June the 26th 2020

The trustees are still waiting to see if the transmission rate of Covid-19 continues to follow a downward trend. Only when they feel that the level of risk to both staff and customers is acceptable will they consider re-opening the shop on Warwick Parade.

In the meantime options regarding measures  to safeguard the staff and customers have been considered and discussed. More about this will be published in the next few weeks, including how donations will be accepted when the time comes.

Taking into consideration the average age and potential vulnerability of the volunteers working at the shop, they would obviously be provided with full face visors and protective gloves as well as continual access to hand sanitizer. 


May the 28th 2020

As most of you reading this post will know it has been announced that all remaining non-essential shops can re-open on the 15th of June.

However the Trustees of Mister Gees Foundation think that prudence should guide us and with that in mind have decided to make no decision as to when the charity shop might re-open for at least another four weeks after that date..

This would allow time to see if there is a "second spike" and also look at how other charity shops are keeping their staff and customers safe, bearing in mind that we be handling donated goods that should be quarantined for at least seventy two hours.

Please do not leave any donations outside the shop or in the bin until the shop re-opens.

A budget and cash flow for 2020 - 2021 has been produced and even if the shop doesn’t open until after August it would still generate over fifty thousand pounds profit for the charity by the end of the financial year next March, of which at least half will be made available for use here in the village.

Once again may I personally thank everybody, donors, customers and staff for their help and support with what the shop does and ask that work together to maintain the safety of all concerned.

Rest assured, the shop will re-open as soon as is practical and you will be kept informed as to when that will be.

Regards to all from the trustees of Mister Gees Foundation, UK Charity No. 1181204



April the 7th 2020

Even as I write the Prime Minister is in St. Thomas' Hospital being cared for by NHS staff; a clearer indication that Covid-19 has no respect for age, gender or position could not be demonstrated.


I have no intention of entering into the political arena with personal comments but I do hope that he and everybody else with this terrible virus makes a full recovery.  However, I would like to express my surprise when last week President Donald Trump extended the travel restrictions in the USA beyond his original deadline as I had fully expected him to move Easter rather than lose face. After all if Pope Gregory the thirteenth could make ten days disappear in 1582 and the UK Parliament moved from September the 2nd to September the 14th overnight in 1752 surely a couple of months either way would be small fry to  King Donald the first.

Please follow the government's guidelines to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.

Enough of that, the latest financial report is now available here on line and within it the end of year results. I can't see how next year will be anywhere near as successful but hopefully with help the shop will weather the storm and re-open as soon as is possible. In the meantime I will draw up a new budget and cash flow for the next twelve months and start thinking outside the square in order to generate income.

Lastly, if you look at the year end figures the P&L statement will show that in 2019 - 2020 the trading company made a loss of £6,149.14 This was quite intentional in order to ensure that no corporation tax will be payable for this year.



Please stay safe as we look forward to seeing you all and accepting donations as and when normality returns.



February the 17th 2020

Since last writing in this section of the website a very dear friend has died at the age of seventy one. And whilst the name of Hazel Murphy A.M. will mean nothing to most of you it is through my association with her that Mister Gees Foundation exists today.

I first met Hazel in 1992 on my inaugural trip to Australia and it was the start of a friendship that lasted until I went into self imposed exile in 2017, it was she who introduced me to Viv Thomson at Best's Wines where a decade later I spent five years as the general manager and CEO of his family's winery in the farming belt of western Victoria.

It was during this period that I became aware of just how much water it takes to produce a single bottle of wine and the potentially catastrophic water and food shortages in years to come, not only in Australia but worldwide, without this  knowledge Mister Gees Foundation would likely never have been conceived.  

God bless you Hazel  and I look forward to raising a glass of Thomson Family Shiraz in your memory.


December the 13th 2019

I refuse to get involved in party politics, perhaps it's my age and the ensuing cynicism that comes with the years or it might just be my amazement that people who put themselves forward in a high profile position appear incapable of organizing a piss up in a brewery, or even a sweet shop in South Woodham Ferrers.


