits and recycling their waste and unwanted goods is one of the foundations of an ethical lifestyle and reflects one of the Hospice’s key goals which is to help people make the most of their precious lives well.

The theme of putting new wine in old bottles runs throughout the shop. On the walls you will see framed book jackets and vinyl covers as part of our mission to save and celebrate iconic artwork. Our Book Hospital will be open and we welcome you to bring in your old books that could do with some care and attention from our bookbinding experts who will repair your books in return for a donation to the charity.

On opening we are launching an Alice in Wonderland competition in which we encourage young people to reimagine the book and design a new book jacket for the twenty-first century. One of our goals is to support and encourage creativity in the community and we will be launching a creative writing course which you can join online. We currently run an online book club which will be discussing When the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens on Tuesday 30th June at 7.30pm.

As a community bookshop we are delighted that so many Chesham residents have come in and recorded childrens’ stories which we post on Facebook every Friday. We would love to operate as a community hub and information exchange and will hold information on a variety of Hospice of Francis community services. A big thank you to everyone who has donated books or registered as a volunteer and helped us build this this community made shop. We look forward to you welcoming you through our doors next week and helping to support the work of the Hospice in enabling local people to live their precious lives well.

The countdown to the opening of Chapter Two begins!