Darkwood Crew

Community • Renfrewshire

Helping Ferguslie flourish as a community by delivering food parcels, reducing food waste, reusing appliances and more!

  • An alternative prom event held in 2020.
  • Ferguslie community climate change conversation.
  • Providing vital food services to the local and wider community.

Our story

Darkwood Crew grew from a local mission for conservation. We integrate environmental action with what's happening in our community to change the way people think about taking action and make a tangible difference, and our five interconnected themes are Local Environment; Food Security; Fuel Poverty; Isolation; Mental Health. We are proud of what we've achieved, but we realise that what we do should also be happening everywhere.

How Darkwood Crew Started:
The community were dissatisfied with fly-tipping, anti-social behaviour and badly maintained green spaces. Residents discussed these issues at the Community Council, where the local environment was our ultimate concern. We set up "Pals of the Privies", a volunteer group to take care of the green space known as the Privies. Full-scale regeneration went ahead to remove fly-tipping and decrease anti-social behaviour. Community consultations led to the provision of benches and pathways to improve accessibility. The project grew when a local resident chatted to one of the team, asking when work started on the next park..!

Our Community Action:
Litter picking is done by volunteers who collect rubbish and recycle it. Through a partnership with Sainsburys we trade tins and plastic bottles for money, which we use for community meals. We have all but eradicated local litter, and served over 1000 locally prepared three-course meals from the money raised. This has also helped with isolation, mental health and food poverty in the area.

We partnered with Co-op and Greggs to collect surplus food for a community market. People come and take what they want from the market. With messaging that we're saving all of this food from landfill, we remove the awkwardness of asking for help, tilting food poverty on its head. It's a place where people can meet, socialise and collect food to help the environment. Despite all we were giving away, there was a surplus of surplus so we went a step further to provide hand-cooked meals from our chest freezer at the market. These are especially useful for people who might live alone or suffer from isolation.

On our delivery route, we noticed domestic rubbish, fly-tipping and abandoned appliances. This sparked a new initiative, and we began collecting appliances on our rounds, ensuring they work, and offering them to the community. Fridges and washing machines are snapped up in seconds. We also remind people about bin day and promote the council's email alerts, to help combat the problem.

Darkwood Crew aim to meet the needs of the community as they happen, putting the Ferguslie community at the heart of environmental action.

Our advice

Don't give up. Tidying up once a fortnight might seem futile when the mess returns a fortnight later but the more you get out there, the more visible you become. People will notice that their local community is taking action and they'll start to litter less, or even offer their help.

Improving the environment can feel lonely, but there are often lots of people who share your views and just don't know where to start. All it takes is you. Our first litter pick had 45 attendees, which was a reaffirming surprise – we would have been pleased to see 5-6 people.

Explaining that 1.2 metric tonnes of carbon has been saved doesn't really mean much. By making it relevant to our daily lives and community, people are much more likely to get involved, notice the benefits, and inspire others. If people know they get a three-course meal in return for their recycling, or that if they contact us their appliance will go to good use in the community, the real benefits are clear.

Our metrics

We have cooked over 1,000 meals from surplus, using 15 tonnes of food waste so far.
During lockdowns, we delivered 8,425 food parcels to over 3,500 homes.
We have saved 45 appliances from landfill by collecting them and giving them away.

Feeling inspired? Discover more about this story...

Location

Renfrewshire

Response to climate crisis

Mitigation

Reach

Town

Organisation

Community, 10 to 49 people

Shared by

Terry McTernan

Updated Feb, 2024

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