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Five friends exchange their dough for yours to help Croydon charity coping with Covid

A group of five friends put their love of lockdown baking to use by setting up an environmentally friendly initiative to raise money for small charities.

The Dough Exchange was set up in February to sell dough kits and donate profits to the city’s small charities.

The kits, which are used to make pizza, pasta and babka sold out within 24 hours.

Volunteers delivered the 108 kits to zones 1-3 during a three-day-long ‘dough drop’.

To avoid carbon emissions, this was done entirely by bike and in total more than 300 miles were cycled.

For those living outside the area who could not take part but still wanted to contribute to the cause, a Just Giving page was set up and in just two weeks, the Dough Exchange raised £2,000.

All profits were donated to Refugee Youth, a Croydon-based charity that provides young people aged between 14 and 25 an inclusive community where a sense of stability and belonging is cultivated through creative projects involving visual arts, film making, drama, dance and cooking workshops.

Dawn Harrison-Wallace, 55, from Refugee Youth said: “We thought we might get about £200 so to get £2,000 is just incredible.

“The refugees and asylum seekers we work with are very isolated at the start because they’re generally unaccompanied, and they’re here without family, so what we do is try to focus on activities that help build their skills and confidence.

“The huge donation we received from The Dough Exchange will cover the costs of future activities we plan to organise like day trips and bike rides. It enables us to do those things that give people a normal youth.”

Once Covid restrictions are lifted, the Dough Exchange girls plan to visit the Refugee Youth centre to offer a cooking workshop and teach young people how to make dough for themselves.

Natalia Robinson, 28, one of the co-founders, said: “Fundraising can be hard enough as it is, but during the pandemic it’s been especially difficult for small charities.

“What we wanted was to make it all about community. Loneliness has been a big issue for so many people over the last year. Feeling isolated and being unable to see loved ones has been tough.

“In difficult times like this, having a sense of community is more important than ever, so seeing people come together for a good cause has been wonderful.”

One customer, Hannah Williams, 28, said: “I really enjoy cooking but dough was something I had never experimented with so it was really nice to have that part already done for me.

“What I especially loved about it was the fact that it was a group of friends all using their skills together to support a good cause while having fun at the same time. It’s just a really exciting and different idea.”

Volunteer cyclist Ben Strickland, 27, said: “I love cycling around London as a hobby anyway so volunteering with The Dough Exchange seemed the obvious way to help out.

“The dough travelled well and everyone was really happy with their orders. I’m looking forward to cycling and dropping off more kits next time.”

The girls’ plan to organise many more drop offs in 2021. Doughn’t forget to keep an eye out on their Instagram page for updates.

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