A children’s charity shop with a difference

03/11/2021 15:08

The Dorset Children’s Foundation (DCF) has just opened an amazing children’s shop in the Sovereign Centre in Boscombe. Named The Treehouse it’s a shop by day and once closed for retail purposes, it’s a sensory space for disabled children supported by the charity to enjoy. Fun sessions arranged for the children include; music, drama, story-telling and craft sessions. The Treehouse is no ordinary shop. It’s an enchanted forest complete with trees and interspersed with woodland creatures that the children love to find. On the walls there are pages of a story book for the parents to read to their children and the seats are mushrooms!

A sensory room provides physical and mental stimulus for children with physical disabilities, developmental delays and sensory impairments. For children with physical disabilities, interaction with sensory stimuli can help them to develop their sight, sound, touch and hearing, as well as encouraging independence.

The shop is run by volunteers, many of them parents of the children supported by the charity. The emphasis of the shop is children, and on sale are children’s clothes, toys, books and games.

The DCF have a sewing group who can adapt any of the clothing to make it suitable for children with disabilities. Specially adapted clothing is very expensive and the charity don’t believe that parents of disabled children should have to pay more for their clothing.

Patsy Hallmey Co-Founder of the DCF said: “The local crafting community and our parents have been amazing and have made a variety of animals in all sorts of materials as well as flowers, birds and more which decorate the shop beautifully. We are so grateful to our volunteers and local businesses for sponsoring some of the items and especially Spetisbury Construction and Travis Perkins in Christchurch who donated materials. This has enabled us to keep costs to a minimum and we have had talented local artist and set designer Ben Irwin make all this come to fruition. I love to see the children’s faces when they enter this magical land.

As a charity we are thrilled to have this wonderful opportunity and involve the community and our parents in creating this special unique space that will delight so many.”