The Eden Project Virtual Community Camp will bring communities together at a time when supporting each other has never been more important
Community-minded people across the UK are being given the chance to connect, despite coronavirus creating barriers.
Usually held at the Eden Project in Cornwall, a virtual community camp will offer the same inspiration mix of workshops and networking activities but with the additional benefit of full accreditation. With more spaces available and no travel required, the initiative is now more accessible than ever before.
Taking the whole programme online is a significant shift for the National Lottery funded programme. Promoted by insights gathered during lockdown, organisers have redesigned the camps to be delivered virtually to meet people’s continuing need to upskill, be inspired and learn how to take positive action in their communities.
The Eden Project Communities programme is about connecting like-minded people from across the UK, giving them unique shared experiences and helping them to form strong, lasting and supportive relationships. Organisers hope that going virtual will be no barrier to creating impactful connections despite the exceptional circumstances that have prompted this change.
Mo Odling, community network developer, Eden Project Communities, said: “Now more than ever we need spaces to connect, where people can bring their ideas and hopes and see them flourish and grow, alongside people from across the country. Virtual Community Camp is more than just a course where people can upskill for grassroots action, it’s a meeting place where people can feel connected, inspired and supported. This time it’s different, but everything is different – so we’ve been working hard to create this opportunity for anyone out there who is looking to make a positive change in their community. I’m really looking forward to meeting everyone, and participating myself in the five weeks of sessions.
Beginning on Monday 12 October, the events will run over five weeks covering marketing, funding, inclusion, resilience, ideas and inspiration. Camps are created for community members rather than paid professionals and introduce participants to a network of over 1000 supportive, inspiring and creative people — creating connections and bonds, sharing ideas on how to engage and empower people, to support each other through challenges and find that extra motivation.
The sessions will be immersive learning experiences held on Zoom, all from the comfort of home. All participants will be sent a resource pack to get started. There will be practical sessions taking participants on a journey of learning, discovery and connection. Beyond these camps, people who take part can stay connected with even more network members and gain access to future events and network activities too. Since the first Community Camp, 94% of people have gone on to do something in their communities using skills or information they’ve learnt at Camp.
Helen Allan, a previous camp participant from Thurso, said: “I travelled from the very north of Scotland to Cornwall, to the Eden Project, an amazing backdrop for an awe inspiring, unique experience, meeting people from every corner of the UK, all just as passionate as I am about their communities”.
Eden Project Communities Scotland country manager, Sophie Bridger, said: “These last few months have shown people reconnecting with their communities and supporting each other on a scale we've never seen before. This Community Camp is a great way to keep that community spirit going, and help people keep making a difference in their communities. We hope it sparks more community projects, more connections, and more kindness.
“Community support has been so vital in surviving the first few months of lockdown - and community support is how we'll build back.”
To apply and to find out more about the Community Camps visit the website or if you would like to contact our team you can speak to Eden Community network developers Katie Swann firstname.lastname@example.org or Mo Odling email@example.com or check the Scotland Eden Project Community Network group on Facebook.