NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

'Unique' Orkney charity shop is honoured by Queen

Rita Jamieson Image copyright Craig Spence
Image caption Rita Jamieson set up the Blue Door fourteen years ago

Orkney's "unique" charity shop, the Blue Door in Kirkwall, has been honoured with the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service - described as the MBE for charities.

The shop - established in 2003 - is offered rent free to a different Orkney based organisation each week.

Since it was set up the shop has raised more than £1.7m for different groups.

Founder Rita Jamieson told BBC Scotland that receiving the honour was "wonderful news".

Image caption The award is proudly displayed in the shop's window on Victoria Street in Kirkwall

She added: "Who would have thought that our little shop in Orkney would be so highly thought of by the Queen!

"I am so pleased for all the volunteers who have helped set-up and run the shop over the years. They have been a great support to hundreds of local groups, and helped many thousands of customers.

"I am really proud of our volunteers and I hope that they are proud of their award."

Groups apply and, if successful, are allocated a week in the shop.

Image caption The shop is a crucial fund raiser for a range of Orkney charaties

Each organisation has to supply one volunteer per shift to work alongside the core team.

At the end of the week, unsold stock is passed on to the charity that takes over for the following week.

During a typical week, charities can expect to raise between £2,500 and £4,000.

The shop has recently been used to raise funds for Orkney organisations supporting traditional music and riding for the disabled.

Image copyright Craig Spence
Image caption Eileen Spence is a regular volunteer in the shop

There is currently a two year waiting list to get time in the shop.

Eileen Spence, who is a regular volunteer, said: "We just quietly go about supporting the different groups and helping our customers. We all get satisfaction out of helping people in our community.

"None of us look for any special recognition, which makes this award even more exciting.

"I am just so proud of what the Blue Door achieves day-to-day and week-to-week. None of this would be possible without the volunteers."

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