In March 2020, just before the first official UK lockdown hit, Andy Dunlop popped onto his own personal Facebook page to host a quick quiz from his home in Darvel, East Ayrshire as he tested some live streaming equipment knowing he’d have to be hosting some virtual events in the coming weeks due to his day job as a Business Improvement District and Events manager.
Little did he know that less than a week later the BBC would be inviting him onto the One Show and that would be the catalyst for what was to follow – The Stayin’ Inn online “pub”.
12 months later, and over 200 events under their belt – including quizzes, karaoke, live music, comedy, cult hit dating show From Zoom To Groom and their weekly quizzes – The Stayin’ Inn have just hit the huge milestone of raising over £100,000 for various charities and good causes.
Andy, who also launched the fizzy-drink review podcast, Five Star Sodas, over lockdown, said: “It wasn’t something we set out to do, and to be honest it hasn’t quite sunk in, but we’re very proud of everything that we have achieved. The support The Stayin’ Inn has received, especially from our regular quizzers and the community around it, has been fantastic. We’ve had support from all four corners of the globe!
“Right at the start of lockdown we teamed up with the Beatson Cancer Charity and they’ve become part of the family now. More than half of what we’ve raised so far has went to them and it’s been amazing to see the good work that has done.”
Charlene Low from the Beatson Cancer Charity added, “Andy and his family have been fantastic this year. The support they, and the Stayin’ Inn Community, have shown the Beatson has been a huge highlight for us and we’re always excited to see what they come up with next.”
On Saturday evening The Stayin’ Inn were hosting their regular gameshow quiz on their Facebook page, with a charity raffle running alongside it, when they passed the milestone.
Andy continued, “We don’t want to stop there, and we have plenty planned to continue our fundraising – including a few live events at SWG3 in the coming weeks, with tickets on sale for some of those now.
“We’ve created some great partnerships over the past year, hosting events for the likes of STV, Bacardi and Gigs in Scotland. These partnerships will certainly continue and we’ve already got a few more events in the pipeline with some of those.
Andy, who also manages the business improvement districts in both Barrhead and Clarkston, continued, “We’ve had to cancel and postpone so many community events over the past 12 months, like our Christmas Lights Switch On events, Hallowe’en Parade and the Barrhead Rainbow Run, it’s been incredibly disappointing, but we are moving forward and have some exciting plans for events over the summer months in these towns.
“We’re also taking part in the Off the Beatson Track event in June, which we’ve organized a Stayin’ Inn team for. My wife, Jenny, and our four kids, Ivy (6), Travis (5), Taylor (3) and Piper (just 8 months) will be joining us for that too – it’s always great fun when we’ve been able to get the whole family involved. The team have already raised £2,500 for that, and it’s still a couple of months away!”
You can catch more events @thestayininn on Facebook, YouTube and Twitch each week as well as the @fivestarsodas podcast every Sunday. Next up there is the Logo Quiz on Thursday 22 April at 9pm, the weekly Saturday Night Gameshow Quiz on 24 April at 9pm and the regular Tuesday night ‘Beat the Beatson Bamboozler’ Quiz on 27 April once again at 9pm.
There are live events planned for Five Star Sodas and The Stayin’ Inn at SWG3 on Saturday 22 May. Tickets are on sale now via bighandmedia.com.