Canberra’s oldest dog training club, the ACT Companion Dog Club, was forced to adapt their fundraising methods during 2020 as COVID restrictions made their regular Bunnings sausage sizzles unfeasible.
Club senior vice president Heather McPherson’s champion Labrador Pepsi, a model for well-trained dogs, would sit beside the barbecue as club ambassador getting pats all day long; it was a tried and tested method for garnering support.
Ms McPherson told Canberra Weekly the club started collecting cans and bottles to fundraise via the ACT’s container deposit scheme mid-way through 2020.
“The opportunities to do fundraising, even within the club, became quite difficult and we had to think about other ways,” she said.
“We sell a lot of the containers within the club that are returnable, so we thought we’d set something up.”
What started off as a small box located outside their Symonston clubhouse has since grown substantially.
“People started bringing their bags in … we set up an account for the club under the club’s phone number and now members can actually take their own containers down to a deposit centre, drop them in, and those funds are then credited onto the club,” she said.
“I’m hoping to set up a bin outside where people can come by and drop their bottles.
“10 cents a bottle isn’t a lot, but if everyone does their little bit, those funds can add up.”
As is so often the case, the urge to round up as many bottles and cans as possible has permeated through the club.
Ms McPherson said they’ve encouraged members to look at opportunities to collect containers within their workplaces and amongst their neighbourhoods too.
“I do at my work and with my neighbours, who are very generous in donating their bottles,” she said.
Ms McPherson, who has volunteered with the ACT Companion Dog Club for close to 20 years, said she’s proud of the footprint the club manages, as the container deposit scheme fundraising initiative is just one of the ways they work to reduce their waste.
“I think we have to be mindful about our waste. We don’t want to have a lot of waste,” she said.
“A lot of our waste is dog waste, and now we use bags that break down so they’re not adding to the tip.”
Having started at their former Fyshwick premises on the aptly-named Collie Street in 1958, the club moved over to its nine-hectare Symonston site in 1983.
Money raised through container returns goes toward enhancing the ACT Companion Dog Club’s facilities and grounds, for example, purchasing outdoor tables and chairs, fixing fences and lawn maintenance.
“The biggest cost is the maintenance of our grounds … particularly when it rains and there’s a lot of mowing,” Ms McPherson said.
“And weed control, the last thing people want when they bring their dogs here is bindiis in the grass.”