Oh well, all I can do is wait and see what the next four years brings for the country, but in the meantime Santa and his Elves will continue to beaver away running the charity shop on Warwick Parade . 

As we approach the holiday season on behalf of everybody at Mister Gees Foundation charity shop may I take this opportunity to wish you all a Very Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Having completed another twelve months of trading, unlike the limited “festive period for giving”, here in the village it has lasted throughout; for this we can only say thank you. In return the staff have sorted, priced and sold your donations enabling the shop to contribute one hundred and twenty thousand pounds to the registered charity since December last year.


Not less than half that sum has been earmarked for good causes here in South Woodham Ferrers and to date used by such diverse groups as flower arrangers, park runners, local pre-schools and girl guides, not to mention the defibrillator on the station and seating on the sea wall.

Sixteen scholarships, each worth five thousand pounds have also been funded by the shop since opening in November 2017. These have made it possible for students that otherwise might not have been able to afford a master’s degree in sustainable farming, sustainable fishing and water management at UK universities.


The expertise gained by these individuals will be indispensable in a world affected by climate change and with a growing population that will need food and water.

Once again many thanks for your continuing support and can I remind you that the shop opening hours over the festive period will be as shown below.

November the 14th 2019

Hopefully, by the week-end I will have completed the financial report for the last four weeks and be back on track; however before then I should like to thank everybody at the Foundation Shop who has worked so hard to ensure that it continued to run as normal during my recent stay in the NHS hotel at Broomfield.

During this period they even achieved the best ever sales in a single week, over two thousand eight hundred pounds, so it just goes to show how little I’m needed.

Since the shop opened in November 2017 it has had a gross income from the retail shop sales and the sale of reject clothing and books etc. of £186,309. To date the shop has donated £135,413 to the Village Group and Foundation scholarships; sixty nine thousand of that sum has been since April the 1st this year.


The other 28p in the pound has paid for the rent, rates, heating and lighting, together with other things like insurance, water, sewerage and even sturdy black sacks that we use about three hundred of every four weeks.

As the sales continue to increase with the fixed overheads remaining the same I’m hoping to get the level of donations nearer to 80p for every pound of income.

Still, I’ll get back to the books and once again can I thank everybody who has worked so hard in the shop as well as all of those customers and friends that have enquired as to my health.

The latest financial report up to the 10th of November is now available here on the web-site.


Octtober the 21st 2019

I'm a week late this month with the Latest News and The Financial Report, but then again, compared to our elected representatives in Parliament, that's nothing.

The dust has yet to settle on the income from the CAMRA Beer Festival at the village hall but it should be no less than last year which grossed Approx. £650.00 The three raffle prizes, consisting of the yard of ale glass and twelve bottles of beer, the Toby jug and two bottles of beer and the glass tankard and a single bottle of beer were won by Mr Hinton of Maldon with Blue ticket No. 490, Mr Joyce of Wickford with Green ticket No. 472 and Mr Lambert of South Woodham Ferrers with Blue ticket No, 367. Many thanks to all who purchased raffle tickets and or made donations via the collection buckets.

The shop is still in need of extra staff all day on Tuesdays and on Thursday afternoon, if you can help we would be most grateful.

The Village Group this month made donations to SWF Badminton Acadamy, the 1st SWF Girls Brigade, the open door toddler group, SWF Bereavement Support Group, SWF Rugby Club and the food bank. 

The Financial Report for the last four weeks is now available in full.



September the 18th 2019

As mentioned in the latest financial report, along with the other shops on Warwick Parade the foundation is feeling the effects of.the continued road closure at the junction of Hullbridge Road and Burnham Road. Hopefully it will soon reopen.

Last month I thanked Ahead4 who came to our rescue and sorted out our internet connection, this month it has been greenrecycling of Heybridge that have solved the excess book situation. Every week we get some books that are for various reasons unsaleable, be it water damage or just general ware and tare. these are now being collected by greenrecycling.   This is yet another example of a local business supporting the charity. Please give them your support and trade locally. Visit our thank you page.

