Kirklees idea nets £1m and wins praise

PRIZE WINNERS Kirklees' Cities of Service group with the US ambassador, fourth from left.
PRIZE WINNERS Kirklees' Cities of Service group with the US ambassador, fourth from left.
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Kirklees Council has beaten worldwide competition to net £1m thanks to an innovative idea.

They won the cash from the Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayor’s Challenge for Comoodle, a scheme which takes unused assets and frees them up for communities to use and share. For example, if someone wants to create a vegetable farm on a disused patch of land, Kirklees will look at what support it can offer, from loaning tools to gifting a shed not used elsewhere.

More than 150 cities from 28 nations entered but Kirklees was the only UK area to win one of the prizes as its idea could make the most difference around the world. The other winners were Barcelona, Athens, Stockholm and Warsaw.

Council leader David Sheard said school and council buildings could be used at night, or vans that are not in use on weekends loaned out. “In a changing environment, with diminishing resources, the ability to create a platform that allows people to share ideas, skills, and equipment is a timely innovation,” he added. Residents can now help shape how Comoodle works by pitching ideas. To get involved visit www.comoodle.com.

Meanwhile, the US ambassador to the UK has backed a Kirklees Council volunteering plan.
Representatives from Kirklees met Matthew Barzun in London to launch Kirklees’ Cities of Service initiative. Kirklees Council is one of seven UK councils selected to take part in the programme, which aims to look at how volunteers can play a vital role in helping solve local issues. The first two Kirklees initiatives have started to take shape thanks to local partners and £30,000 of funding from Nesta, the UK’s innovation foundation.