Hello from home.

What a year March has been.

We were delighted to be running our first trials in residential aged care facilities at the start of the month, but promptly opted out of that environment, for the wellbeing of the elderly consumers. Trials and pilots are on hold for now. 

While our MVP could be polished to a shiny 2.0 while we sit, wait and watch, we instead decided to do otherwise. An easy decision.

Every one of us enjoys the simple pleasure of belonging to our local hospitality scene. Tania makes my coffee in the food van every morning, in Civic Square. I love greeting her, using her name. I love that she knows I have a long macchiato with a dash of cold milk, so I can smash it quickly. Every Friday, Andrew (CTO) and I will have the chicken dippers (affectionately referred to as “tendies”) at a bar two blocks away. The bar staff know to hold the ranch sauce and replace it with aioli. We have a specific table. 

Each of these experiences go a long way to making us feel like we belong. I guess it’s community in practise.

I have many local friends who own or work in these great hospitality venues. Two weeks ago a gentle rumble of anxiety grew exponentially louder as social distancing, then “staying home” saw us all retreat from the physical community in an attempt to “do the right thing” and flatten the curve. COVID-19 effectively took hospo out at the knees. Leaving them limping along at 20% capacity at best, offering alternative takeaway options.

To a degree, we, as the consumers, felt the disengage too. I wish I could say “hi” to Tania every morning still. I miss the tendies and people watching at the pub. I still want to show my support. I still want to stay connected – help out – let them know we still wish we could be engaging in the community they offer.

So, we’ve built Buoys

Buoys is a mechanism for donating to struggling hospitality venues during COVID-19 and recovery. You can find your local coffee shop, favourite pub, and sushi bar on the Buoys app or website, and donate an amount of your choosing via subscription, or as a one off donation. Buoys can help keep them afloat.

The understanding is that the gesture is, at its core, philanthropic.

Our hope is that when we emerge from this crippling crisis our local cafes, restaurants and pubs are still there. 

We’re planning to release locally this week, then after tweaking, offer it to other community centres.

If you’d like to be involved – shoot me an email at [email protected] – or let’s jump in a zoom. We could use your advice, help, promotion, or thoughts.

I miss the path we were on – the dementia sufferers are still wandering, and the frail are still falling. We promise we’ll finish what we started there. For now, we are delivering Buoys, because, as communities, we’re all in this crisis together.