Shops sell blocks of wood called "HOPE" for charity


If next time you’re out shopping and you spot somebody buying a block of wood and then returning it to the shelves immediately after, don’t call social services, that person’s giving to charity.

The new fundraising scheme was launched in two north London Budgens stores this week and gives shoppers the opportunity to give £1 to the Alzheimer’s Society by picking up a wooden block (pictured) and taking it to the till where it’s scanned and then returned to the shelves.

“The aim is to target consumers when they are spending money, but at the same time make the process continuous and more convenient than existing methods,” says JWT, the advertising agency behind the initiative.

On the back of the wooden blocks, which are made from Forestry Commission approved wood, is an explanation of how HOPE works: “Pay for this at the till. Your £1 goes to help people affected by dementia.”

Joseph Petyan, executive partner at JWT London, said: “We are immensely proud of HOPE, an initiative we believe will revolutionise the way people think about making a charitable donation. The aim is for HOPE to become a part of people’s everyday lives and something as regular as buying everyday grocery items.”

Andrew Thornton is the owner of the two Budgens branches which are rolling out the pilot. Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme yesterday he said that some shoppers had even turned up a day early, on Tuesday, to try to buy “HOPE” after reading about the project online.

“Well over a hundred people bought HOPE yesterday [Wednesday]. It is capturing some imagination.”