{igallery id=2766|cid=80|pid=1|type=category|children=0|addlinks=0|tags=|limit=40}

Andover & Villages was blown away today in the small Pop Up Shop at the top of Andover High Street.

News has spread of the ‘Encounters’ experience that has taken over the shop until 15th June 2014, tales of sheep and a cardboard cut out of our ‘Millennium Man’ grace pages on Facebook and Twitter, but we wanted to find out exactly what is going on and what the goal is.

Ruth Ben-Tovin is the Creative Director of Encounters Arts and is helping to run the Andover Encounters shop with the myriad of activities that are ever-changing during their stay at the top of the High Street. The project that moves from town to town across the UK encourages residents to look at what their area means to them, helps them to invest their thoughts on improvements and get them interacting with each other and the location itself.

The project is funded by Section 106 money that is given by local developers, in this instance the Andover Business Park development.

AaV was shocked at how much was packed into a small shop, from the giant chalk board asking the question “What would you most like to ask?” to small handmade woolly sheep that are then hidden across the town for people to find and return to the Encounters Shop.

One of the projects is ‘Tell the Bees’, which is a made up beehive with slots for you to write a message of support or inspiration for someone and in return you take one yourself, a truly thoughtful, personal and interactive experience, one that brings the minds of our town together.

50-80 people have visited the Encounters shop each day, with no emphasis on any age bracket, people from all walks of life have taken the time to visit and contribute.

Alex Hoare, Test Valley Borough Council Arts Officer told AaV, “The Encounters project has gone really well, and I am really pleased we are reaching a diversity of the people that live in and visit Andover. I am passionate that all of the information and ideas collected go somewhere and doesn’t just ‘go away’ when the shop shuts on 15th June.”

Please do take the time to go and visit before Encounters leave on 15th June. It’s a piece of Andover’s history that is in the making and it is so important for us all to be a part of it.

Encounters is open Wed-Sat 10am-6pm.

Polly has almost 20 years in the media industry. As Editor of Andover and Villages, she strives to bring the latest and greatest news with a minutes notice. Polly can be contacted via editor@andoverandvillages.co.uk or alternatively called at