CLEAR works to improve how their neglected town looks and feels by planting orchards and woodlands, vegetables, wildflowers, spring bulbs, food-bearing hedgerows and orchards across a number of growing sites. At the Community Growing Space, Open Days and a range of horticultural activities involve volunteers and local pupils. CLEAR also organises regular litter clearing, recycling, small landscaping and community arts, and activities for kids, working with other groups, and individuals, often with challenges.
CLEAR is a member of the Community Woodlands Association.
A group of 17 people visited Dundee Urban Orchard and Dighty Connect with the aims of: gaining ideas and inspiration from two groups working in a similar field; acquiring and improving their knowledge of practical approaches to community placemaking and community engagement through environmental regeneration and activism; and offering a new window on the world of community groups especially to younger disadvantaged volunteers (to learn they are not alone!)
Outcomes and benefits
The visit was very useful. Younger volunteers and those on placement participated well, helping build the team, and the visit was useful in broadening horizons and appreciating what CLEAR (and they) do is part of a wider movement
The two organisations visited were well selected since they do similar work (but in different areas) to CLEAR. The visit was a valuable practical learning experience with plenty of discussion, comparative analysis and identifying ideas and examples which could be replicated. CLEAR fed back that the support of the CLE is really appreciated. CLEAR normally try to arrange at least one such visit each year to allow volunteers and placements to see and learn from other similar projects and organisations. Identifying appropriate `hosts’ is difficult but this was well selected in this case. A great deal was learned, practical ideas and suggestions were taken away and it also enabled CLEAR to assess and compare their own work. Inevitably time constraints pressed but the exercise was well worthwhile for the 17 who participated. Horizons were widened, certain approaches reinforced, common problems shared and positive comparisons of what CLEAR does along with challenges that can be addressed. CLEAR felt that this type of visit is much more useful than training and indeed struggles to get individual volunteers to attend much formal training on offer. This shared practical learning approach is ideal.