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‘Community Camps’ launched to inspire positive community action

Almost a third (32%) of adults in the UK want to find ways to connect with their community to help local people through the rising cost of living, according to research by Eden Project Communities.

With so many keen to do more, whether that’s by supporting their neighbours, encouraging people to live more sustainably, or helping local green spaces to bloom, Eden Project Communities is calling for applications for its Community Camp (30 September – 3 October) which aims to equip people with the skills and knowledge they need to put their dreams into action.

Emma Knight from Neath attended Community Camp in 2016 and was spurred into action by the experience. Soon after coming home from Cornwall, Emma rallied her neighbours to take on the lease to a dilapidated community centre.

After giving the space a serious spruce-up, Emma and the team opened the doors to Neath’s very own community centre, offering a vital space for people to socialise, learn and celebrate. When the pandemic hit, the centre converted into a volunteer hub and a lifeline to a struggling community. Emma and a team of volunteers delivered weekly food parcels, collected shopping and medication, and even provided daily meals to those most vulnerable.

With the community centre now open again, activities on the roster include weekly bingo slots, keep fit classes for people with mobility issues and a surplus café, with an overarching focus on operating sustainably and raising awareness of the climate crisis.

Emma says:

“Going to Community Camp was really inspiring. It’s amazing to be around so many enthusiastic people who all want to make a difference. It taught me about burn out and I realised where my energy was best spent and how I could make a bigger difference in my community. I’d tell anyone considering it to go for it!”

Community Camp’s fully-funded programme offers a mix of practical activities, workshop sessions and network opportunities.

Applications for September’s Community Camp at the Eden Project are open, with people at any stage in their community journeys invited to apply for the programme. Community Camp will also be running as weekly virtual sessions in November.

Tracey Robbins, Head of UK Delivery at Eden Project Communities, said:

“Emma is one of the many people around the UK who have turned their ideas for their communities into real action, and are now making life that little bit brighter, not just for their neighbours but for many others. Although times are hard at the moment, we know there are so many more of us out there who want to make a positive difference where we live, but aren’t sure how to get started.

“That’s why we’d love to see anyone with a bright idea they’d like to explore at Community Camp this autumn, whether it’s about improving a local green space, keeping your community connected, living more sustainably or supporting people struggling with the cost of living. Our camps are always full of laughter, connection and stories, with everyone leaving Eden with a confidence boost, practical ways of bringing their initiatives to life, and many new friends!”

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