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Community Learning Exchange

Scottish Community Alliance has reconfigured the Community Learning Exchange (CLE) program so that it can be delivered either face to face or virtually.


The Community Learning Exchange is a fantastic opportunity for communities to learn through the exchange of ideas and the sharing of common solutions.  The reconfiguration of the programme will allow community groups to deliver their knowledge and expertise remotely or face to face to other community organisations without, we hope, losing the most valuable element of the CLE: meeting new people with similar interests; gaining new insights and perspectives on shared challenges; and coming away armed with new ideas and approaches.

The great value of being networked with others is the opportunity to learn from what’s going on elsewhere. Scotland’s community sector is very well served by networks of all shapes, sizes and specialisms but sometimes the costs of networking and learning from others can be prohibitive. Scottish Government has recognised this and has agreed funding for the Community Learning Exchange.

Please note: The Community Leaning Exchange is available to all community groups who are members of the networks that comprise the Scottish Community Alliance (SCA), SCCAN being one of them. Community groups that are members of SCCAN therefore have access to this fund. 

What do I need to do?

Find our more, read the guidance, see case studies and apply here: Community Learning Exchange


The Community Learning Exchange will cover up to 100% of the costs of the preparation and delivery time incurred by the host organisation. Virtual visits may be initiated by a community group approaching another, requesting that they ‘host’ a virtual visit. Alternatively, a community group with knowledge and experience to share, might choose to promote a virtual visit more widely. SCA are keen explore new and innovative ways that communities use to tell their stories in order to inspire others. To this end, the Exchange will fund proposals for planning and delivery for up to 13 hours at £35 per hour.

Face to Face

The Exchange will fund up to 100% of the costs of a visit by members of one community to another community project up to a limit of £750 to include travel, accommodation and subsistence.

Follow-up mentoring support. Opportunities for time-limited flexible mentoring relationships that support identified learning outcomes are available. The follow-up support between organisations might be necessary as a result of a learning exchange when it is recognised that more specific and on-going help, support, or advice is required. This can be through face-to-face meetings, by phone, e-mail, or one of the communications platforms such as Skype or Zoom. Funding for this kind of additional support will need to be negotiated separately.

What did others do?

To date several SCCAN members have taken part in the Exchange. One such group was Bridgend Inspiring Growth who reported: 

”We had a fantastic Eco-Building study tour of various eco-build projects in and around South East Scotland. There were 16 participants and people were very inspired, and we have built on that knowledge, enthusiasm and momentum to begin our community build of a self-sustaining bothy building in one of the external barns at Bridgend Farmhouse. Over two months we will work with various individuals and groups to build a bothy with sustainable sources like timber, straw-bale, hemp-crete, cob, solar panels, wood-burner and rain-water harvesting. We are grateful for building these links and alliances with different groups, people and projects across Scotland. We hope in the future to host events, meetings, visits and the like to unite with other groups near and far fighting to create a more sustainable, sensible, resilient and equal society. If anyone or any groups are interested, please get in touch!”

Other comments include:

“Many thanks again for your assistance in making the study visit a reality. It was particularly effective to see something working in real life – presentations and web searches can give info – but a visit makes it real.”

“We really appreciate this support. We learned a great deal, took some practical ideas and suggestions away and also could assess and compare our own work. Inevitably time constraints pressed but the exercise was well worthwhile for the 17 who participated. It widens horizons, reinforces our approach and allows positive comparisons of what we do and challenges we can address. More useful than training.”

The organisation came away with a lot of confidence that their organisation can be set up to run successfully and the specific individuals came away with more confidence in their own ability.”