The firm has pledged £1 from every booking until the end of March to community foundations across the country where it has properties – just as a tourism boom is under way. In Dorset its Wyke Cottages division has seen record bookings since Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave notice of Covid relaxations this summer.
Gemma Davenport, Brand Manager for Original Cottages in Dorset, said: “It has been so busy, we have seen record-breaking numbers ever since the announcement. People are just so desperate to get away which is why we will have so many people heading to Dorset. It is great for the local economy.”
The firm, which has offices in Weymouth and Swanage, acts as an agent for 135 privately-owned cottages across Dorset and also employs around 100 cleaners, gardeners, maintenance staff and marketing staff in the county.
Gemma said its close relationship with staff and cottage owners in the county motivated it to give something back to the area. “What we pride ourselves on is that we have local teams where we are operating and because we have those teams we are very aware of what is going on in those local communities,” she said.
“We recognise that because of Covid it has not been easy, not just because tourism has been badly affected but also people have had a tough time for so many other reasons. Obviously now that tourism is opening up again we can hopefully help through tourism and the employment we offer, but we wanted to go a step further and do something else to help these communities recover.”
She said using the community foundation is the ideal way of supporting smaller charities that can make a difference on their doorsteps.
“We don’t have the capability to find the right groups but we know the community foundations have great knowledge of who is working in their areas and it made sense to partner with them,” said Gemma.
Dorset Community Foundation Director Grant Robson said: “We are delighted to be working with a company like Original Cottages that cares as deeply about communities in Dorset as we do.
“This partnership will be a huge help to us in assisting groups who have endured a very testing 11 months but have managed to keep on feeding, counselling, mentoring, housing and caring for the people who rely on them. We are very thankful for this wonderful gesture from Original Cottages and it is good to know that they are not only helping the voluntary sector but making a real contribution to the county’s economy.”