21 beautiful reasons to do your Christmas shopping at Blueberry this year

Hairbands, £4; heart shaped decoration £4.50
6 Dec 2015 @ 6.26 pm
| Shopping
Meet the makers. From left: Mary Denley, Liam Thomas-Peters, Mary Stoneham, Elizabeth Roden. Photographs: Emily Dunn
Meet the makers. From left: Mary Denley, Liam Thomas-Peters, Mary Stoneham, Elizabeth Roden. Photographs: Emily Dunn

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.

Close to the market – the Blueberry shop on Silver Street
Close to the market – the Blueberry shop on Silver 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.

1. Baubles

Baubles, £1.50
Baubles, £1.50
The stuff is unique and it’s one of a kind.

– Liam Thomas-Peters

2. Christmas cards

Christmas cards, £2.50
Christmas cards, £2.50
Mary with one of the cards she has made
Mary with one of the cards she has made
I really enjoy working upstairs making the cards that we sell.

– Mary Denley

3. Festive trees

Festive trees, which are made from donated books, £6.50
Festive trees, which are made from donated books, £6.50
I like book folding, making the trees and angels.

– Mary Stoneham

4. Button trees

Trees with buttons and wooden stumps, £5.95
Trees with buttons and wooden stumps, £5.95

Elizabeth Roden makes these fabric trees, as she is good at sewing – but finds attaching the buttons tricky!

5. Star tree decorations

Star-shaped tree decorations, £1.50
Star-shaped tree decorations, £1.50

6. Hats and scarves

Child’s hat, £6; scarf, £15
Child’s hat, £6; scarf, £15

If you’re looking for something a bit warmer, they also sell hats and scarves!

7. Stocking tree decorations

Stocking-shaped tree decorations, £1.50
Stocking-shaped tree decorations, £1.50

8. Candles

Candles, £1.95
Candles, £1.95

9. Tree decorations

Tree decorations, £1.50
Tree decorations, £1.50

10. Gingerbread man decorations

Gingerbread man decorations, £4.50
Gingerbread man decorations, £4.50

11. Pot pourri

Christmas Potpourri, £6
Christmas Pot pourri, £6

12. Wrapping paper

Wrapping paper, £2.50 per sheet
Wrapping paper, £2.50 per sheet

I found this colourful wrapping paper fascinating.

Paige Bell, who was supervising in the shop, explained:

It’s for people who are in wheelchairs so they can’t get involved with [making other things], so we find things like leaves that have got ridges and stuff, and they do some wax drawings…

As much as it comes out as something good to sell, it’s also really good for the people that do it.

13. Hairbands

Hairbands, £4; heart shaped decoration £4.50
Hairbands, £4; heart shaped decoration £4.50

14. Bracelets

Bracelets, £3.50
Bracelets, £3.50

15. Bowls

Small bowls, £8.50
Small bowls, £8.50

16. Paperweights

Pretty customised paperweights, £3.50
Pretty customised paperweights, £3.50

17. Wish jars

Wish Jars, £1.50
Wish Jars, £1.50

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

Heart shape, £14
Heart shape, £14

19. Key rings

Key rings, £2.50
Key rings, £2.50

20. Customised furniture

Unique customised furniture, £45
Unique customised furniture, £45

21. Journals

Journal, £9.50
Journal, £9.50

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.