Dunelm Clydebank have launched a new partnership with Golden Friendships charity as they invited charity representatives to cut the ribbon at their store opening.

Jim McLaren, founder of Golden Friendships, was named their local hero earlier this year as they recognised the work he had carried out in the community throughout lockdown.

Staff member, Kieran McGoldrick, invited him along to open their new store as they moved into the former Dunnes Store unit. Jim cut the ribbon with the help of Golden Friendships ambassador, Mathew Kelly.

Jim told the Post how he was humbled to be asked to open the store, but that he felt the great community work Golden Friendships is recognised for is not only testament to him, but everyone who attends and helps out at the club.

Mathew explained why he was ‘honoured’ to cut the ribbon and welcome customers into the new store on Thursday morning.

He said: “I shop in Clydebank, usually buying coffees, and it's great that Dunelm will now be part of the centre and more accessible for people.

“Dunelm have told Golden Friendships that they will allow us to display donation buckets at their tills and they donated gifts for us to raffle to raise money for the refurb.

“The club is really important to the members, I love to support people when they first come and maybe they are a bit nervous or unsure so it’s very kind of Dunelm to support us to raise money for the club.

“This is a lovely new beginning for the store and their staff.”

The store donated 30 hampers to be raffled by Jim as part of the club’s weekly raffle to raise funds for a refurb which will make their venue, at Nairn Place in Dalmuir, fully accessible for wheelchair users.

Kieran said: “I would be happy to have Golden Friendships donation tins in the store, they do a lot of work for the community and we hope the gifted hampers will go some way to supporting the club’s refurb.

“It’s great to have Jim and Mathew here, it’s important to us to involve the local community in our stores and support Golden Friendships work.”

Mathew was also given a hamper as a thank you for supporting Jim to open the store.

Matthew added: “I’ve struck lucky, a hamper just for me, I’ll maybe get a few cheeky wee discounts for my gran if I chance my luck!”

Mathew was part of a concerted effort by many Golden Friendships members and their carers to support isolated pensioners, vulnerable individuals and children during lockdown.

The charity produced and packaged over 1000 fresh meals and packed lunches, as well as food parcels and pharmacy prescription pick-ups for those who were shielding, isolating or experiencing poverty during the pandemic.

Dunelm was also hailed for their efforts to support key workers, as they mass produced nurses’ scrubs, face masks and laundry bags in warehouses which usually produced curtains and soft furnishings.

Jim added that he feels the shop will be busier and more profitable in their new location, as many of the elderly who attend Golden Friendships have already commented that the location is closer to other stores as they would previously have struggled to walk to the Livingstone Street location with shopping bags after visiting the centre.