The lifeboat station incorporates a purpose-built visitor experience centre which is a retail souvenir shop downstairs and an upstairs viewing gallery, accessible by lift, offering views out over the beach and inside to the lifeboat hall. This area is currently being upgraded to provide more electronic information points about saving lives at sea.
The Lifeboat Shop is an important fundraiser. Manned by 40+ dedicated volunteers, it had an annual turnover of over £95,000 in 2018, with the highest retail figures in Devon, the 3rd in the south west and 12th in the whole of the UK & Ireland.
In April 2019 Shop Manager, Pat Atkinson writes:
‘Staffed wholly by Volunteers, currently 43 in number (including a Volunteer Manager) on the rota, who work anything from 1 shift (3.5 hours) a month, to 2 shifts a week, and sometimes more if covering holidays or illness. Our volunteers all volunteer for differing reasons, but they all also have a common desire to support and raise money for the RNLI to help saving lives at sea. As well as serving customers, the shop has to be stocked and new stock is ordered on a weekly basis. This all happens on a very busy Monday morning each week, when 2 volunteers plus the manager are in the shop at 7.30am to receive, unpack, check, price and put away the goods, only then to prepare the order for the following weeks delivery again! All by 10am, when the shop opens. It is a very busy morning, and a good team effort is needed to achieve this.
Our longest serving shop Volunteer has been with Exmouth RNLI for well over 40 years in varying roles, and our oldest Volunteer is 92…and she still does 2 shifts a week, and is always available to help out on other shifts if we need her. Many of our Volunteers are of advancing years, and as well as willingly giving their time to the RNLI, they also benefit from friendship and companionship from being part of one big team: the Exmouth RNLI Family. Six of our Volunteers have received individual “Excellence in Volunteering “ awards (2 in 2018) from the RNLI and in 2017, the Exmouth Shop received a similar team award, of which we are very proud.
The shop aims to be open every day of the year except Christmas Day, subject to adverse weather conditions and volunteer availability. We achieved near record sales in 2018, of £95,071 representing a gross profit of £56,092. 100% of our profits go towards Saving lives at sea. We were the 12th busiest shop in the UK, and 3rd in the SW in 2018.
We also attend many “outside” events during the year, having a stall and selling RNLI merchandise and raising awareness of the RNLI, often with our Community Safety Officer at our side. Examples are various Community events in Exmouth Town, (Transplant awareness Day, Armed Forces day etc), at the Met office in Exeter, Budleigh Salterton Gala week – again, our Volunteers give up their time to man these events.
Plans are well underway to completely revamp the Visitor centre in 2019, to provide a more interactive and user friendly centre, and giving easily understood (whatever your age!) key messages about water and beach safety…part of the RNLI’s campaign to prevent and reduce the number of water related deaths by 2022.’
The Exmouth souvenir shop volunteers can be contacted on 01395 274890 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The RNLI also has on online shop, which you will find here.