Businesswoman launches campaign to raise money for the homeless

Businesswoman Donna Gillingham is urging visitors to one of Swindon’s leading business estates to pop their spare pennies in a pot to help the town’s homeless.

Jars collecting for homeless - final
Laura Simmonds and Donna Gillingham with Ryan Beauchamp and Deborah Hyde of Threshold

Donna, who runs specialist sales and marketing recruitment agency Ardour, on Kembrey Park, is placing more than 40 collection jars with neighbouring companies on the estate to raise funds for the charity Threshold Housing Link. The organisation provides accommodation for homeless people in the town.

Donna said: “Threshold helps anyone, whatever their situation, including alcohol or drugs. It is a charity that is on the ground in Swindon doing vital work. As the cold weather kicks in, we should all feel for those who have no home at this time.”

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Born in Wroughton, and a former pupil of Ridgeway School, Donna said: “I knew I wanted to help a local homeless charity and went down to meet them, to see what I could do.

“Forty jam jars may be only a small amount but a company with, say, 20 staff should fill a jar a month. It’s all about trying to make a difference – however small.”

Threshold is not the only charity that Donna and her team – Laura Simmonds, Jeremy Jarvis and four associates – have helped.

They have also worked with Swindon-based Inner Flame, which helps young people between the ages of 14 to 25, who may not have had the best of start in life, by building their confidence and job prospects.

They have also worked with The Samaritans, collecting unloved goods to go on sale in stores around Swindon, and giving advice to callers to enable them to find new pathways back to work or opportunities.

Ardour takes its name from the French word for passion, which reflects the enormous enthusiasm Donna has for her business. She left school at 16 and chose not to go to college. Instead, she had the opportunity to begin her working life with the car dealership Dick Lovett, in Swindon. Now she runs her own company.

Looking ahead, Donna said: “The future looks bright and I am looking to grow the company, taking on more staff next year as we expand and helping good causes along the way.”