We are still in need of some extra help in the shop on a Tuesday and Thursday, so if you can be of any assistance please call in and ask for Douglas or Val, if we are not there just leave a telephone number and we will call back.

Once again the end of period figures have now been produced and are posted here on the website as well as on the South Woodham Ferrers Facebook page.

Please, please get in any applications to The Village Group for financial assistance for your local group or organisation, forms are available on the website or just call in at the shop and ask for one.


August the 23rd 2019

This last week and a bit have been rather hectic, I've been to see the surgeon, the physio and attended a funeral; on top of which the shop has had thee four hundred pound plus days.

One of the biggest problems was that the internet connection had "packed up". No bank access, no credit card machine, no accounts that are cloud based and no social media, not that that was overly missed by me.

Anyhow, after a telephone call to the boys at Ahead4 all is now good.thanks to Richard. He very diplomatically pointed out that the problem had been caused by my interference, I was not supposed to have pressed all of the buttons including the reset button, all in the wrong order. I can only say a big thank you to them for sorting everything out and doing it at their own expense. This is yet another example of a local business supporting the charity. Please give them your support and shop locally. Visit our thank you page.

We are still in need of some extra help in the shop on a Tuesday and Thursday, so if you can be of any assistance please call in and ask for Douglas or Val, if we are not there just leave a telephone number and we will call back.

Lastly the end of period figures have now been produced and will be posted on the website as soon as the electrical goods stop flooding in through the office door.

As ever my thanks go out to everybody who has supported the foundation and the shop staff who all work so hard to keep the shelves full and the stockroom tidy.




July the 27th 2019

I write this missal at least once a month now but often wonder if anybody reads it.

When producing the latest financial report earlier today I was horrified to discover that I'd not changed the links to the PDF's from the previous month. This makes me wonder if anybody looks at them either, or is it only to satisfy my desire for transparency that I go through the exercise every four weeks.

Yesterday the foundation funded two more scholarships each worth five thousand pounds for students to study masters degrees in water management.

The shop continues to trade well and in the first sixteen weeks of this financial year total income has exceeded thirty five thousand pounds, of which thirty thousand has been paid into the charity's bank account.

As ever the shop continues to attract a vast assortment of donations, yesterday we sold an ice shaver and even whilst  I'm writing this somebody has just dropped off a large umbrella, ideal for either the sun or the rain. E-bay sales continue to grow, but it is totally dependant upon me having the time to list the items. Only last week we sold a set of speakers for one hundred and thirty eight pounds.


At long last the shop is gearing up for gift aid, the forms have been designed and a copy will be posted on the website for donors to  download, complete and return to the shop. Hard copies are available in-store. for collection.

Well, it will soon be time to open the shop and starting selling again, there is an abundance of DVD's for children and adults at only twenty pence each and plenty of games and toys to avert the boredom, just right for a day like this.




June the 25th 2019

It is great to be back in the office again after my operation, I as getting stir crazy in the flat upstairs.

Trade this last four weeks on the hole parade has been a wee bit slower than normal, mainly due to the traffic disruption at the junction of Hullbridge Road and Burnham Road and the change in traffic patterns.

At long last we now have HMRC approval for gift aid and will shortly sort out the relevant forms in order to reclaim the tax paid by donors. 


Even though the rent has now been paid up to the end of September we have still managed to transfer another five thousand to the Foundation Charity account during this last four weeks.

Once again the latest financial report is now available here on the website and on facebook

May the 29th 2019

At long last I'm about to go under the surgeon's knife and get my hip sorted out and although this is likely to keep me out of the shop for a few weeks it may well give me the opportunity to revamp this website with a few more pictures and a lot more colour.

Fortunately Val Shrimpton has either agreed to undertake herself or arranged  cover for my absence, so once again it is the team of volunteers who will end up carrying me along with them, something for which I am as ever most grateful.

