Nikita Picugin from Barnardos is hoping to trade a phone all the way up to a house. Photo: Kate Russell.

Trading a phone for a house


Trading a phone for a house may sound impossible, but that’s exactly what Nikita Picugin plans to do.

“It’s a bit of a wild idea, but we’ll see what happens,” says Barnardo’s service manager for the Upper South Island.

He has called his unique fundraising initiative ‘Trade it up for Barnardos’ with the end prize being a house the charity can use in Nelson.

“That would be ideal. Our office space is great, but it would be lovely to have a space to work with kids and families that feels like a natural home.”

Inspired by a man from America who traded a paper clip all the way up to a house, Nikita has already made his first trade – the iPhone 6 for a Trek FX 1 road bike.

He will keep trading against items of equal or higher value.

He won the phone for raising the most money for the organisation’s recent family violence fundraiser and thought it would be the perfect starting item.

“I’ve got a phone and I didn’t have anyone to pass it onto. I didn’t just want to sell it, so I thought ‘wouldn’t it be funny if I could trade it up’.

“It’s not an official Barnardos thing – I told them my idea and I’ve got a bit of time on my hands, so I’ll see how it goes.”

Nikita says trades don’t have to be physical objects and he is open to things like meet and greets or experiences, too.

At this stage the fundraiser will run until the end of 2021, when Nikita will evaluate the progress.

“I’ve given myself all of next year, then I’ll reassess things. I can always cash in and donate the money to the organisation. Either way there is no loss. But, who knows, I might get to a house by then.

“And if it works out, I’m keen to put up a big plaque at the house to acknowledge all the people who were involved. I just hope to have a bit of fun and meet some nice people along the way.”

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