Via Wings opens charity shop with a difference

DROMORE-based charity Via Wings launched their latest venture - a charity shop with a difference - last week.

Hope & Soul, which is located at 33 Market Square in the town, will be selling more than just the usual bric-a-brac.

Customers who enter the building will find a range of upcycled furniture, locally made jewellery and a select collection of designer/quality pieces of clothing. Those who venture upstairs will be treated to the Olive Branch - a coffee bar, serving quality coffee, teas and cupcakes/scones.

Via Wings’ mission is to show God’s love in a caring, practical and non-judgemental way. Since 2009, they have undertaken several ambitious projects, including the Dare2Care essentials bag scheme for families in need, the House of Hope, providing a place for young mums to find support, build self-esteem through counselling and courses that are both practical and educational. Several of the young women have gone onto further and higher education as well as employment.

And earlier this year they launched the Yorkie Club, a men’s group which is seen as a chance for the guys to find friendship and inspiration.

Hope & Soul extends the charity’s mission into the heart of the town. According to Centre Manager Sue Johnston, “Hope & Soul allows us to build a sustainable income for the charity, while providing practical work experience for some of our end users.”

The premises have received a one-off makeover by volunteers and supporters of Via Wings. The look is ‘shabby chic’ with an eclectic mix of bright wallpaper leftovers, donated furniture that has been repainted and a counter built from odds and ends.

“We’re not aiming to compete against other charity shops and cafes but to help towards the regeneration of the town,” says Sue. “And, as the coffee bar will be open one evening a week, it will provide a place for young people to meet.”

Also in attendance at the opening was local councillor, Hazel Gamble. She said, “These new premises will provide Via Wings with the opporunity to raise funds through their shop and coffee shop and will be easily accessible to members of the public.

“I would like to congratulate Via Wings on this new venture and wish them every sucess as they provide a very worthwhile and vital service to the community”.