Devon Air Ambulance (DAA) is thrilled to announce the grand opening of the new Barnstaple premises on Saturday 15 July.
The setting is not only a unique and innovative charity shop but it is also a vibrant Community Hub for local people to gather as well as to shop. The aim behind DAA’s latest retail venture is to foster a sense of belonging in a space dedicated to local people, where they can come together to connect and to support one another.
Local community groups will be invited to meet up, either to enjoy their own interests and crafts such as a knit and natter, or to support the charity by mending donations in need of repair.
The centrepiece of this community workspace is a large table with seating for ten, which has been set up in memory of Averil Kingdom a much-loved former Devon Air Ambulance employee.
Averil worked for the charity for 17 years as Manager of the charity’s original Barnstaple shop across the road from the new Community Hub. Sadly, Averil passed away earlier this year. She was well-known within the Barnstaple community for her networking with traders and different local groups while tirelessly raising the profile of Devon Air Ambulance within North Devon.
Supporting the circular economy
Devon Air Ambulance recently launched its Mishap Fashion range; a collection of donated items that would have previously been recycled due to minor faults such as a missing button, broken zip or loose hemline. Such garments are now available to buy at a discounted price.
With the current cost of living crisis in mind, supporters keen on mending are welcome to come along to the shop to show their support by repairing these items for the charity, allowing them to sell for the best price possible.
By and for the local community
Located in Boutport Street not far from the town centre, the shop and Hub aims to breathe new life into preloved items, offering them a second chance to shine. The vast selection of kindly donated goods will feature a wide range of products, including clothing, accessories, footwear, homewares and more.
With a strong focus on sustainability and giving items a second chance, the charity has employed local tradespeople to utilise reclaimed timber and donated materials to complete the shop fit, even the display equipment was donated by their very supportive landlord who has supplied shop fittings from another store that had previously closed, thereby making sure that the charity can make best use of the limited resources.
Breathing new life into a fantastic space
The revitalised unit had remained empty for seven years, so it is refreshing to see Devon Air Ambulance playing its part in the regeneration of the town and taking the opportunity to revitalise an area in need of an anchor to draw people to beyond the Barnstaple centre.
Pete Vallance, Head of Income Generation at Devon Air Ambulance, said:
‘What sets Barnstaple apart is our dedication to sustainability. By using reclaimed and donated materials wherever we can, we contribute to the reduction of waste and promoting a circular economy. In addition to our retail space, we are looking forward to hosting various community events, workshops, and activities designed to engage and inspire the local population. We see our new store as a gathering place where individuals can learn new skills, maybe participate in upcycling initiatives, and enjoy each other’s company.
We are thrilled to be opening our new Barnstaple Shop, providing our community with a new space that combines retail, sustainability, and community engagement. Our goal is to help change and revive the high street, creating opportunities for local people, and promoting a more conscious and connected way of living. It’s a charity shop like no other found in Devon.’
The new shop will also be the operational base for the charity’s online clothing business: shopdaat.org, where hundreds more generously donated items are available to purchase. A team of staff and volunteers will manage the e-commerce site from the Barnstaple hub including researching donations, picking, packing and posting the items to their new owners.
Benefits for North Devon patients
Not only will this new shop act as a community hub, it also brings benefits to potential patients in North Devon. With a space for the charity’s rapid response Critical Care Car at the rear of the unit, the DAA clinical crew will be using this new location as base for their operations, enabling them to be dispatched quickly in the event of an emergency.
As with the majority of the Devon Air Ambulance charity shops, positioned at the front of the building there is also an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) available for community use 24/7 should anyone need to use it to assist someone in Cardiac Arrest.
All will be welcome to celebrate the grand opening of the store, where the family of Averil will cut the ribbon at 10am on Saturday 15 July. Charity mascot, Ambrose bear will be there and there will also be a live music performance by the Samba Baia Steel Band at 2pm to mark the occasion.
The existing DAA shop located on the opposite side of Boutport Street, which itself is being repurposed as a dedicated bookshop selling an enhanced range of books, media and DVD’s, will remain open.
If you are a local community group and you are interested in using the community workspace at DAA’s new Barnstaple shop, contact Shop Manager Kevin Brown at email@example.com for more information.
It’s thanks to kind and generous supporters across Devon and beyond that this life-saving charity continues to deliver expert time-critical care every day of the year. If you feel you can lend your support by making a donation, you will be helping to make a life-saving difference and who knows when we might need them. Donate at www.daat.org