A very special 17-year-old opened Tŷ Hafan’s vintage Emporium shop in Cardiff’s Royal Arcade earlier today.
Victoria Godwin from Whitchurch was born with Down’s Syndrome and suffers from Dilated Cardiomyopathy – a severe heart condition which means she tires very easily and sometimes needs a wheelchair to get around.
She was delighted to cut the ribbon in front of a crowd of eager shoppers and was the first person to snap up a bargain after choosing two vinyl records from the store.
Victoria’s mum, Nina, said: “Tŷ Hafan started helping us as a time when we were at our lowest. Victoria, who was 11 at the time, was too ill to go to school so Tŷ Hafan supported us with music and play therapy at home and have been there for our family ever since.
“Victoria loves staying at a Tŷ Hafan and has made some great friends, including her best friend, Kate, who also uses the service.
“It gives her a chance to have her own independence and she is able to enjoy time away to do normal teenager things.”
Victoria said: “I love Tŷ Hafan because I can have sleepovers with my friends and we have lots of laughs and fun.”
Sadly, Victoria’s heart condition is incurable and doctors are unable to predict what will happen in the future.
“We just live day by day and try and make life as comfortable and as happy as possible for Victoria,” said Nina.
“She is such a character. She is really sociable and likes being around people. She’s a lovely singer and tells some very funny jokes at times!”
Shoppers flooded into the store as well as a number of Cardiff fashion bloggers on the hunt for one-off, unique pieces.
Dawn Higgins from Dressmeperfect.com who bought a 1960s cream vintage cardigan said: “It’s such a beautiful store with so many great items for sale. It’s wonderful to see so many people supporting the shop and I will definitely be coming back.”
Matt Williams, Tŷ Hafan’s Retail General Manager, said: “Emporium is a boutique-style charity shop with some amazing items for sale. You will find anything from high-quality designer goods often donated by Tŷ Hafan ambassadors, such as the Manolo Blahnik shoes donated by Lucy Owen, to vintage homeware, quirky items, vinyl records, vintage curios and even a small amount of new goods – all available at a very affordable price.
“This really is a charity shop with a difference, designed with vintage style – making it unlike anything Cardiff has seen before.”
Tŷ Hafan has supported more than 600 life-limited children and their families since 1999. The charity takes its support into the heart of the family home and is there for families through every step of their unimaginable journey.