A couple’s passion for property and helping others has so far raised $220,000 for the wider Wellington region and with six of their new charity build houses now on the market, they are about to boost that figure.
Wellington’s Chris and Warwick Dugdale could be relaxing into retirement. Instead the hard-working, philanthropic couple and a team of volunteers have spent months working through all conditions to get six new houses ready for the market - to raise money for charity.
Dugdale Charitable Trust was founded in 2012 with only $10 and a desire to make a difference, said Chris Dugdale. The couple first built and sold six houses in the Wairarapa, using their own money to fund start-up costs and relying heavily on tradesmen and businesses to donate their services and products.
After costs were repaid, all of the profits were donated to local charities including, Wellington rescue helicopter Life Flight, Ronald McDonald House, Plunket, and Wairarapa Hospice.
“We like to target organisations that will benefit as wider group of people as possible,” said Mrs Dugdale.
“We enjoy making a difference and the trust is also a vehicle for other people to make donations to charity by helping us build these houses at a lower cost that they usually would.”
Five years ago the couple purchased a section of land in Upper Hutt, and since then have been involved in designing and building six new houses on it. The houses have now been placed on the market for sale with Bayleys salespeople Mike and Tania Ledger, through a tender process closing on September 9.
Mrs Dugdale said each property has been built to the highest specifications and have all been developed to suit an owner “at any age and stage”.
“We have designed these houses so they fit any type of owner and are comfortable throughout a lifetime. Features include level entry, wide doorways, walk-in shower, well insulated, central heating, and power points and light switches at a convenient height.”
Located in Smallfield Lane, Trentham, each north-facing home has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, open plan living with high ceilings leading out to a private sheltered courtyard and a garage.
“These homes have a number of energy efficient features such as eco ply wrap for extra bracing and insulation, full insulation including internal walls and the garage, double glazing, LED lighting throughout and a Bosch Gas Combi boiler for central heating and hot water,” said Mr Ledger.
New owners will also enjoy top quality Bosch kitchen appliances, extensive storage space, and a security system, ultra fast broadband and a TV aerial and satellite dish are already installed.
For UK-born Mrs Dugdale, whose background includes sales, education and hospitality in addition to renovating properties throughout her life, the desire to help others was in her from a young age.
“My desire to fundraise started very young. At 10 or 11 I started raising money for Hungarian refugees by selling drinks from outside her front gate.
“I’m a perfectionist. I love projects and building houses - I’ve renovated 50 houses in my lifetime.”
Her Kiwi husband, who was in banking for 40 years, is equally passionate about fundraising for those in need, she said.
For the Dugdales, the completion of the six properties brings an end to the long-time project but it is also just a step in their future plans for the Dugdale Charitable Trust.
“One of the goals was to create a fund for the Charitable Trust to be able to go on building houses to raise funds for other charities. But the other equally important goal was to provide six warm, convenient homes that would be comfortable to live in for 100 years including some owners who might have mobility challenges during that time.”