It was a risky idea to let people borrow council equipment.

But if you attended a community event, support a local charity or watched a theatre show it’s possible Kirklees Council’s Comoodle project had a part in making it happen.

Comoodle, the council’s sharing service, has brokered 151 loans and 127 community groups have benefited.

And it’s ranged from the bizarre - providing a photo opportunity with a pig - to the practical - providing the Ahmadiyya Muslim Women’s Association with litter pickers, gloves and tabbards for a clean-up operation.

It’s part of Kirklees’ bid to make better use of its resources and strengthen community networks.

The next step is to encourage more community groups and organisations to share with each other.

Mark White, Comoodle Project Manager, said: “When we launched Comoodle we wanted to understand how to share things effectively, so we thought about what the council could lend out.

“Over the summer we loaned around 30 vans and 70 sets of sports equipment.

“We estimate over 12,000 residents have benefited from our activities and we have learned a lot from that experience.

“We also trialled the use of libraries as Comoodle hubs which enabled groups to collect kit locally instead of coming to a central depot. This has enabled groups based all over Kirklees to access our project.”

The council ‘comoodled’ large events equipment like inflatable football pitches, generators and an events trailer as well as items including gazebos and display boards.

Musicians from Hoot got a helping hand from the Comoodle project

It started as a ‘request and we’ll see what we can do’ service and the most unusual request was from the Spot On theatre group who were staging Betty Blue Eyes which features an animatronic pig.

A puppet was used in the play, the team wanted a photoshoot with a real pig for publicity material.

While Kirklees doesn’t own pigs the Comoodle team were able to help as Comoodle Programme Leader Duggs Carre knew the Waves Centre in Slaithwaite did. The request was made and the theatre company got their pig photoshoot.

Others to benefit include Linthwaite Juniors who borrowed sports equipment; the Walpole and Balmoral TRA borrowed exercise equipment for young people; and Skelmanthorpe Parish Council borrowed litter pickers and gloves.

The Elim Pentecostal Church borrowed a van to move furniture and food for asylum seekers, plus the Welcome Centre has used council vans to move food parcels.

The first community-to-community exchange was from the North Huddersfield Trust School which loaned display boards to the University of the Third Age for an art exhibition.

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