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August 24, 2016

Learn from each other

Everyone learns differently and the science of learning suggests that there are up to seven different learning styles – each using a different part of the brain – and that we may use different styles of learning at different times for different reasons. The Community Learning Exchange doesn’t claim to be an expert on any of that but what it does is to offer your local group the chance to visit another community that’s doing something that interests you. You never know, you may even learn something. 

Community Learning Exchange

The Community Learning Exchange is now into its second year of funding.  Ninety-eight learning visits have been supported, with 145 organisations benefiting. A taste of what has been happening is below.

When Renfrew Development Trust visited  Creetown Initiative in June it benefited from Creetown’s experience in working with funders, both local and national; learnt how to achieve a mix of revenue streams; and discussed how to transform local needs into enterprise and employment  opportunities.   “It was useful to see some of the things that we have talked about in reality – people being employed, physical improvements such as playparks, landmarks and landscaping improved, and to see a building project substantially completed. Also to see the range and diversity of projects being tackled was a huge benefit.”

Early in 2016 Kirkhill & Bunchrew Community Trust visited the Embo Trust community shop.  The purpose of the visit was to find out more about appropriate business and funding models; explore ideas about turning the shop into a community hub; and see how Embo approached the operational and financial issues of retail management.  Kirkhill & Bunchrew Community Trust felt that by learning from another community’s experience it was less likely that it would “re-invent the wheel”.

Representatives from seven Moray Social Enterprises visited ten organisations during a learning visit to Shetland in May 2016. The visit was organised by tsiMORAY.  The key organisation that was chosen to host was Cope Ltd, Shetland because they are seen as an inspirational example of inclusiveness and employability in action as well as a sustainable, growing and thriving social enterprise.

The visit provided inspiration, new connections, fresh ideas, new learning and the opportunity to make lasting friendships between those attending the visit and their peers in Shetland.

Four members of the Pairc Trust visited five trusts (Galson, Carloway, Barvas, North Harris and West Harris) during April-June 2016, with the aim of learning good practice about consulting with communities, keeping administrative records as landlords of crofting casework and to learn about developing renewable energy projects.  Pairc Trust now works more closely with other similar organisations throughout the Western Isles. . The trust  realised how important it is to have a Facebook page to keep members of the  community informed and updated. “We introduced this after our initial visits and we have had a lot of local people contribute and get in touch. The visits were extremely useful. They gave us an invaluable opportunity to meet people in similar positions and we hope to work with them in partnership in future projects.”


To find out how your community based organisation can apply, contact one of the SCA member networks (check ) or email or call the Exchange Coordinators (Jane on 07581 216246 or Amanda on 07843 481790).