At Work: Partnerships - Compact in action - Sandbach and Middlewich Clean Teams and Streetscape

Casper van Vark

The Compact enabled community 'clean teams' to advertise on the side of council dustcarts.

THE BACKGROUND

When Congleton Borough Council in Cheshire launched its Compact in January last year, Fiona Cooper, its Compact development worker, took on the responsibility of explaining to voluntary and statutory organisations what it meant.

A few months ago, she was leading a training course that was attended by council representatives, including those from street-cleaning service Streetscape.

"The guy from Streetscape couldn't think of a way for the street-cleaning services to form any partnership with the voluntary sector," she says.

"But then he realised that the sides of the lorries they use have space on them for advertising, which the voluntary sector could use free of charge."

THE ACTION

Two voluntary bodies that share a common aim with Streetscape took up the offer. Sandbach Clean Team and Middlewich Clean Team were set up to encourage people to keep their communities clean. They rely on volunteers and, with limited resources, couldn't afford conventional advertising.

But by advertising for free on the Streetscape lorries, they could raise awareness of their work and build their volunteer bases.

"We had to pay only for creating the ad and getting it on the the lorry," says Dick Macaulay, co-ordinator of Sandbach Clean Team. "We got a council grant to pay for that. The ads went up in August for six months."

THE OUTCOME

The launch of the lorry adverts was publicised in the local newspaper.

Since August, Macaulay has reported a steady increase in the number of volunteers joining Sandbach Clean Team.

"Our membership is growing," he says. "This has not only created a partnership between us and Streetscape, but also strengthened our relationship with other voluntary organisations."

Cooper sees this as the type of lateral thinking the Compact can stimulate.

"This wouldn't have happened if the Compact hadn't set out the aims of partnership working and if I hadn't been delivering Compact training," she says. "Streetscape didn't think of working with the voluntary sector, but by getting together and thinking about it, you see outcomes like this."

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