Since 2019, Lewisham Homes has run a free programme called Lewisham Changemakers. It is designed to support people in Lewisham to build their small business or social enterprise from an idea to an established project.
Davidson Otobo remembers his time on the 2020/21 programme fondly: ‘You meet so many amazing people, passionate people in the local community. Lewisham Homes have put together a lot of amazing facilitators and they’re a great team.’
Changemakers runs for eight weeks, culminating in a Pitch Night. This is an opportunity for programme participants to pitch their idea or project and receive support from Lewisham Homes staff, contractors and other local organisations. Like a Dragons Den, but much less stressful! ‘Everyone was really supportive of each other,’ Davidson recalls. ‘It was like being around your friends.’
Through his Changemakers experience, Davidson developed his idea into a social enterprise called Ordrs. ‘Ordrs is an online platform that connects local stores to local communities through same-day grocery delivery,’ Davidson explains. ‘We are partnered with over ten local Lewisham stores including cultural shops, fishmongers, greengrocers and butchers. We fulfil same-day grocery delivery from these stores in an ethical manner.’
Davidson believes that Changemakers really helped develop these ethical values ‘which I believe is what makes us unique. Currently, we support local stores, use eco-friendly paper bags and provide local employment. We have also collaborated with community charities such as Lewisham Local and the Rastafari Movement UK on projects including making and delivering soups to vulnerable members of the community who might not otherwise be able to access ethnic foods. We intend to collaborate with communities even more in 2022 and continue to do things the right way.’
Despite the pandemic and lockdowns, Davidson has accomplished a lot since he finished Changemakers and it doesn’t look like he’s slowing down anytime soon: ‘I want to change the way online groceries are done and show the nation that the digital world can be used to have a positive impact on communities.’
- Ordrs is offering Lewisham Homes residents £10 off their first shop through Ordrs, with no minimum spend required. Visit www.ordrs.co.uk/pages/lewisham-homes to find out more.
- Interested in finding out more about Changemakers? Applications are currently closed but you can visit the Changemakers website for further information.