Entrepreneur James Davis chats to Darling about his amazing new community initiative during the current lockdown that’s really rocketed to success in a very short time.
Oxshott Delivery is a community focused initiative that was set up at the start of the Covid-19 lockdown by Oxshott businessman James Davis and co-founder Michal Kendereski. Run by volunteers, the free delivery service has a mission to keep local businesses afloat, the community together, to ensure as many people are following the guidelines to stay home, and most importantly, to reach as many elderly, vulnerable and shielding members of the community as possible.
What started as an initiative for the residents of Oxshott has now grown so rapidly and helped so many people that the team at Oxshott Delivery are now also focusing their efforts and reaching residents in the neighbouring towns such as Leatherhead, Cobham, Esher, Claygate, Fetcham and Bookham.
B.O.O.M boxes (Best of Oxshott Merchants) are made up of produce from local merchants including James’ own coffee house Munch and Wiggles, as well as the local Surrey Hills Butchers. James himself is up as early as 2:30am most days in order to personally collect fresh produce from food markets in order to ensure a quality selection for every recipient. A team of volunteers then pack each box, and deliver them to those who have ordered, as well as distributing any boxes that people have donated to anyone in need. James tells us ‘’The initiative has grown massively since we began, and thanks to our community we now have an ever expanding list of local individuals who are isolating, unable to acquire supermarket delivery slots, and who quite simply need us, so we are making sure that with the kind donations people have provided, we are reaching every single person we can to not only provide them with the items they need, but to help make their day that little bit better with some positivity and kindness.’’
THE WHERE & THE HOW
Anyone and everyone who is a resident in Oxshott and the neighbouring towns is able to access the website and order their box, with the teams being divided in to two groups; one to take care of general purchase orders, and one to focus solely on the elderly, vulnerable and shielding. If you know of anyone who is vulnerable, elderly or shielding, you are able to donate a box online, and the team have even added the option of having a note left with your box along with your name and contact details, so that the recipient can reach out and communicate. James added ‘’another important factor for those isolating is the loneliness aspect of it all and this is also something we want to overcome as much as possible. The team not only focus on delivering, but between us all we’re also trying to reach out, respond, interact and check in with as many people as we can too, because the difference that can make to someone’s day is incredible.’’ The team recently added a dedicated telephone number to their communication channels too, meaning that even more elderly and vulnerable or shielding residents who may not use the internet can place orders and speak to the team.
THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY
James started Clay Hair Salon in Oxshott 10 years ago, at a time when the village was in need of destination points. He then developed his business portfolio to grow the community from what it was, with coffee house Munch and Wiggles being his next opening not long after. He tells us ‘’When I began creating those destination points all those years ago, I very quickly saw what a beautiful community we really had around us, so when the pandemic started, I knew I just wasn’t prepared to allow Oxshott, or its neighbouring towns, to suffer and collapse, and that’s when myself and Michal started Oxshott Delivery, got our founding team together who all volunteer to run it from back of house right through to the front, and made it our mission to keep us all together and spread some positivity as much as is physically possible right now.’’
APART HAS NEVER BEEN SO TOGETHER
The team collectively share James’ passion to help others, and it is this that seems to so seamlessly join together such a positive web of individuals who are so greatly dedicated to positively working all the hours necessary to help as many people as possible. ‘’We are so blessed to have such a fantastic team of local individuals who have volunteered to deliver and we couldn’t be more grateful to them. We have a core founding team around us too who have been there since day one to make this what it is now. Ben and Cat head the orders team, making sure every order is fulfilled and delivered on time. Sophie volunteers her services to oversee the marketing and online chat service, we have Hannah who answers emails and collates information to make sure no one is missed from our list of vulnerable and elderly, Michal is the mastermind behind the actual website and the technical side of what we do, and I engage with every single part to ensure I’m as hands on as I possibly can be, be it collecting the produce, filling the boxes and delivering to doors.’’
At a time when distance is so greatly being forced upon us, and for good reason of course given the seriousness of what we are facing, Oxshott Delivery is an example of how it is still possible to keep community spirit ignited, act with kindness, and generate some positivity out of such a horrific time. As their strapline says, they are ‘’Keeping the community together whilst we have to stay apart.’’
GET IN TOUCH
If you’d like to place an order, or donate a B.O.O.M Box, you can visit the website www.oxshottdelivery.com or follow the team on Instagram if you’d like to see some enlightening posts from their day to day missions @oxshottdelivery. The team kindly request that only elderly and vulnerable members of the community use the dedicated telephone number of 07548 165 777 and that all other enquiries are directed to the email address of email@example.com