Eco Collective

Current stage: Awarded


● Plymouth Scrapstore

● Precious Plastics Tavistock & Plymouth

● Pollenize CIC

● Art and Energy

● Clean Our Patch

● Seadream Education

● Rebel Botanists

Briefly describe your project

We are 7 small groups Micro VCSE (Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise) with a social or environmental mission, each focussing on a collective outcome but with varied themes : waste, pollution, biodiversity, climate change etc. This is a critical role in supporting positive change in local communities all trying to make a difference by engaging people and fostering respect for the environment. However facilitating opportunities in our local communities can sometimes be a capacity related challenge. Much of our time is given voluntarily but this is not sustainable. One of the best ways we have found to engage with people is at festivals and public events and we are frequently asked to attend but this is often not a paid opportunity. By engaging the community we can do a huge amount more for the environment than any of us can alone so by supporting us you can raise awareness across the city, Improve the environment and help protect our world. . The Eco collective members want to represent these issues at festivals and networking events, which often coincide with busy periods over the calendar year, and dedicating the time and resources can be a challenge. If we are able to share the responsibility of this representation we can maximise our impact and create a more significant presence.Please support us in this collaborative effort to improve the environment in our city.

Describe what you hope your Collective will achieve

As individual organisations each has a role and responsibility in sharing our knowledge and experience with others. Over the years this engaging and creative approach has seen the demand for our presence at events* grow, to a point where we are each finding it difficult to be everywhere we would like to be & that we are requested to attend. So enter the Eco Collective – we hope that through the next stage of our collaboration, we will learn how to represent ourselves and the collective, what language to use, what messages to share, what displays and publicity materials to use, how to talk about our colleagues funders and supporters – through this learning and sharing experience we will be able to truly represent each other and our shared missions and values. As part of this journey we hope to identify further the areas in which we can support each other and the communities we work with, and promote not only what we we do, but the value of the way in which we do it, and the style of our shared research and collaboration for the benefit of others.

*fun day in the park, a stand at an exhibition, key note speaker or run a workshop etc).

How will it work? And why is this collaboration and research project important?

Each of us will take a turn at being the main organisation representing the Eco Collective at an event, taking along new Eco Collective displays and materials, confident in giving out the collective message at an event, alongside us will be a

second member taking a more watchful role, these roles and responsibilities will be alternated amongst the team depending on availability and requests from host, learning will be shared with the wider POP membership, as we see a real value in this process for others.

Micro VCSE (Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise) with a social or environmental mission, play a critical role in fostering positive change in local communities. By collaborating at local community events and festivals, these enterprises can maximise their impact and create a more significant presence.

Enhanced Visibility and Brand Recognition;

Collaboration among micro VCSE enterprises can increase their visibility and brand recognition at community events and festivals. By working together, these organisations can pool resources, such as marketing materials and table space, to create a stronger and more memorable presence. This unified approach not only helps the individual enterprises gain exposure but also promotes the broader VCSE movement.

Resource Sharing and Cost Reduction;

Working together at local events allows micro-social enterprises to share resources such as equipment, transportation, and staffing. This collaboration can reduce costs for each organisation, enabling them to invest more in the resources required to carry out activities and workshops that can be offered for free at these events.

Strengthening the Local VCSE Ecosystem

When like-minded micro-VCSE enterprises collaborate, they strengthen the local VCSE ecosystem by fostering relationships, sharing knowledge, and building a supportive network. This collaboration can lead to valuable partnerships, mentorship opportunities, and the sharing of best practices.

Increased Community Engagement

By presenting a united front at local events, micro VCSE can engage with the community more effectively. This increased engagement can lead to more significant public support, increased volunteerism, and higher levels of community involvement. Collaboration can also lead to more educational opportunities, enabling micro VCSE enterprises to raise awareness and inspire action on critical social and environmental issues. Representing local events that are hosted in green spaces further provides the opportunity for people to experience the physical and mental wellbeing effects associated with this activity.

Leveraging Collective Impact

Through collaboration, micro-social enterprises can leverage their collective impact to address complex social and environmental challenges more effectively. By pooling resources, knowledge, and skills, these enterprises can develop innovative solutions and implement more significant change at the local level. A united presence at community events and festivals can amplify their message, drawing attention to the issues they seek to address and inspiring others to join their efforts.

Describe how your Collective formed

This group is formed by 7 environmentally focused local community organisations joining together for the benefit of all. We were all known to each other, some had worked together formally some informally. We first met as a collective in early

October 2020, having worked together in different ways and numbers prior and since that date.

Following on from our first research and collaboration project we have continued to support each other and collaborate. At the beginning of the year we hosted a facilitated evaluation of the project, where certain things pointed towards us working together again to see if a collective approach could support community events across the city. We cannot be at every event and activity that we are requested to attend, sometimes this is due to capacity, sometimes it’s due to funding where as a minimum we need to cover costs but it is vitally important that we are seen to be there for the benefit of the communities we support.

We know that we can work in this way with respect and transparency but how will the event organisers respond to having 2 organisations rather than 7 .. we hope that this will show that we can truly be representing our collective whilst meeting the needs of the community.. support them to understand the true costs and value of having us as part of their offer and the fact that we can’t always do things for free, that there is always a cost, sometimes it doesn’t need to be passed on, sometimes it can be shown as match funded or added value, but then the funder needs to be acknowledged too.

We hope that our experiences will be of value to others who can replicate this model of collaboration and partnership. Across Plymouth and with various funders we already see the achievements of collaborative working, we believe that this model could be replicated by them, showing that as individual organisations we can do good things, as collaborations we can do good things great!

Which collaboration “shape” do you expect will best describe your project?

MURMURATION – Like a flock of birds flying together, all the organisations of the collective work closely together on all aspects of the project.

In which areas would you expect most of your grant to be spent?

Core Funding / Time, Events