Innovative Kirklees project to share stuff, space and skills saves community £36,000

Unique online sharing platform, Comoodle, has ambitions to double its sign-ups following an impressive 2017 which has seen nearly 700 exchanges made involving 250 Kirklees groups – saving the community tens of thousands of pounds.

Comoodle is continuing its quest to create a ‘sharing revolution’ across Kirklees by encouraging more businesses and community groups to sign-up to its easy-to-use website and get offering ‘stuff, space and skills’.

The likes of Batley Bulldogs RLFC, St Paul’s Church in Mirfield and Huddersfield Mission have all done exactly that to offer some much-needed shares for the district – and Comoodle wants more to come forward and keep raising awareness of its community project.

“We have now seen the new website live for nine months and in that time, the offers available have increased rapidly – as have the number of signed-up members,” said Duggs Carre, Comoodle project manager.

“What we can’t measure, but in many ways, is more important, are the new connections that have been made and the increase in collaboration that has been borne out of helping others.

“We expect to grow further in 2018 and more than double our offers and membership. There is still so much more ‘stuff, space and skills’ out there that community groups and businesses can use to make all the towns and villages across Kirklees a better place to live. We really do believe in sharing.”

Batley Bulldogs RLFC’s Community team has hailed the impact of Comoodle in helping them to borrow the likes of two BATAK walls, a balance rail, trampolines, sports equipment and spinning bikes to stage active events from its community gym at the club’s Heritage Road stadium.

That success has also enabled the team to take their ‘Mission Active Multi-skills Days’ on the road and into schools as well as host events for a range of ages and young people with complex needs such as Dewsbury’s Ravenshall School.

Jon Humpleby, Batley Bulldogs’ Community Manager, said: “The fact that we are custodians on the Comoodle platform and we’re able to use the equipment for free, is fantastic. We couldn’t afford two BATAK walls without Comoodle’s help so it’s allowed us to do things that we wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise.

“From a club perspective, it’s really nice for the supporters to see you doing things within the community because the young people are the future fans of the club so we need to engage them. It’s also nice to think you’re making a difference within the community – whether it’s getting people active, building confidence or self-esteem. It fits into our whole community strategy.”

Batley Bulldogs are one of several groups across Kirklees to have signed-up to Comoodle to share its ‘stuff, space and skills’ and help events flourish. And following a flurry of activity across 2017, the online platform has saved the community a total of £36,000 in what it would have cost to hire venues, borrow equipment and offer training.

By opening its doors to the community in the heart of the town, Huddersfield Mission has been able to offer its array of stunning spaces – which holds from six to 260 people – to enjoy keep-fit classes, support groups, IT sessions and community meetings.

Kayleigh Proctor, from the Mission, said: “We’ve been able to expand on what we offer for the people of Huddersfield thanks to Comoodle.

“Comoodle is about sharing things that are community resources. There’s no massive fees and no high expectations placed on people. It’s a really useful tool.”

First built in 1882, St Paul’s Church in Mirfield, has been benefiting from Comoodle by offering its main space for concerts and arts festivals, as well as soft play items for children.

Tim Grace, warden of the stunning church off Newgate, first borrowed children’s toys from Comoodle two-years-ago for the Mirfield Arts Festival. Following that success, Tim has been a custodian of the online platform ever since borrowing and sharing space and items on behalf of St Paul’s and a charity he is involved with called the Carers Trust.

“It’s important that we all share. It’s about word of mouth, getting the word out there about what Comoodle offers – it’s about people, talking to other people and sharing things. I think long-term that that will develop,” said Tim.

“It was so easy to borrow these things that we need. When you’re spending time organising events, you wonder where you’re going to get the items and space from. Comoodle is a one-stop shop.”

The Comoodle project is a winner of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ 2014 Mayors Challenge, an ideas competition to inspire bold and creative ideas in cities that will improve people’s lives and that have the potential to spread to other cities.

Building owners, businesses and community groups can put any type of available ‘stuff, space and skills’ on Comoodle – from advertising in a shop window to offering venues, sports equipment or training sessions. It can either be offered completely free or made available for a small charge or donation to charity.