Retailer Jollyes has launched a new partnership with social enterprise Billychip, which will see the retailer sell the street currency in store and accept it as a form of payment.
Billychip tokens can be given by customers to homeless people as an alternative to cash. Tokens can be exchanged for food and drink in participating cafes and restaurants, and also for dog food in Jollyes stores, and the pet products retailer will become BillyChip’s first partner outside of the food and services sector to offer the street currency.
BillyChips are on sale in Jollyes stores nationwide for £2 each. Customers can purchase a BillyChip and donate it directly to those living on the streets, or deposit it in a box at the register.
Each quarter beginning in March 2024, BillyChip and Jollyes will donate dog food to the value of the BillyChip tokens purchased by customers, with Jollyes doubling the size of the donation. Research shows that up to 25% of homeless people live on the street with a pet.
BillyChip was set up in 2018 to continue the legacy of Billy Abernethy-Hope, a 20 year old ambulance driver from Bristol. After helping support the homeless, Billy felt disheartened at how little the general public gave to local homeless people. Although many make regular charitable donations, Billy was surprised at the small percentage of donations given directly to people living rough for fear of the money being used for drugs or alcohol.
The BillyChip Foundation was established as a registered charity by Meg Abernethy-Hope, Billy’s sister, and Jon Hope, Billy’s father.
Hope said: “We’re absolutely delighted to be working with the Jollyes team, and providing support for those with a pet who are homeless or sleeping rough.
“Our aim is to ensure that BillyChip is available in every area of the UK, and partnering with Jollyes is a fantastic step in reaching those in need to offer compassion, connection and choice.
“We can’t wait to see Jollyes customers part of the BillyChip family and making a difference for those in our communities who need help and support.”
Jollyes chief executive officer Joe Wykes added: “We know from the donations our customers and colleagues already make to local charities, our customers are incredibly generous – pet owners will go out of their way to support other pets that need some of the love they bring to their own animals.
“That’s why we’re excited about this partnership with BillyChip – we know our customers and colleagues will understand the importance of supporting those living on the streets – and especially the animals in their care.
“And I know our store teams will work hard to share the BillyChip story and the importance of their work with customers over the months ahead.”