The oven valeting franchise Ovenu is supporting the Guide Dogs charity by gifting it £10,000 to sponsor a black Labrador puppy named Selsey. The company says that more than 100 of its franchisees across the UK have contributed to the initiative over the past couple of years, together with staff at its Wokingham headquarters.
In addition to the initial contribution, Ovenu founder and managing director Rik Hellewell, has pledged that the franchise will donate a further £5,000 to the charity over the next year or so to fund Selsey’s upkeep and guide dog training.
Hellewell said: “We know charities’ incomes have been hit hard by the pandemic and everyone at Ovenu wanted to do something positive to make a difference.”
Having suggested the Guide Dogs charity and its puppy sponsorship scheme, which helps those living in the UK with sight loss, Hellewell chose to name the puppy Selsey, in tribute to his late father-in-law who had strong ties to the seaside town.
Hellewell continued: “My love and support for the Guide Dogs dates to my late teens, when I worked in a pub opposite the charity’s headquarters in Wokingham. I used to see a lot of the handlers and trainers with the dogs, and sometimes they brought them into the pub to familiarise them with groups of people and the noise. Everyone here at Ovenu is eager to see Selsey progress and look forward to the moment she is able to transform someone’s life.”
Victoria Noyce-Guthrie of Guide Dogs, said: “We rely on donations and this kind support will allow us to make a life changing difference to someone with sight loss by providing a guide dog. We hope that during these difficult times the news of Selsey being born and the ‘pupdates’ about her training journey will be something positive that Ovenu and its clients throughout the UK can look forward to.”
Commenting on current business trading during the pandemic, Hellewell said: “Our franchisees have been reporting brisk business as more people are staying at home and are spending more time cooking and baking – so their services are in demand.
“We have also recruited 11 new franchisees and four sub-contractors over the past few months, establishing new territories or replacing previous franchisees who have retired. I have confidence in the product and the business model and believe the arrival of the vaccines signal that better times lie ahead.”
Ovenu franchisees plan to share the regular ‘pupdates’ on Selsey with clients to raise further awareness of the charity and has also set up its own Just Giving page where people can make their own donations at justgiving.com