Amanda Woods, Visitor Experience Manager training the new shop volunteers
This is how Tracey Lucas, RNLI Visitor Centre Manager in Dartmouth, described the opening of the new RNLI shop on the South Embankment on July 6th.
“We have had a fantastic first few weeks. There are a great team of volunteers staffing the shop and they have been busy getting to know each other and how the various systems work. Some have not used a till for thirty years, if ever! There is a solid core of those who already have a connection to the RNLI Dart lifeboat team. They have plenty of knowledge and good local lifeboat stories to tell. The majority however have had no connection with the station or even with the RNLI. Most of them live locally but some have offered to give their time when they are down for a shorter time. If there are any others out there who would be prepared to give some of their time we can always find you a slot and training is ongoing.” Tracey’s contact details are in the Contacts section on the back page.
“There has been a great mixture of locals and visitors coming to the shop. Many visitors have connections to the RNLI lifeboats where they live or have been inland supporters who enjoy coming to the coast and supporting the local crews.”
RNLI Sales has recently updated much of its merchandise. There are food items such as biscuit collections, chocolates and sweets for the children. There are even puzzles and cards for the occasional rainy day. There is a lovely range of Jessica Hogarth items for the home as well as the expected RNLI calendars, diaries and Christmas cards. Some items are linked to the Dart lifeboat ranging from caps to pens, fridge magnets and lapel badges. There is even a local Teddy known as Robbie, no doubt named after our LOM. (Perhaps not!)
“We are obviously looking forward to the development and opening of the Visitor Experience section of the Centre.”
On 21 July Amanda Woods, our RNLI Visitor Experience Manager, and Michael Charlton her Operations Manager, attended the Dart fundraising Branch committee meeting. He had come to describe the development of the Visitor Experience section of the Visitor Centre and how it is progressing. John Ellis, Director of DDP Workshop Ltd, Plymouth, met Amanda yesterday on site. He will produce a 3 D display of the 1st draught of the multimedia and counter displays. His ideas will incorporate the input that has been collated so far from the various different departments of the RNLI. This will be shown shortly to the local RNLI teams for their input before building commences. The RNLI Visitor Centre in Dartmouth is a pilot for others to be built away from associated lifeboat stations elsewhere in the country and the Charity is determined to learn from any mistakes and to get it right.
The RNLI Shop is fully open but there is still no definite opening date for the Visitor Experience side, although targets are in place. An opening date will be given when the revised draft has been agreed.