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Communications and social media

How to write a case study

Providing access to food in the East Cleveland rural villages

This is a real Big Local case study. We have used it here as an example case study so that individuals involved in creating Big Local case studies can get a sense of the type of information, style and voice that we aim for. This case study template is for those who are writing about other individuals or groups involved in Big Local or about Big Local areas.


Brief background to case study and the Big Local area

Who does this case study focus on? For example, an individual or a Big Local partnership or a group who have been working on a particular Big Local activity etc. Who did you speak to for this case study and what is their role in the area? If the case study focuses on a person, give more information – their name, how long they have lived in the area, what they do, and how and why they are involved in Big Local.

Linda Bell is a resident of Skinningrove which is one of 11 villages in rural East Cleveland that is benefiting from being part of Big Local. Over recent years she has seen many of her local shops close, and the supply of fresh local food that was available to her and her neighbours diminish. She wanted to do something about this, and Big Local helped her to do just that via Star People, a jointly funded programme with Unltd.


Where is the area? Who lives there? What is the area like?

East Cleveland Rural Villages is a collection of 11 local villages, some with fewer than 120 houses. Skinningrove, where Linda is a resident lies between Saltburn to the north and Staithes to the south, both are small but attractive tourist destinations. Some 30,000 walkers per year ‘pass through’ Skinningrove completing the well-trodden ‘Cleveland Way’. 

In the village is the historic Cleveland Ironstone Museum, and a new small accommodation development that has started operating successfully. But, as with many rural villages there are limited services. Skinningrove has one small post office and one fish and chip shop. The local town of Loftus is not easy to get to unless you have a car, which not many people do. 


Why has the focus of your case study done what they’ve done? Why did they decide to do this?

In recent years residents of Skinnigrove have seen many of their local shops close. Now many have to travel to supermarkets, such as the Co-operative in Loftus or rely on restricted supplies from the local post office. Linda was all too aware of this issue and wanted to do something about it after talking to other people in Skinnigrove, and gathering their views through a simple questionnaire. She found out that other residents were also very interested in the idea of a community co-operative shop.

What and how?

This is about the Big Local work so far and / or a specific Big Local activity 

What kinds of activities has the area or individual done? How have they carried out work so far? Where and when did the activities take place? Did the area or individual involve other groups / organisations? How many people have participated or benefited? How have people benefited? Did the area work with the local paper / radio station and get any media coverage? What has been the individual’s role in these things (if the case study focuses on a person)? What has been the impact? What have been the challenges? How did the area or individual overcome these challenges? 

Linda worked hard with other residents to develop the Grove Co-operative. Their aim is to provide low cost fresh fruit, other foodstuff and goods to families in Skinningrove. They now have a property in the Riverside Building on the aptly named New Company Row. The Grove Co-operative has developed a partnership working arrangement with ‘In-kind Direct’ (a charity that redistributes surplus goods from manufacturers and retailers), local farmers, and a local gardening project. 

The surplus goods are sold direct to the public at the Linkup centre (an enterprising community hub), encouraging community members to also access other support programmes and services. 

Linda’s plans were made possible by the Star People programme which gave Linda a ‘do it’ award, which paid for advertising, leaflet distribution, skills development training for Linda, legal work and a sign post for the co-op. The aim of Star People is to reach out and unleash the energies of people who can transform the world in which they live. 

Linda has worked hard to bring the community co-operative to fruition. So far she has secured 12 to 15 local producers to supply the Grove Co-operative with fresh fruit, vegetables, homemade cakes, chutneys, savouries, home cooked hams and beef, knitting, jewellery, and butchery. 

Linda hopes that her bright idea pays off, and that it is a real benefit to all of the residents of the area, neighbouring villages, walkers and other holiday makers. 

It is hoped that the Grove Co-operative will also help the local economy, by offering suppliers a new income and providing local residents with affordable ‘fresh’ locally grown / made produce helping to keep the money flowing locally. Currently the store is open every other day with local people being able to buy delicious local food and other produce on Monday, Wednesday or Friday between 10-3.30pm, with telephone orders even been taken. 

What’s next?

The Grove Co-operative has a growing customer base with people even travelling from outside the village to sample the food on offer. The early successes of the Grove Co-operative have fuelled Linda’s entrepreneurial spirit, and she is already developing plans for a wine tasting evening. Who knows what might happen next?

The future

Is there anything the individual or area would do differently in the future? What would they recommend to another Big Local area or others? What are the future plans for Big Local in the area or for the people who have taken part and benefitted from the work so far?

The Grove Co-operative has not only led to a great sense of achievement for Linda and a fabulous new shopping option for the people of Skinnigrove; Linda’s appetite for enterprise has also had a positive impact on other people and organisations in the area. The managing group for the Riverside Building (where the Grove Co-operative is based) – the Skinningrove Link-up, has secured a grant from the Big Lottery Fund’s ‘Village SOS’ programme to refurbish part of the building so that more activities, like the Grove Co-operative can take place there.


Who is the best person in your Big Local area to contact for press enquiries? 

This person may be asked to provide a quote for a press release, speak to a journalist or talk on local radio.

Role in Big Local area:
Phone number: