Beautiful items for a really good cause: that’s what you’ll find at Blueberry on Silver Street in York.
It’s a small and easily overlooked shop, filled with hidden treasures. Everything sold is made by local people with learning difficulties at the Blueberry Academy in the Melbourne Centre on Escrick Street.
This gives them the chance to work as a team, be creative and gain work experience, ultimately increasing their employability and independence.
Whilst the academy has been up and running for years, the shop has only been open on Silver Street since November 2014.
We called in to meet four Blueberry Academy trainees working in the shop, and discover a selection of festive gift ideas, decorations and cards.
Although the shop is small on the outside, you’ll soon be overwhelmed by the vast choice of perfectly handcrafted items available.
If you’re more of an online shopper, many more gifts – including unique furniture – can be bought from Blueberry’s Ebay site.
– Liam Thomas-Peters
2. Christmas cards
– Mary Denley
3. Festive trees
– Mary Stoneham
4. Button trees
Elizabeth Roden makes these fabric trees, as she is good at sewing – but finds attaching the buttons tricky!
5. Star tree decorations
6. Hats and scarves
If you’re looking for something a bit warmer, they also sell hats and scarves!
7. Stocking tree decorations
9. Tree decorations
10. Gingerbread man decorations
11. Pot pourri
12. Wrapping paper
I found this colourful wrapping paper fascinating.
Paige Bell, who was supervising in the shop, explained:
As much as it comes out as something good to sell, it’s also really good for the people that do it.
17. Wish jars
Write down a wish, put it in one of Blueberry’s wish jars and hang it on your tree. Then let the Christmas magic get to work!
18. Heart shapes
19. Key rings
20. Customised furniture
Other items for sale include bird boxes, candles, wreaths, badges, chairs, coasters and clocks.
But don’t just take our word for it: pop into Blueberry on Silver Street (near the Shambles Market) or visit their eBay store.
You’ll be spreading the festive spirit while helping to improve the lives of the friendly trainees and the talented people who create these fabulous gifts and decorations.