Date: Nov 02,2015

Manx Blind Welfare Society, which looks after the interests of more than 600 people with serious sight loss in the Isle of Man, will open a new shop in Douglas this month.
After months of discussion and planning, the Society has leased a shop unit in Strand Street with the aim of creating sustainable income to help fund the charity’s work with visually impaired and blind people in the Island. The official launch will take place on 10th November, with the shop opening to the public at 10am the next day.
The new shop, The VIP Store, will sell good quality pre-owned clothes, books, ornaments and small items of furniture. The name has been chosen as VIP not only means Very Important Person, but is also shorthand used for Visually Impaired Person.
John Riley, the Vice Chairman of Manx Blind Welfare Society, said: ‘The Society relies entirely on donations, bequests and funds which we raise ourselves to pay for the vital services we provide for blind and visually impaired people in the Isle of Man. For many months we have been looking at options to provide a sustainable source of income which can support our work long into the future.
‘After a great deal of research, careful consideration and detailed reviews of business plan propositions, we have decided a flagship store in the heart of the main shopping area of Douglas is the best option.
‘This is a significant decision for the Society, and one which has not been taken lightly. We believe it is vital, in order to generate income to support our work in the long term, that the shop is operated in a business-like way and can hold its own in the competitive retail sector.
‘We want The VIP Store to become a place people choose to shop because of the excellent quality and wide range of affordable stock offered. We aim to have a selection of items to suit all budgets, whether shopping for yourself or looking for gifts.’
The VIP Store will be open from 10am to 4.30pm from Monday to Saturday and will be staffed by volunteers. There will also be information available inside the shop about Manx Blind Welfare Society to help raise awareness of the services and support available to visually impaired people in the Isle of Man.
The Office Manager at Manx Blind Welfare Society Kerry Macduffie, who is co-ordinating the shop project, said: ‘The VIP Store is not only a way to secure sustainable long-term income, but also an opportunity to ensure people with visual impairment are aware of the Society and ways in which we can help. There will be leaflets and posters inside the shop explaining what we do and how to get in touch, allowing us to reach even more people who could benefit from our support.’
If you are interested in volunteering at The VIP Store, or have something you would like to donate, please visit Corrin Court in Onchan, call 674727 or email