Hard times on the high street and the rise of online shopping has not dampened the ambition or spirits of the retail team at Demelza Hospice Care for Children. The charity has 27 shops across South East London, Kent and East Sussex and opened its newest shop in Hempstead Valley Shopping Centre, Gillingham – the first charity shop to do so.
Demelza Hospice Care for Children provides specialist care and emotional support for children with serious or terminal conditions, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, free of charge. 88% of the funds needed to run the services comes from supporters, with retail sales from their shops forming a huge chunk of income.
The new shop is a haven of pre-loved and vintage bargains, stocking clothes, shoes, media, toys, bric-a-brac, books and household items, as well as gifts, ornaments, accessories, seasonal products and bags.
Ashley Henson, Demelza’s Director of Retail said: “We are delighted to be the first charity shop in the Hempstead Valley Shopping Centre and can’t wait to open our doors to customers in November. Opening a new shop takes a great deal of effort and I’d like to thank everyone who has got us this far. The shop is looking fantastic and we have some great stock. We’re looking forward to offering consumers a wide range of pre-loved items, as well as working side by side with some of the bigger brands you would expect to see in such a successful shopping centre. This shop really is going to be special! It is pivotal to supporting both Demelza and sustainability in retail”.
The shop was opened on 12 November by Georgina from Medway whose son, Elliott, eight, attends Demelza’s hospice in Sittingbourne. Georgina said: “I’m honoured to have been invited to open the new Demelza shop in Hempstead Valley. It will be fantastic to have a local shop and I’d like to encourage everyone to come along and pick up some bargains. Demelza have been a life line for us and supported us all as a family which we are truly grateful for”.
Donations can be dropped at the shop from 17 November or at the Maidstone Warehouse or the donation station at the Sittingbourne hospice site from Monday to Friday between 10am and 2pm.
Potential volunteers, please contact Demelza’s volunteering team or call 01795 845170 or further information.