Set up in 2002, CCI is grounded in and passionate about our asset-based, person-centred principles.
We believe that individuals should be valued for their interests, abilities and contribution to their community and not defined by their disabilities, illness or disadvantage.
Our social enterprise model empowers individuals to learn new skills, improve their health and well-being and most importantly to see themselves (and be seen by others) as active members of their community.
Useful learnings from CCI
The success of the project has relied on using a multifaceted approach. By doing so individuals have been encouraged to get involved in the network in a number of ways. Be this online via our social media page, monthly DEN sessions, Community SWAP SHOP, Growing Programs, Donation Boxes, and Volunteer Garden Days.
The introduction of a community SWAP SHOP has been central to the project and has enabled us to reach out to new individuals as well as provide a hub for all to attend, donate, and ask questions. The swap shop supports the initiative of reduce, reuse and recycle and compliments the food bank donations as a drop off point. Its important to note that several learning points have come as a result of the implementation of the Swap Shop.
At first, many members would donate into the Swap Shop but did not take items and others (particularly new gardeners) would not take anything as they felt they had nothing to give yet. Dedicating time to put across a message that 'swapping' is for all and that the 'give and take' system needs to be over time i.e take something now, give back another time' was fundamental to making the swap shop work.
Whilst creating a hub at the Langloch site worked, it was recognised that this central hub did not work for them due to the travel restrictions in place during lockdown and the distance between some of the rural locations in the network. To make the Swap Shop work it has been important for all members to recognise the Swap Shop as a concept to support each site. Once this was discussed each site started to implement their own local swap shop using our shared community drop boxes.
Our advice for others looking to do something similar when working across community groups is utilise each other strengths and recognise any shared goals. As community organisations we all recognised the impact food poverty is having across the Clydesdale area, and local sites as well as the long-term effects of climate change and the benefits to health that growing food brings. By coming together, recognising differences in needs across each growing site and sharing resources through the Food Network we have been able to have a much bigger impact in a more coordinated way.
Numbers of individuals joining and attending the Gardeners DEN and Food Network.
Amount of produce grown and donated to the food bank.