STAFF and volunteers have celebrated the first anniversary of the opening of Wiltshire Air Ambulance’s charity shop in Devizes.
During its first year the shop, in Maryport Street, has received more than 1,500 bags of clothes, books and bric a brac, while the team of volunteers have given, on average, more than 4,500 hours.
Carol Kempster, manager of the shop, said: “The response from customers is that we have good quality stock and it’s a very friendly and welcoming shop. The town is very supportive and customers tell us they are pleased there is a Wiltshire Air Ambulance shop in Devizes. As well as buying and donating items, we’ve had quite a lot of monetary donations from customers.
“The shop couldn’t operate without our fantastic volunteers. They are an amazing team – loyal, hard-working and very supportive. We’re so grateful to them offering their time to help make the shop a success.”
Karen Hollick has been volunteering in the shop since it opened on 24 November 2016.
She said: “I volunteer a day and a half a fortnight. I enjoy meeting customers and you never know what donations are going to come in. It’s great to be part of the team and knowing that what we all do helps to keep the air ambulance flying.”
The shop has 23 volunteers but could do with more, especially to work on the shop floor on Saturdays.
During the year the shop has also organised regular prize bingo nights at the Exchange Club in the Corn Exchange, with the proceeds going to Wiltshire Air Ambulance.
The shop was opened last year by special guests including Paul Martin, the presenter of BBC TV’s Flog It! programme. The first year anniversary was celebrated on Saturday (25 November) with a raffle, mince pies for sale and other activities, with the proceeds going to the charity’s Airbase Appeal.
Claire Kelly, Head of People, Retail & Supporter Engagement at Wiltshire Air Ambulance, said: “It’s been a very successful first year for our charity shop in Devizes and we’d like to thank everyone who has donated or bought goods. The funds raised helps to keep our crew and helicopter flying and saving lives.
“We also have a successful charity shop in Westbury and are now in the early stages of planning a potential third Wiltshire Air Ambulance shop for 2018.”
For more information about volunteering at the Devizes shop please contact the Charity Team on 01380 739453 or email firstname.lastname@example.org