DIGNITARIES, volunteers, staff and customers celebrated the official opening of Mountbatten Shanklin which has moved further down Regent Street with a new look.

The shop, now sited at 63 Regent Street, has become the second Mountbatten shop to provide a dedicated information area highlighting the many services the leading end of life care charity now provides.

It also offers a place for people to sit down and have a conversation over a hot drink, as well as continuing to provide a fantastic range of clothes and other items generously donated by the Island’s community.

Following a public pronouncement by Town Crier John Davies, Mountbatten Shanklin was officially opened by Mayor Steve Knight, who cut the ribbon, and Mayoress Esther Knight in the presence of shop volunteers, customers, staff and Sara Weech, Mountbatten Chair.

Nigel Hartley, Chief Executive at Mountbatten, said: “Our Mountbatten shops are at the heart of communities across our Island and we know that people visit them for reasons other than just to find an excellent bargain. Many enjoy regular visits to chat with our friendly shop managers and volunteers, whilst others come to find out more information about how Mountbatten can support them, or perhaps a family member, as they approach the last years of life.

“Last year, we trialled a new model of charity shop in Ventnor, which allowed our customers to stay for longer and feel more comfortable talking to our teams and each other about death, dying and bereavement.

"On a visit to the shop, I even overheard one couple, who were sitting down to have a cup of coffee, talking to each other about what they would want at their own funerals.

"We know that having conversations like these can really help families to know what their loved ones want when the time comes – it’s not about being morbid, it’s about taking control and enabling people to talk about difficult decisions whilst they are still able to, in an environment where further information and support is on hand if it is needed.

He added: “Our Shanklin shop follows the successful model of our Ventnor shop and we hope that, as well as being a very important way for us to raise funds, it will offer people a space to feel more able to share their wishes and preferences with others, or at least start to think about what they would want for the future.”