The demise of 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.

With 26 shops across South East London, Kent and East Sussex, Demelza is opening its 27th shop in Hempstead Valley Shopping Centre – the first charity shop to take a unit at the busy shopping centre in Gillingham, Kent.

Here at Demelza, we provide specialist care and emotional support for children with serious or terminal conditions, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, completely free of charge. 88% of the funds needed to run the vital services we provide comes from our generous supporters, with retail sales from our shops forming a huge chunk of income.

The new shop, which will be located on the East Mall, will be 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.

Bargain hunters can shop in the knowledge that their hard-earned cash will not only be used by Demelza to provide vital care for the children and young adults who access our services but by shopping sustainably, consumers will also be helping to reduce waste and landfill, as well as promoting recycling. The environmental benefits of charity retail are clear - as a result, 232,000 tonnes of textiles were kept out of landfill in 2017, reducing the UK’s carbon emissions by nearly seven million tonnes. Something that is vitally important to Demelza – as well as raising as much as it can to provide short breaks, therapies, family support, symptom management and end of life care to over 750 children, young people and families.

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 is due to be 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”.

If you don’t fancy shopping, Demelza is appealing for donations and these 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.

If you would like to volunteer to help at the shop, even for just a few hours a week, then please contact Demelza’s volunteering team or call  01795 845170 or further information.