Julian and Emma Fellowes officially opens first charity shop of its kind in Ferndown

Lord Julian Fellowes and Lady Emma Kitchener Fellowes officially opens first Dorset Blind Association charity shop of its kind in Penny’s Walk, Ferndown, marking a new dimension to both the work and the fundraising of Dorset Blind Association.

Photo credit: BBC Radio Solent

Lord and Lady Fellowes, patrons of Dorset Blind Association since 2015, officially opened Dorset Blind Association’s first charity shop in Ferndown on Tuesday afternoon. Julian, a Conservative member of the House of Lords is also famously known to be an English actor, novelist, film producer and screenwriter. He is the writer behind one of the UK’s most best loved period TV dramas, Downton Abbey. Emma Kitchener-Fellowes is the great great niece of the first Earl Kitchener and is also Lady-in-Waiting to HRH Princess Michael of Kent. Julian alongside his wife feel delighted to be able to support the Dorset Blind Association.

On the opening of the shop, they said “It is hard to imagine a gift more precious than sight, or a pain more severe than losing it.  So, it feels good to know that here is a practical way we can all help.  Everything given to, or bought from, this shop will bring real aid to the local blind or partially-sighted community and I would urge everyone to support it in any way they can.  Any of us could lose our sight, at any time, so let us pray that we would be treated with generosity and support when and if it happens.”

Occupying a prominent position on Penny’s Walk in the Ferndown Centre, Dorset Blind Association’s first shop in Ferndown is designed to not only raise much needed income to fund their services, but is itself a part of their service delivery. The shop includes a mini equipment and advice resource centre, designed to help to make their important service even more accessible to the public.

Jonathan, CEO of Dorset Blind Association said “The opening of our first charity shop is a really exciting development and should serve three vitally important purposes. It will help to raise a greater level of public awareness for our work; it will directly help in the delivery of that work as it helps us to reach out and help a greater number of people than before; and the income it generates will fund the ongoing delivery of the community support services we already provide in the Ferndown and east Dorset area. I am especially grateful to our patrons Lord and Lady Fellowes for their support and helping us to give the shop the best possible launch.”

The shop is also an opportunity for visually impaired people to volunteer, to gain useful skills and experience. Large and spacious, the shop allows easy access to all members of the community and the shop staff and volunteers ensure a warm and friendly welcome for everyone.

Volunteers are the lifeblood for the charity, and many opportunities to volunteer in the Ferndown area have arisen. The shop is particularly looking for volunteers who can help on Monday, Thursdays and Friday afternoons, especially those with till experience. The local Ferndown Social Club are also looking for volunteer drivers. Call the shop on 01202 920385 if you can help.

The official shop opening included a tour of the new shop, fundraising activities and a chance for the community to speak more with the staff and volunteers of the charity about the vital work they do in the community and meet Julian and Emma Fellowes.

For more information please contact Jonathan Holyhead on 01202 712861 or email jonathan@dorsetblind.org.uk