The future of CCN

Statement from CCN and FCFCG about the merger of CCN into FCFCG

 

At the start of 2016 the Community Composting Network (CCN) merged into the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens (FCFCG). CCN’s Board and members took this decision recently in the light of financial and human resource constraints and the need to safeguard the future development of community composting in the UK. 

For the CCN, this represents the end of 20 years as a standalone organisation working on behalf of over 700 community groups, individuals and other not-for-profit organisations that have made up its membership during that time. The FCFCG was a key supporter and founding member of the CCN and hosted the first Co-ordinator at its offices in Bristol. For the majority of the subsequent years the CCN office has been located at Heeley City Farm in Sheffield. In addition to sharing CCN's charitable objectives, the FCFCG also shared many of its members, therefore it has been a fairly straightforward and logical decision to close CCN as an organisation and transfer the remaining assets to the FCFCG.

 

The CCN has supported and promoted community groups, social enterprises and individuals involved in producing compost from locally sourced and separate organic waste and using it for the benefit of their local communities. CCN members also provide many social, economic and additional environmental benefits to their local communities. The majority of members are also growers who use  the compost to support their horticultural activities. The new arrangement will provide a service for members with more access for networking, and to new skills and opportunities. The transition will be overseen by an Advisory Group mainly composed of  experienced community composters, and existing paid-up members of CCN transferred to FCFCG membership.

 

CCN was founded in 1996 by a group of community composters who felt their specific needs, especially regarding legislation, demanded representation. In the early years CCN and its members were pursuing two main aims: firstly to take the garden and food residues out of the waste stream destined for landfill, and secondly to use the resulting compost in their own growing activities. Recently with funding from the Big Lottery and support from partner organisations including the FCFCG, the CCN established a network of training hubs which trained nearly 200 community composters over a three year period. This training course, accredited by the Chartered Institute of Waste Management, will be continued by the FCFCG.

One of the most significant and long lasting achievements of the past 20 years has been to obtain the necessary changes in legislation required to provide workable exemptions for community composting and micro scale anaerobic digestion in England and Wales, however there is still much to be done for members in Scotland. Also, there remains  a legal grey area in all of the UK as to whether community compost is considered waste or not.

Although most local authorities now have green (garden) waste collections and, increasingly, food waste collections, there are still good opportunities for local composting projects which can deliver a combination of economic, environmental and social benefits. Cath Kibbler, the CCN's current Co-ordinator reports that "Local authorities are increasingly charging for green waste collection which creates either an opportunity for community composters to also charge or creates an incentive for groups to organise their own volunteer-run projects to avoid the charges. There is still a need for localised food waste solutions; only half a million tonnes out of a total of 7 million tonnes of food waste from households1 is currently composted or goes to anaerobic digestion".

“There is a growing recognition of the benefits of moving towards a circular economy2 and managing waste close to where it arises rather than transporting it over long distances to large treatment facilities. This, added to the increasing interest in growing local food and avoiding excess food miles, makes a compelling argument for localised closed loop composting (or micro Anaerobic Digestion) and growing.

There is no reason why composting can not be done at a small scale localised level. Bisley Community Composting project and Teesdale Conservation Volunteers are just two very different examples of what can be done, although it's not always made easy for them to do it! So we still need policies, legislation and initiatives  that support projects like these and encourage new community composting groups to start-up and flourish.

 

Notes for Editors using the above statement as a press release.

Contacts:

Ian Egginton-Metters, FCFCG Assistant CEO This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it 07939 230053

Cath Kibbler, CCN Coordinator, email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , 07739 459515

 

Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens (FCFCG):

FCFCG is a registered charity which supports, represents and promotes community-managed farms and gardens, school farms, community allotments and other green spaces across the UK. Its members, typically located in deprived areas, help empower local people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to build better communities and to make a positive impact on their surrounding environment.

www.farmgarden.org.uk

 

Community Composting Network:

From it's inception the Community Composting Network (CCN) was the UK-wide organisation that supported and promoted community groups, social enterprises and individuals involved in producing compost from green/food waste and using it in their local communities. It’s aims were to:

  • Lead the future development of the Community Composting (CC) sector
  • Raise the profile of the CC sector and provide it with a strong voice
  • Advocate for more proportionate legislation for the CC sector
  • Help existing CC groups/projects to survive and grow
  • Support the establishment of new CC groups/projects.

 

The membership is very diverse from small groups working on allotment sites to community based social enterprises providing kerbside collection services. The common theme is that members of the local community are involved in the management of the waste they produce, and any profits generated are used for the benefit of the community rather than personal wealth creation.

 

References for notes in main text

1. tonnage figures for household food waste and destinations for treatment given by WRAP in report:

Estimates of Food and Packaging Waste in the UK Grocery Retail and Hospitality Supply Chain

see figure 3, pg. 4:

Link: http://www.wrap.org.uk/sites/files/wrap/UK Estimates October 15 (FINAL)_0.pdf

2. A circular economy is an alternative to a traditional linear economy (make, use, dispose) in which we keep resources in use for as long as possible, extract the maximum value from them whilst in use, then recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of each service life (WRAP)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 February 2016 12:17