Three years ago this month Comoodle arranged its very first loan of resources to a community organisation: a van, volunteers and storage space to help the Welcome Centre manage donations of food.
We’ve been thinking about that first success and reflecting on how much our project has developed since then. Back in 2015, helping the community to access spare resources meant hunting through shipping containers and store rooms, and spending a lot of time on the phone. Fast forward to 2018 and we’ve launched the third version of our interactive online platform, organised nearly 900 successful exchanges and amassed over 2000 items, spaces and offers of skills which are available to Kirklees groups.
To mark our third anniversary here are three things you (maybe) didn’t know about Comoodle:
1. The skills sharing section on our website is really relevant right now
There’s a lot of interest at the moment in how skills can be developed and shared. Everyone has a skill that would be of use to someone else, and sharing it at comoodle.com is really easy. We’ve already got more than 50 skills offers at comoodle.com – people are offering to help out with everything from accident prevention and financial advice to landscaping and beekeeping.
People with skills to share can describe what they’re offering, whether there are any costs involved (like travel or materials –no one should be out of pocket), how much time they’re willing to give and whether they’re prepared to travel. At Comoodle you can do more of what you enjoy and help your community at the same time.
2. Groups can charge for the use of their space
Comoodle has always been about helping the community to access resources. In most cases it’s free of charge – we reckon that so far Kirklees groups have saved around £40,000 by borrowing through us instead of buying or hiring. But we also believe that it shouldn’t cost people to share their resources with others for the good of the community.
We know that groups who operate premises are under pressure to generate income from those spaces. Also many of them have told us that they would like to have empty spaces being used but there is a cost involved in making them available. So we’ve added a range of options to comoodle.com so that anyone offering to share space can ask for a donation, a contribution towards costs or a reduced community rate.
If you work with a group that manages a space (it can be anything from a building to a football pitch or even a shipping container) why not encourage them to offer it on Comoodle? It could be a great way for them to increase the use of their asset and build new connections.
3. The community looks after most of our kit nowadays
Only around a quarter of the items available on comoodle.com are actually looked after by the Comoodle team. The rest of them are held and managed by the 150 community groups who lend them to others, on our behalf. Lots of people think of Comoodle as the place where you borrow stuff from the Council, but this is not what we are about. We want to create a true sharing economy in Kirklees and early offers of Council resources have helped us to build that.
We get a lot of direct enquiries from people asking if we have something available. We love that people are thinking of us and mentioning us to groups that they work with; we just ask that anyone who is looking to borrow something searches on www.comoodle.com first. This is by far the easiest and quickest way to see if something is available and we want groups to get into the habit of checking there.
To find out more about our project and how you can get involved, visit www.comoodle.com or follow us on Twitter and Facebook. For technical queries call 01484 456844 or email [email protected]. We believe in sharing… do you?