FUNDRAISING NEWS: Design visits for Shelter donors

JOHN PLUMMER

Shelter is hoping thousands of businesses and individuals take up an innovative fundraising idea that offers Changing Rooms-style advice in return for donations.

Companies that give more than £50 to the homelessness charity will be eligible for a visit by an accredited design architect. The offer also applies to individual donors who hand over at least £20 to Shelter.

The charity has set a target of getting at least 1,000 businesses taking part and it hopes to raise around £100,000 from the initiative, which is timed to coincide with Architecture Week in June.

Each designer, recommended by the Royal Institute of British Architects, will pass on tips free of charge on issues such as how to improve lighting or create space.

Shelter's deputy director Liz Monks said: "We wanted to do something engaging and over the past five years having a nice home has become a national obsession.

"Millions of people have watched makeover TV programmes and have wondered what it would be like to be visited by a designer. Now we're giving them the chance.

"Workplaces are often seen as being shackled by health and safety regulations but architects can suggest some amazing ways of making them more pleasant."

Shelter hopes the initiative will also highlight the fact that it provides more than just housing.

Monks adds: "We believe the home is important not just in terms of four walls and a roof but also for its emotional importance. By allowing architects to come round and have a look, we are creating a better understanding of what having a home is all about."

For the institute of architects, the deal represents the chance to make contact with lots of potential new clients.

"There is a certain elitism still attached to architecture so it is a great way for them to show a new audience that there is nothing to be afraid of,

adds Monks.

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