Talking of staffing, there are a few "shifts" in the morning and in the afternoon  that need some extra cover for the foreseeable future,  In particular Tuesday, Thursday and Friday afternoon from 13:00 'til 16:30 and Friday morning.

 from 09:30 am 'til 13:00. If you can be of any assistance, please telephone 07434 830379 or call in at the shop and leave your contact details.

After the first eight weeks of this the new financial year we are already ahead of budget for sales so long may it last.

Once again the latest financial report is now available here on the website and on facebook..




April the 28th 2019

The shop gets busier and busier every week, it really wasn't that long ago when if the sales had reached five hundred pounds by the end of Wednesday I thought that we were doing rather well.  It is just a matter of time now until we break the five hundred pound target in a single day. We came very close to it three weeks ago, in fact so close that had I realised just how close we were before cashing up I would have spent ten pounds on something, anything just to get us over the bar.


As well as serving the growing number of customers every day, the volunteers work flat out in order to keep the shop well stocked and looking tidy but one of the hardest tasks is keeping up with sorting and pricing all of the donations received. It is however one of the most essential aspects of the store, often just working flat out to keep a clear passage through to the rear door.

The day to day book keeping keeps me pretty busy as well as things like the banking and PAT testing the electrical items before putting them out for sale.


The only down side to all of this is that I seem to get less and less time to spend taking care of the administration needed and more importantly keeping the website, the staff  and articles in the South Woodham Focus up to date, however I will continue to do my best.

The latest financial report is now available here on the website and on facebook.

April the 3rd 2019

After the rather pleasant weather that we have been enjoying this last ten days or so this morning sitting here at the computer and looking out of the window is a little depressing, but having just completed the last four weeks trading results the outlook is very sunny. It will be very interesting when I start to build next year's budgets and cash flow in a couple of weeks time to see just what next year might have in store.

The foundation trading company is now in receipt of the sales of bulk clothing, books and discs again as well as actively selling on E-bay and Discogs. These income streams contributed over seventeen hundred pounds to the total receipts in the last period.

During the last couple of weeks Heather Morgan has poured over the end of day till printouts and has audited all of the figures that have been entered into the accounting programme in readiness for the year end presentation to Pocknells our accountants. 

As pointed out in the latest financial report, in order to comply with the wishes of the charity commission all of the profit generated by the foundation trading company, which operates the shop on Warwick Parade, can only be given to the newly registered charity Mister Gees Foundation Charity......Registered Number UK 1181204. 

From now on applications for funding or suggestions for usage will continue to be sent to the Village Group, however payments will be made directly from the charity's NatWest bank account, the balance of which can now be seen in the financial report on line each month.

In store a large television has been installed and is displaying a slide show presentation showing just how effective your support has been and how the money raised is being used here in South Woodham Ferrers. Again, please may I have photographs, preferably as JPEGS from those beneficiaries who have yet to send any for use in store.

Lastly the financial report for the last four weeks has been posted.



February the 4th 2019

This last four weeks has seen an increase in sales via the shop on Warwick Parade as well as income from other streams. Combined this has taken the gross income to a new level of just under ten thousand pounds in the last sales period.

Having registered as a Charity Seller with E-bay, once again we are advertising goods for sale via the site.

There is now the facility for individuals to donate a percentage of any item that they may sell on the site to the foundation with the added benefit of the sellers fees being reduced by whatever percentage they choose to donate. i.e. if they donate 20% then their fees are reduced by 20% and so on.   

The next step is to seek HMRC approval for gift-aid and although this in itself will necessitate some changes in the way that the shop operates  it has the ability to add yet another twenty percent to our income.

With help and assistance a revamp of this web-site is now underway, it is hoped to "brighten up" the site and also make it possible to donate to the charity by using a designated button.

In store a large television has been installed and will shortly be displaying a "PowerPoint" presentation showing just how effective your support has been and how the money raised is being used here in South Woodham Ferrers. There will be a link to the presentation from the site.


Lastly the latest financial report has been posted.


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