Twickenham newsagent Meet and Deep vows to continue helping community through lockdown

By Emily Hemsley
May 22 2020, 16.25

Meet and Deep News, a family-run newsagent in Twickenham, has vowed to stay open to residents and deliver essentials to the vulnerable during lockdown.

The shop, on Hampton Rd, Twickenham, is well-known in the community for its charitable efforts.

The business is currently managed by brothers Dee and Meeten Patel while their parents, Shashi and Pallu Patel, self-isolate.

Although the government are allowing newsagents to remain open, thousands of independent newsagents have closed with many struggling to make a profit, while national print newspaper sales have fallen by 30% since the start of the lockdown according to industry sources.

However, Meet and Deep remains busy as its has attracted local and non-local customers by their restriction measures and home delivery system.

“As we are located next to a pub, a restaurant, schools and a busy bus stop, we initially were losing 60% of our trade due to the lockdown, but our new system has meant more customers,” said Dee.

The Patels have used resourceful materials to protect customers including chalk drawings of smiley faces to mark where people should stand while queueing, plastic screens at the till and a flume-type system made from half a drainpipe and a miniature car where customers can hand over their money without getting too close.

“We came up with the system to protect the elderly so they can do their weekly shop freely without coming into contact with others so we have a rule that if someone is in the shop, everyone has to wait.

“Whereas our new customers have come to us as they said that felt unsafe shopping in supermarkets as there are too many people at one time,” said Dee.

To help those in the community, the newsagents has promoted a delivery service to the elderly and vulnerable.

Volunteer, Joe Davidson 34, delivers the produce in his van to the 12 customers free of charge.

As supplies in newsagents are limited, Joe buys customers items, such as meat and vegetables which aren’t sold at Meet and Deep, from local supermarkets and sells them on for the same price.

“We get the elderly customers calling us saying how grateful they are as without us they wouldn’t be able to get their essentials,” said Dee.

The local community are also supporting the much-loved business.

“You are our local heroes thank you for all your hard work!” said @TrishVoice via Twitter.

Dee said: “A man across the road donates money weekly to add a gift to deliveries so we’ve started adding flowers and chocolates to each package to cheer people up.

“We are grateful to those ordering from us, they are helping us stay afloat during these worrying times, but this isn’t about business, we just want to help our community through this difficult time.”

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