Community Safety and Creativity

I want to touch briefly in this week’s Blog upon how we can collaborate with arts and creativity to make our communities safer and a more interesting place to live. I have been working  with Camelon Arts to plan how creativity can contribute to making camelon and Tamfourhill a safer, happier, and more attractive place to live.( And in this respect, there will be further collaboration and project developments in early 2022 which focus upon environmental improvement, community empowerment and encouraging greater community cohesion.

Rainbow railings painted by the community at Nailer Road Park

 I am going  to highlight some distinct ways that Arts Projects can contribute to improving our local communities, and also demonstrate how aspects  of our local community safety projects are aligned to these key features:

  • Bringing communities together in public places:

Dr. Felton Earls, a Harvard professor of public health, conducted an extensive, fifteen-year study in neighbourhoods across Chicago. His research found that the single-most important factor differentiating levels of health from one neighbourhood to the next was what he called “collective efficacy.” He was surprised to find that it wasn’t wealth, access to healthcare, crime, or some more tangible factor that topped the list. A more elusive ingredient–the capacity of people to act together on matters of common interest–made a greater difference in the health and well-being of individuals and neighbourhoods.

This is an important feature of the recent activities at the CJFC car park and its surrounding area , not only are we interested in changing the reputation of that location and making it more of a community asset we are also wanting to bring people together to share experiences, fun and aspirations. We want to create an atmosphere of a positive community where we are  coming together in common cause to develop  and enjoy our public spaces. The pop-up park and gather and play programme were all examples of bringing a community together in a public place.

The community coming together in a public space
  • Increasing community participation :

An essential part of the proposed community mural at the Juniors Ground perimeter wall will be ensuring there is community ownership and full involvement in the planning , developing the themes and the implementation of the mural. There are various stakeholders that will be required to have control and ownership of the process and the product, including : The football club, CJFC social club , local tenants, young people  and various community groups and organisations. The success of this venture will be reliant upon facilitating collective involvement and ownership and creating  a forum where everybody feels able to take part and make their contribution.

  • Engage Youth in the Community:

Including young people as meaningful contributors in the social and economic aspects of community development must not be overlookedand we should acknowledge the potential contributions they can make by their own actions and creativity in making our local community a safer place to live.

There are distinct community benefits of engaging young people especially those that are more marginalised and disconnected from  the wider community with creativity and giving them a voice through artistic expression and participation. There is evidence that through involving young people  with community arts projects that this process often brings adults into the picture. The voices of young people can have a significant impact upon  the behaviours and attitude  of adults within the community. The Tidy, Clean & Green group were recently successful in securing funds from Falkirk Councils Environmental Improvement Fund. This will involve another close collaboration with the arts and the commissioning of community artists to work in the main with local schools, early years centres and youth groups and support them to create positive messaging that will encourage the wider community to  reduce the incidence of littering ,fly-tipping and dog pooh. This is about creating nudge activities that will change behaviour and is to be led by the children and young people of Camelon and Tamfourhill. The hope is that their parents, family, and carers will acknowledge their creations around the community and will therefore take ownership of the messages and various creations  and that this will change behaviour in a positive way and reinforce the message that we should keep Camelon and Tamfourhill: Tidy, Clean and Green,

Creating messages that encourage positive behaviour change
  • Promote the Power and Preservation of Place:

In relation to both the community  mural and the planned Tidy, Clean & Green  messaging and design projects It will be important that everybody feels that they can contribute as much or as little as is practically possible for that individual or group to both the process and the product, underpinning all of this  is the notion of collective ownership and responsibility. The creativity must begin at where the community is at and what their experiences and aspirations of the place they live actually are, the process will flow and evolve from that starting point. When people become involved in the design, creation, and upkeep of places, they develop a vested interest in using and maintaining these spaces. When they have a true sense of “ownership” or connection to the places they frequent, the community becomes a better place to live, work, and visit. The residents’ feelings of respect and responsibility for the place bonds them to that place and to each other. (5 ways arts projects can improve struggling communities Tom Borrup)

There will be various opportunities to get involved with these community safety projects which are being supported and developed by the Tidy, Clean and Green Community Group and I will keep the website and our social media updated. I hope to be able to bring some more detailed information about a further community safety engagement day at CJFC car park area scheduled for Sunday 30th January 2022 and which will also involve some outdoor activities for families and the launch of the creative messaging project early in the new year


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