Into the Future
We have big changes to announce today.
You probably know that we are a charity, and many of you will know that for the past 5 years the Gate Church Carbon Saving Project has received funding from the Scottish Government's Climate Challenge Fund.
That funding will cease in March 2022.
To be honest, this is the point at which some projects just disappear. You can probably think of excellent projects from the past that were set up, got themselves established and really made a difference to their community, but just ceased to exist when the funding stopped. Those working for the project hopefully went on to work with another worthwhile project, taking with them valuable expertise and experience, but actually, they left a gaping hole in their local community and among their followers.
We didn't want that to happen to us. It has always been our intention to provide a lasting legacy, not just a short-term sticking plaster, so there was never any doubt that we would be considering how to continue. Not just continue, but expand beyond the constraints placed on us by our current funding.
So, we see this as a rather exciting opportunity. We're not going to jump ship and head off in different directions. The whole team is going to stick together and take our project forward.
First things first: what are our core values?
to help people reduce their carbon footprint
to help alleviate poverty
They remain the same as always. Added to that, we want to
create a city-wide network by building on our existing partnerships
find new ways to support the people who need us most
create more opportunities for our community to come together
build upon everything we have achieved so far
implement new ideas
Now, you know us well enough by now to know that this will be done in the most sustainable way possible, with the emphasis very much on helping others. We are not trying to emulate some people - no names mentioned as we don't want to be taken to court for libel - who seem to want to become ever richer themselves, with very little heed for the negative impact of the global brand they have created.
You will not find us feathering our own nest - or buying our second, third or fourth homes and the private jet to carry us there whenever we want.
And we're not doing this to try to pull the wool over your eyes. Nor to abandon what we achieved thus far. In everything we do we will be mindful that we have only achieved what we have so far by gaining your trust. We hope you will continue to trust us as we embrace this time of change.
But how to become self-funding?
Naturally, we want to run a not-for-profit organisation, and after a good deal of research, we have settled on becoming a Community Interest Company (commonly known as a CIC).
So what's a CIC?
It's a relatively new type of company, established under the Companies Act 2004 and regulated by the Community Interest Company Regulations 2005. So, it's a bona fide business model with well-established principles. CICs aim to provide benefit to the community or to trade with a "social purpose" rather than to make a profit.
Pay attention at the back please!
We said at the beginning that our funding runs out in March of next year, but it is important that we get on with making our own money as soon as possible. Any money we generate can then go straight into our project to allow us to bring our other plans to fruition.
So, we are launching the first of our funding streams tomorrow (11th November).
Again, it's an established organisation that we can bring to you. It works because each group working under its umbrella sets it up in a way that works best for that group's locality and community.
NeighbourFood is essentially a virtual farmer's market. You sign up, shop online from local producers and collect your goods at one location. Scotland's first NeighbourFood was set up by Forth Environment Link in Stirling in 2016; there are currently 12 other markets running throughout the country. More than 3000 Scots have signed up to shop through the NeighbourFood platform, with around half of those shopping regularly with their local market.
NeighbourFood's mission is "to bring the best produce to your table, support our incredible local food producers and build a community around delicious food". Well, we second that!
Scotland's first Farmers Market was set up in Perth in April 1999, as a way for producers to meet their consumers and get an understanding of what they wanted and to forge a close relationship with them. For their part, consumers could get to know and trust the people who produce the food they buy.
Trust was important then and it is important now. You can be sure when you shop in a NeighbourFood market - the virtual equivalent of a Farmers Market - there will be no genetically modified products, intensively reared meat, imported fish or eggs from battery hens.
So, are you in?
Dundee is ideally situated between Fife, Angus and Perthshire, all famous for their fantastic produce, so isn't it great that you will now be able to find all this local produce in one place.
Once you have placed your order online, you can come along to collect your goodies at the Gate Church, 158 Perth Road, Dundee on Thursdays between 4 and 6 pm. Or you can pay a small fee to have your order delivered. No need to worry about emissions as we will be using our electric vehicle.
Head to our website now to find out which producers have signed up so far. We're confident you will then want to join this amazing platform.
So, that's the first of our new ventures, but it won't be the last. We have many more ideas in the pipeline.
We'll have further announcements to come as we move along this rather exciting road. We will soon have a new name - Transition Dundee CIC.
You maybe already know about Transition groups in other towns and cities. There are over 2000 across 50 countries so once again we are in good company. Each group takes local action on the climate crisis and finds their own way to encourage change to a more sustainable way of living.
You can see that we are sticking to our basic principle of keeping it local and listening to what our community wants.
The future's looking good :)