Throughout the COVID-19 lockdown, the owners of Nottingham-based web design agency, Strafe Creative, have been helping to support vulnerable people and the restaurant industry across the UK.
Ross Davies and Patrick Dolan are two of the founding members of Open Kitchens, a national initiative that brings together restaurants and their local communities to fund, produce and deliver free meals to those in need.
The brainchild of Adam Roberts and Alex Grundy, Ross, Patrick and a number of other business owners came together to start the national not for profit campaign within a week of the Government’s announcement that restaurants, pubs and bars had to close.
Over the past eight weeks Open Kitchens has grown in scale and has now delivered 111,172 meals to vulnerable people, helped to keep 35 kitchens open and raised over £200,000.
The initiative now has the support of organisations such as Capital One, Hilton Hotels, Nottingham Forest and Fare Share – the UK’s national network of charitable food distributors.
Fare Share is providing Open Kitchen’s restaurants with food to cook and deliver to those in need and, to date, several tonnes have been cooked and distributed.
“Adam and GoDine have been a client of Strafe’s for several years now and Adam approached us with his idea about how we could all help to feed the most vulnerable people in society whilst also enabling local independent restaurants to stay open,” said Ross Davies, Director at Strafe.
“Patrick and I could instantly see how lockdown would impact on those most in need of support in our society, such as elderly people who are self-isolating and so jumped at the chance to get involved.”
The Strafe duo have taken lead roles in the project. Patrick is the Creative Lead and Ross is the Systems Architect which involves mapping out how users will interact with the site and pledge donations to the participating restaurants. This is all whilst still carrying out their full-time roles as owners of Strafe.
Ross adds: “The impact of the lockdown on the creative and digital industries has resulted in significant drop-offs in business and many staff have been furloughed, but this has led to the development of some amazing creative initiatives, such as Open Kitchens, designed to help people impacted by Coronavirus.
“Fortunately for Strafe, we are still fully open for business and no staff have been furloughed, so balancing our work with Open Kitchens and our own business has been fun. Our involvement in the creation of Open Kitchens is something we are hugely proud of.
“The Open Kitchens project is continuing to develop every week, and we are well underway with the development of a new app which will enable vulnerable people to log in and order a meal to be delivered free of charge.”
Open Kitchens now has over 200 volunteers across the UK working to support those in need during lockdown. In Nottingham, restaurants involved in the initiative include Bar Iberico, Alchemilla, Wolf Italian Street Food, The Angel Micro Brewery, The Trent Navigation Inn, Ugly Bread Bakery, Yamas and Petit Paris.
Located in Nottingham’s Creative Quarter, Strafe has grown from a team of two and now employs 12 people,with a client base of national and multi-national brands including BP, Go Dine, and Avakin Life.