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BBC’s The Office Actress Launches Wheelchair-friendly Crafting Centre

By Allison Jacobs 02 Aug 2011

The venture, Bee Crafty, is the brain child of actress and disability rights campaigner Julie Fernandez (who played Brenda in The Office and and Eldorado's Nessa Lockhead) and the award-winning jewellery designer and teacher, Sarah Payne.

Bee Crafty will be a centre for people to indulge and enjoy the shop, the classes or to bring their own craft projects in.

“Sarah and I have been crafters for many years and met two years ago at a patchwork class in Peterborough,” explains Julie. “In January of this year I approached Sarah with the idea of us opening our own mixed craft shop and here we are less than a week away.

“As crafters ourselves we have been to quite a few of our competitors within a two hour drive and noticed the things that worked and those that didn’t and we wanted to give it a go.

“We’ll be teaching patchwork quilting, beading, knitting and crochet and some very specialised needlework – we wanted to open a shop that had various crafts under one roof.”

One of the most prominent features of the shop will be its accessibility for wheelchair users, as Julie explains. “As a wheelchair use myself it is extremely important to me that we are fully wheelchair accessible, we have made that a priority by having a well built ramp to our front door, wheelchair accessible toilet and we have made sure that we haven’t clogged up the aisles with free standing units so that people can comfortably move around.

“If disabled people can get in then they can spend and feel that they are taken as seriously as everyone else. Too many shops and business do not see the value of disabled people which is such a shame. I always go shopping with other people as I need help, so if I can get in then you will have two purses coming through your door.”

The grand opening will take place in Ellington on Saturday 6th August and much-loved local celebrity, David Proud (Adam Best from Eastenders) will cut the ribbons.

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