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North East Connected

Hopping Across The North East From Hub To Hub


ByDave Stopher

Apr 4, 2023

A NORTH East woman’s post-surgery brainwave has set her on a mission to improve the lives of those with chronic illnesses and disabilities.

Mandy Charlton was recovering on a neurosurgical ward after a major operation, when she was offered a scalding hot coffee in a cup that made it impossible to drink.

And that made the photographer, who also runs Philomena’s Boutique –  an online sustainable and unique gift shop – believe that there had been to a better solution to help people in her position and those who found drinking out of a cup or glass a challenge.

“As someone who suffers from chronic conditions myself, I’m well aware of the problems that people have to deal with,” said Mandy.

“And I thought there must be something that people could use that would not only solve the problem but would also give the users a certain amount of independence.”

Mandy created the double handled Freedom Cup, made to a sturdy design and which has a special spout to minimise spillage.

Each cup can be personalised by choosing from a range of images or buyers can add a photograph or illustration of their own choosing.

“The first one I made was for a Mother’s Day gift for a customer whose mum had suffered a stroke and I posted it online,” said Mandy.

“I couldn’t believe the response and now the orders are flooding in, which is fantastic not only for me as a small business but also because it shows there really is a need.

“The fact that each one is unique has also been a major plus, meaning it can be decorated in something that’s special to the person.”

Mandy has also come up with a child friendly version, suitable for youngsters of all ages.

The cups sell for £19.95p and are available at https://philomenasboutique.com/products/adult-sippy-cup-adaptive-drinking-aid-spill-proof-mug

“Every one of them that I’ve sold so far has a very personal story attached,” said Mandy.

“It’s amazing that this really is making a massive difference to so many people.”