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No dogs’ dinner – our MoneySupermarket Retail Royalty Challenge

MoneySupermarket, one of the UK’s most popular price comparison websites, is currently running a Retail Royalty Challenge. Bloggers taking part are given £30 to spend on gifts for a local registered charity. Those that manage to make their money go the furthest can win a luxury hamper – but, of course, the main benefit is getting to help a local charity for free.

We decided that we would apply for the competition and nominate Chippenham’s Doorway Project – the project is well known to us and we really admire the hard work of chief executive Lisa and her team.

What is the Doorway Project?

The Doorway Project is a charity drop-in centre in Chippenham, Wiltshire, that provides a friendly, safe place for adults who are homeless or have complex issues such as debt, mental health problems, substance use or poor life skills that are likely to affect their ability to get, or keep, a tenancy.

Doorway project logo

What’s really great about Doorway, though, is that it isn’t just a drop-in. As well as providing the basics of food, cleaning facilities and access to specialist support services, it offers a range of extra activities such as football, music and creative writing workshops and a women’s group.

The organisation receives no statutory funding and so relies on donations of both money and time to make sure it can continue to provide its valuable services.

Dog food for a homeless charity?

We asked Lisa what she would like us to try and get and get with the money and were surprised when she suggested dog food. She explained that many homeless people who have pets will often feed them before they feed themselves. Having access to dog food at the drop-in reduces worry for the owners and allows them to concentrate on getting the most of the services that Doorway provides (and, of course, means the dogs are happy too!)

Dog food bargains at Jollyes

To be honest, Keri and I aren’t natural hagglers, but luckily Sue, one of Doorway’s volunteers, has a bit of a reputation as a bargain-hunting ninja and stepped in to make sure the budget stretched as far as possible!

After a bit of research and a rather unsuccessful, and frankly unpleasant, trip to a different pet store (that shall remain nameless!) Sue visited Jollyes – where the experience couldn’t have been more different!

“I asked Fay at the till if I could see the Manager,” she says. “With a smile she immediately found John and Anita and both of them were intrigued by the challenge and set about finding the best way to achieve the maximum result for the outlay. John thought of one way, Anita considered it and thought of another possibility, John countered with another thought and so it went on. The whole experience was an utter delight and conducted with great fun and good humour.

“I came away with 120kg of dried dog food, a pack of wet dog food, a pack of huge dog chews, loose dog biscuits (difficult to weigh accurately so I put in two pence of my money – I did want to spend the whole amount!) and three gift packs comprising a dog bowl, fork and measuring cup – all for £30.

“The total weight was 127.76kg, which would normally cost £98.68John even gave me carrier bags for Doorway’s use and loaded everything into the boot of my car.”

Sam from Jollyes and Sue with their epic charity challenge haul
Sam from Jollyes and Sue with their epic haul

What an amazing result! Sue managed to triple the value of the donation, just by making clever use of in-store offers. Now they just need to work out where to store it all…

Many thanks to MoneySupermarket for donating the cash for our challenge and to Lisa and Sue at Doorway for their help and support. Most of all, hats off to Jollyes in Chippenham and their generous and open-hearted staff!

Featured image by epSos.de, via Flickr. Published under Creative Commons.

 

Co-editor Emma is LWT's resident history lover and fact nerd. She loves travelling overland - especially by train. Her trips tend to be planned around good food and a little bit of adventure.

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