Trying to cut down on plastic…

Jo Hampson and Dal Dawkins showing old plastic and replacement card

Jo Hampson and Dal Dawkins showing old plastic and replacement card

Like many others, we do our best to be environmentally sound, although it’s not always easy in the world of take-away food.

We have had some coverage in the media about our efforts (our press release) and we have also had an enquiry from one of our local schools! Pupils at Crosby Ravensworth C of E School sent letters to companies big and small, asking what they were doing about plastics… half the companies replied, including Shap Chippy. Apparently my letter got 10 out of 10! Finally aged fifty-something, 10/10… yay!

This is what I wrote back to Sam…

Thank you very much for your letter about plastic at Shap Chippy which was delivered to us on the 9th February. I am very pleased that you are taking an interest in these important subjects. We are also worried about plastic rubbish.

Sometimes problems come with progress but I do not think we can stop progress…

Fish and chips used to be wrapped in newspaper which saved money and recycled paper – progress! But the problem was that newspaper had poisonous ink on and germs from lots of hands, so now we have to use new, clean paper.

Fish and chips are best hot, and the invention of polystyrene meant they stayed hot longer! This was progress! The problem was that polystyrene is bad for the environment. Shap Chippy now uses “bio-boxes”. These are made from plant waste – this is progress! The problem is they have to travel from China. The polystyrene boxes used less fuel to get to Shap as they are made in Preston. Another problem is that the bio boxes cost three times as much and not every one wants to pay extra.

The invention of plastic bags was progress! They were invented as a cheap and convenient way to solve the problem of carrying a lot of shopping. But they are now part of the big problem: rubbish everywhere.

The Government tried to stop people using plastic bags by making big companies charge for them. Shap Chippy is a small company so we did not have to charge for them. We decided to charge for our bags to try and stop people using them and it has worked! Lots of people now bring their own bags for fish and chips which is great! We charge for the bags we do sell and give the money to the charity shop next door. We hope to get paper alternatives soon but we can’t get big enough bags with handles and they are all very expensive. We hope to offer a choice soon, which will mean even fewer plastic bags are used.

We have free wooden forks for our food. We charge for plastic forks so most people use the free wooden ones, but some people want something bigger. The money we charge for plastic forks we give to help keep Shap Swimming Pool open! Biodegradable forks are now becoming available but they cost four times more than the plastic ones. We hope to sell them soon.

I hope that this helps you realise we want to reduce plastic. Another reason we want to stop people using plastic bags is because our boxes need air to keep the fish and chips crispy. The plastic bags seals the boxes and can make the food soggy!

I wonder whether you saw what I had put on Facebook on the 1st February?!

“Shap Chippy
Published by Georgina Perkins · 1 February ·
Like a lot of people we are looking at ways to reduce our use of plastic… We got rid of polystyrene boxes last year in favour of our bio-boxes (NB they go in your garden waste!) and we are hoping to get cardboard pots for side orders of curry, gravy and peas… in the meantime if you would prefer to have your side in the bio-box with your meal and not have a pot, please ask! We are researching lots of options… Every little helps!”

We have progressed since then!

Shap Chippy Facebook about plastic reduction

Shap Chippy Facebook about plastic reduction

Border News ITV Coverage of Shap Chippy “Best New Fish and Chip Shop in the UK”




County and National Awards…

Having secured our Quality Award last year we realised the benefit of having targets – it keeps us focused on getting things right and on making improvements!

Today we have been shortlisted – one of only three – in the “Best Newcomer” category of the UK annual Fish and Chip awards.  Apparently the calibre of applicants was outstanding!  I am SO proud of our whole team. As well as a very detailed application form the judging is based on a “mystery shop” and unannounced visit (which coincided with the unannounced Environmental Health Officer’s inspection!) which must have gone better than it felt!

The judging of the final three (the others are in Keighley and Cleveland) takes place over the next month or so, with more mystery visits… The National Fish and Chip Awards Press Release is here.

On the screen at the awards ceremony

On the screen at the awards ceremony

Last month we were at the Cumberland News Business Awards gala dinner – a grand night out where Shap Chippy was a finalist in the Best New Business category.  We had to settle for being a runner up on what was a great occasion!


One year on…

It doesn’t seem that long ago that the scaffolding was up around the old chip shop in Shap, we were tearing our hair out and wondering what we had got into… and yet we have now been up and running for over a year and it’s been fantastic!

THANK YOU to everyone who has enjoyed their food with us over the past year… see you again soon!


Battered by the weather rather than battered cod!

Lights but no Chippy sign!

Lights but no Chippy sign!

It was such a proud moment last year when we got our new sign up, but the outrageous weather over Christmas has not only seen rain coming in but has reduced us to uncertain identity!

As we checked our premises each day over the Christmas break I was delighted to see our festive lights bravely hanging on – it took a few days to realise that our sign was missing!  Fortunately it was rescued as it hurtled up the street – but it has been retired hurt.

Our new sign will be up next week – free chips to the first person to notice the slight difference!

Quality Award – and Baked Beans!

Important things first… we now offer baked beans as an alternative (or in addition) to mushy peas!

We did it! Just after we heard we had ticked all 300 boxes...

We did it! Just after we heard we had ticked all 300 boxes…

Dan Harding presenting the NFFF Quality Award to us

Dan Harding presenting the NFFF Quality Award to us

Last week we finally received the news that we had reached the required standard for the National Federation of Fish Friers Quality Award – only four fish and chip shops in Cumbria currently hold it.  It was hard work – not only do we have to ensure we are buying frying and serving top quality food but we have to prove that we have recording systems in place for cleaning and hygiene, staff training and so on… aiming for this award has helped us start as we mean to go on – and we are carrying on learning all the time!  It’s been reported on the Westmorland Gazette site so far.



Who runs the Chippy?

Who runs the Chippy?

Gwyn with her Great North Run 2013 finisher's medal

Gwyn with her Great North Run 2013 finisher’s medal

Well Gwyn, sometimes, but on Sunday she was running the Great North Run and completed it in a commendable 2 hrs 30 minutes… at that speed you’d think she could have got back and put a shift in at the Chippy!

Thank you to all those who sponsored her – all funds go to The Great North Air Ambulance.  The Management said they would match up to £100 of sponsorship and our customers – both regulars and those just passing through – have ensured we have to stump up the full amount – and we’re delighted so to do!

Well done Gwyn!


Crosby Ravensworth Show

Award winning spuds!

Crosby Ravensworth Show and Vintage Rally has been going for over 150 years and this year Shap Chippy was invited to sponsor a class or two… I asked if there was a fish class in the livestock section, but no, there wasn’t.  Nor was there batter in the baking section or pickled eggs or pickled onions… However with a little persuading we sponsored a couple of potato classes and a pea class – though not the marrowfat peas from which our rather splendid mushy peas are made every day!

Peas in pods

The show was great fun as ever, although not many people seemed to enter the horticultural section and Mr Newby seemed to win first, second and third in nearly all the classes!  Congratulations to him and all the other gardeners.  More next year, please!