THE Blue Door in Orkney has been announced as the first ever recipient in the islands of an incredibly special award from the Queen.
The volunteer-run charity shop in Kirkwall’s Victoria Street has been won the Queens Award for Voluntary Service – the MBE for volunteer groups.
The shop was the vision of 94-year-old Rita Jamieson, who founded the Blue Door in 2003. She said: “This is wonderful news. 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 hope that they are proud of their award.”
Eileen Spence, a regular volunteer in the shop, added: “This is really amazing. There is a superb team of volunteers at the Blue Door, but 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.”
Eileen added: “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.
“The Blue Door, is a unique community-focused, volunteer-run charity shop. It hosts a different group within – or linked to – the Orkney community each week, all year round.” When Rita started The Blue Door, she wanted a different charity shop that would help everyone in Orkney.
It supports a wide range of groups who help and support individuals in the islands. The shop has recently been used to raise funds for organisations supporting traditional music, riding for the disabled, agriculture and church preservation.
Since it opened in 2003, it has raised a staggering total of more than £1.7 million.
A volunteer from the weekly group is present each shift to work with the volunteers, who run the shop every week. In a typical week, a group will raise between £2500 to £4000.