A woman is raffling off her entire house and a lump sum of cash to raise money for herself and an animal charity.
Claire Waldron has decided to put the three bedroom home she owns in Magheraboy, Sligo on offer to be won.
Whoever bags the lucky raffle ticket, which cost £9 a piece, will bag themselves a semi-detached property boasting brand new appliances, stylish furniture and a huge garden area.
The 45-year-old bought the three bedroom house in 2004 and moved in that year when her daughter was just nine.
Now, 17 years later, Claire is raffling off the family home to raise money for her favourite animal charity, The Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA).
Claire says that before the pandemic she “got a new kitchen in, all the new furniture, I did up my bedroom. It hasn’t been used much, no family parties of course, so it’s ready to go.
“The reason I’m doing that (leaving the house fully furnished) is if I haven’t found somewhere to live after the raffle I’ll have to worry about storage and removal and it’s just a hassle.
“You can buy furniture anywhere.”
Along with a fully furnished home, Claire is even leaving £4,300 to the lucky winner.
“I’m sure people will want to paint it their own way,” she said.
“I’ve got a few complaints about tiles at my front door. I have had emails saying ‘I don’t like your tiles, I’m not buying a ticket’.
“Everyone’s got their own personal taste, that’s why I’m giving €5,000 (£4,300) as well, for people to be able to put their own mark on it.”
The raffle will see 5 per cent of ticket revenue donated to the ISPCA, after Raffall, the raffle hosting website, has taken commission.
“5 per cent out of 30,000 ticket sales, it works out at about €14,000 or €15,000,” she explains.
With 140 days left to enter, there are over 1,500 raffle tickets sold so far.
As support grows across social media and the ISPCA soon to get on board with advertising the fundraiser, Claire hopes to reach her goal of 30,000 tickets sold by October.
“I’ve had contact with them (the ISPCA), I’ve had to sign letters to say that this is kosher and that I am going to donate the money… so they’re going to get on board and start sharing it on their Instagram page, which will help,” she continued.
For the self-proclaimed “crazy dog lady,” choosing to donate to the ISPCA was a no-brainer.
“There’s no actual rescue centres in Sligo,” she said.
“There’s Leitrim animal rescue which is the next county over and then there’s North West which covers Mayo… So the ISPCA has been covering all the trouble that the county (Sligo) has had.
“I thought I’d pick them. They’re pretty central. They cover the whole of Ireland and they need the funds. Just like any other rescue centre.”
Claire has run Walkies Doggy Daycare, a boarding and dog-walking service since 2012 and says looking after animals is her “bread and butter.”
“My daughter has three dogs and I have two dogs so there’s dogs everywhere,” she said.
Her daughter is expecting her first child this summer and Claire has plans to move into a smaller home with plenty of room for more canine activities.
“It would be nice to move somewhere closer to my daughter, mind the kid and mind dogs,” the mum said.
On leaving her home she says: “I do love my house but I want more garden space, more land, shed units or an expansion so that I can have more dogs.”
As well as expanding the “doggy daycare,” Claire is planning on fostering and adopting more dogs when she has the space to do so.
“The amount of people that got dogs during Covid is crazy. They’re all going to be going back to work this year or maybe next year, the rescue centres are going to be full and they’re already full to capacity.”
“There’s no rescue centre in Sligo and I just want to be able to do something, animals are my life.”
When asked of any plans for choosing potential new properties she says she’s not allowing herself to become attached to anywhere yet, “properties are being snapped up because everyone wants to get out of the city,” she explains.
“I’m not getting my hopes up or setting my heart on anything until the end of July or August, when I know what the raffle situation is.”
She says that raffling her house to raise money has been keeping her busy over lockdown.
“I was bored s**tless. During lockdown, I really wanted a project,” Claire said.
“You have to be on social media all the time, posting stories, you have to keep the house clean, posting pictures, answering the phone.”
And she isn’t alone. Raffling houses online has become a new fad with tickets being sold for a chance to win houses across the country.
Claire was first inspired by a house raffled off in Waterford. Since then there have been houses raffled in Kilkenny, Wexford and one currently being raffled in Donegal.
While some people are selling their homes via raffle in a bid to make a profit, others like Claire are donating proceeds to charity.
“The family in Donegal are doing it for Beaumont (Hospital),” Claire said.
“Nobody else is doing it for animals though.”
The ISPCA, who have been appealing for funding throughout the pandemic, are in full support of Claire’s venture.
ISPCA Head of Fundraising Lylah O’Beirne has said that “generous donations from kindhearted animal lovers like Claire are critical to ensuring our services can continue.”