Colchester: Back to basics for East Africa

“I have got so used to spending far too much on things which are not necessary (even though I convince myself they are) such as lavish meals out, a bottle of Chablis after a ‘tough day’, shopping sprees, raiding the Clinique beauty counter, moaning about no payrises, the economic climate etc etc the list goes on.”

How many of us can identify with this? I know personally I feel like I’m missing out if I can’t afford to go out for dinner one week or have to buy own brand washing up liquid.

Imagine food prices rising so much that you could barely afford to feed yourself and your family one meal a day, let alone a meal out. This is the situation millions of people are facing in East Africa.

Chloe’s mission

Chloe Thompson, from Colchester in Essex, heard about Save the Children’s work in East Africa and started to think about how lucky she felt.

Chloe makes the front page
Chloe makes the front page of her local paper

She realised she had got used to spending far too much money each week on luxuries, and decided to go ‘back to basics’ spending only £10 a week on food, personal expenses and entertainment for six months.

Chloe is raising awareness and funds for Save the Children through her campaigning, and is also hoping to learn how to live without some of the things she had been taking for granted.

Three weeks in and Chloe isn’t finding things easy. She admits it’s tough living without her daily can of Diet Coke to help her through the day or a glass of wine in the evening, however she is determined to carry on.

You can keep up with Chloe’s progress on her blog: CJ Back to Basics

Chloe isn’t the only one who has been supporting our emergency work in East Africa. We’ve had a really busy couple of weeks here in Supporter Care due to the huge response since we launched our appeal.

Our only hope is that once the media coverage fades, and East Africa stops appearing on the news every evening, our wonderful supporters won’t forget that the people there still need our help.

Leave a Reply


  • lottylizzy

    Interesting idea – how is Chloe raising funds? Is she giving all the money she would normally spend on chablis to the appeal?

  • Sarah Tizzard

    Good question! Chloe is planning to make a substantial donation at the end of her 6 month challenge. She is also organising various fundraising events throughout the 6 months, and has set up a JustGiving page where people can sponsor her.

  • Hi, yes I will be donating at the end of the challenge!
    my just giving page is
    I am finding it quite tough as it is a big change in my lifestyle but
    will be all worth it if we can make a difference to some children’s
    lives! Thanks for the blog write up Sarah! xx

  • Essex Man

    Good to see Essex leading the way again! Most of us could benefit from dropping a few luxuries and giving the proceeds to Save the Children. Well done to Chloe for actually having the courage to do it.

  • Sharon

    Chloe, you are an inspiration! What a fantastic idea. Well done for thinking of others and spreading the word. Keep up the good work. From one essex girl to another, you have made me proud.

  • chris

    Awe inspiring! I have been trying to work out how I could manage on £10 a week, I would find thisd a real challenge, could I eat home grown and not include the costs? No car? No chocolate, no vino, worst of all no muesli! I can see that I would spend ages working out the price of everything and having to plan instead of taking it all for granted. Still thinking about this, many congratulations to you

  • Enricah

    Good work Chloe, that’s inspiring. Thank you for lifting up Colchester. I was a student at the University of Essex a few years back – Master of Laws in International Human Rights Law. However, I am now back home in Kenya and the images we are watching on TV are simply heart breaking.