East Cleveland On-Line is a social enterprise set up with assistance from Teesside University’s “Unlimited” funding. ECOL has existed informally for a number of years beginning with the DigitalCity project “Digital Discovery Route” (DDR) which ran from 2004 to 2006. This created a loose grouping of community groups and several interesting and creative projects developed. You can see many of these activities in the news archives of Ecol – click here (stories in the order they were posted)
The formalisation of the network began with 3 Community Organisations – Cleveland Ironstone Mining Museum, Skinningrove History Group and Be All You Can. From these groups came the ECOL Directors: Sue Anderson – Secretary, Ian Wilson – Treasurer, John Roberts – Vice Chairman and Steve Thompson – Chairman. (Social Entrepreneur in Residence, Teesside University)
ECOL is now registered with Companies House as a Community Interest Company (CIC) and began trading October 1st 2013. The first priority of this social enterprise was the collaborative sharing and funding of web space and ECOL now has many members on this basis but also has associate members as well as some hosted clients. The membership criteria can be found by clicking here. But ECOL is more about web hosting. The intention is to grow collaborations and seeking new markets using online mechanisms. We are also looking at explorations into e-commerce as well as an exciting new initiative to develop a community media channel for ECOL as well as a new community journalist network.
We’re hoping these initiatives can grow and spread and create new opportunities in a rural area of industrial decline.
East Cleveland is to the South of the region of Teesside and consists of the southern-most wards of Redcar and Cleveland Borough. Using data from the Census 2001, the main industries in these wards appear to be manufacturing, wholesale & retail trade including the repair of motor vehicles and health and social care. The area is peppered with the remains of declining industries, fishing, steel and mining.