The St Wilfrid’s Hospice store in Uckfield, managed by Pauline Birchall, has been helping a small business in Portugal in their search for sustainable, vintage raw materials for production of home made textile items. The business, ‘Minha Alegre Casinha’, is based in Portugal’s only national park roughly 100km from Porto, and uses wool, porcelain and ceramics to create beautiful objects to sell.

Ângela Campos and her husband Giles Rollestone are the owners of the business. .

‘Our line of business consists mainly of quality, previously owned, ornamental porcelain and ceramics, and vintage and also newly-made exclusive home textile items employing mostly vintage raw materials. This includes hand-knitted items using vintage wool and crochet yarn materials purchased at Pauline’s shop.

We are currently producing initial prototypes of several exclusive hand-knitted items, and the high-quality, mostly English-made, vintage wool that I have been acquiring at St Wilfrid’s Uckfield shop has been essential in this process. One of our most amazing and incredibly talented artisans is located in central Portugal, in a little village of Viseu district called Sanguinhedo de Cota. Her name is Margarida Martins and she is about to finish a stunning bedspread that she has been painstakingly knitting since last October – about 95% of that wool is obtained from St Wilfrid’s shop in Uckfield.

Our brand is called ‘Minha Alegre Casinha’ (which translates as ‘My Happy Little Home’). Our physical shop will be located in the heart of Peneda-Gerês National Park, Portugal’s only national park. This project for a brand/shop in Portugal has been developed for several years by my husband Giles Rollestone and I as something parallel to our own careers (I am a historian and he is a user experience practitioner). Now we are getting closer to implementing the full plan.

Needless to say, it is extremely rewarding  to be able to obtain our wool in this way through St Wilfrid's charity shops. Knowing that our purchases can make a difference in someone's life, and being able to get more and more involved with the Uckfield community has been a fantastic, meaningful experience which to a great extent has been facilitated by Pauline's warmth and generosity.’