STAFF at Bournemouth business Amigo Loans collected more than 1,500 donations for their local foodbank in just one week.

A renewed focus on charity work has helped motivate people at the town centre employer as bosses look to avoid insolvency.

The business has long supported Bournemouth Foodbank but donations had dropped off with many people working at home during the Covid crisis.

Amy Poynter, executive assistant at the Commercial Road business, said: “We’ve had a foodbank trolley at Amigo for quite a while. We used to put it out and people could bring things in when they wanted.

“Since we introduced hybrid working, we ran a little competition to see what team could bring the most items in.

“They had all last week to do it and the deadline was Friday. I had to count them all and it was 1,544 items.

“We’ve never raised as much as this before.”

She said the winning team brought in 505 donations.

Amy and colleague Ronaldo Almeida organised the drive and have both helped out at Bournemouth Foodbank under the company’s volunteering programme.

Amigo chief executive Gary Jennison said the company had a ‘buzz committee’ looking to re-energise staff and their community activities.

“There are 12 people on it who are looking to try and keep people motivated in these difficult times,” he said.

“So many people, particularly in the aged 25-35 age group, are suffering from mental health issues. Young people are really suffering from not being able to go out. The buzz committee has really re-energised everything.”

The committee recently organised a Buzz Week, where activities included limbo dancing as well as a penalty shootout. Mr Jennison was among the goalkeepers and the shootout raised more than £2,000 for Julia’s House.

Amigo, which lends money to people who can find a guarantor, is looking to avoid insolvency after being weighed down by complaints of mis-selling.

Its new leadership team is hoping to win approval for a scheme to cap the compensation paid to complainants.

Mr Jennison wants to relaunch the business after that as an “Amigo 2.0”, with reduced interest rates for good payers and occasional payment holidays.