community

Community Safety activities this October Holidays.

Thanks to McDonalds on Glasgow Road for sponsoring our recent litter pick

Tamfourhill Youth Group with the assistance of McDonalds Restaurants on Glasgow Road carried out a litter pick at the Juniors Car Park on the morning of Wednesday 13th October, and this was greatly appreciated as it fully prepared that location for the Gather and Play event scheduled for the Friday. The Group worked tirelessly  to clear the area of rubbish. McDonalds who are taking their commitment to keeping Camelon and Tamfourhill #tidycleangreen very seriously and they awarded the group and the volunteers with a complimentary lunch and drink back at the restaurant. A big think you to Rachael at McDonalds for her hospitality and also thanks to the hard work of herself and staff team to help the youth group rid the CJFC car park of detritus , rubbish and fly tipping, and yes, we did find a McDonald’s drinks cartoon in the bushes, and it was duly removed and binned.   

After the Group were fully fed and watered, we all walked up through Easter Carmuirs Park to the Falkirk Wheel where the group would conclude the programme of canal clear ups which had been funded though the Great Place Falkirk Heritage Lottery Project. The Canal Clear ups had begun back in April of this year and have run consistently throughout the year with groups from the local schools: Carmuirs Primary, St Mungo’s Secondary, Youth Groups from Tamfourhill Community Hub along with a family group and a delegation from the Forth Valley Recovery community that have all participated and made a massive contribution to keeping the canal and the  towpaths #tidycleangreen.

The October Paddle Pick up with the Tamfourfhill Youth Group

Credit is especially due to the Spar stores on Camelon Main Street who have made a very generous donation to the catering at the Gather and Play day and also the Community Fun Day in Easter Carmuirs Park , and McDonalds restaurants who have supported two recent community litter picks and provided tremendous hospitality for the young volunteers

The autumnal sun shone on a day of greening , creativity and safe place making at the car park area of Camelon Juniors Football Club. The location  historically has  had a negative reputation for anti-social behaviour, so the Community Safety Event: Gather & Play was organised to encourage a new perception and experience of how the location could be used safely and redeveloped for the betterment of the local community.  Camelon Arts Project facilitated workshops which focused upon  hands on creativity that identified themes which could be further developed into local permanent public art works , they also provided  tote bag designing and a display of local peoples sign writing and these activities all contributed to the days creative themes. A community artist led an all Games Allowed session which involved inventing new streets games and the Tidy, Clean and Green Group provided a pop-up park with children’s games and a bulb planting stall. There was a very informative stall form Frog life,  and the staff and young learners form Camelon Early Years and Childcare centre had a detailed exhibition of their community involvement.

Camelon Juniors Social Club provided everybody who attended with a fabulous lunch, and this was a magnificent catering effort to feed and water the 150 plus local people who came to take part in the days programme. 

Hospitality in the Camelon Juniors Social club, thanks to the SPAR on the Main Street Camelon for their generous donation for the catering

The Community Safety Engager form the Our Place Camelon & Tamfourhill Project facilitated a participative workshop where young people , children and families could discuss and offer their s  visions and aspirations for the making the area safer and to also consider how the location could be transformed from being a community safety  problem into a positive community asset.  A prominent theme was the need for a safe play area for younger children and suggestions as to how the area could be better landscaped to include a seated relaxed social space but also with an area where children could build dens and have safe adventurous  play in the  outdoors. Traffic concerns and the dangers of children having to play in the nearby streets was raised consistently and it was highlighted that local people and other agencies could work together with the aim of  addressing these issues, realise aspirations and form partnerships which could  enable some of these community safety priorities to be successfully and creatively resolved.

Community safety workshop with local young people

Work will continue and further community meetings and activities will be arranged which encourages ongoing discussions and also brings people together to consider a plan of action so that some of these community aspirations for the Camelon Juniors Car Park  might be realised. This is the start of a journey, and the Our Place project will be there to support local people to take whatever course of action they feel is the most appropriate and useful.

For further information or to get more involved please contact: John R Hosie: Community Safety Engager for Our Place Camelon & Tamfourhill on 07391524528 or email at:  communitysafetyengager@tamfourhilltro.co.uk 

community

Gather and Play: A Community Safety Event:

A hands-on day of games, greening, safe place making and art

Friday 15th October 11am-4pm at Camelon Juniors Football Ground Car Park

Food & Drink will be provided free of charge.

 

The Camelon Juniors Football Club Car Park and its immediate environs have historically been viewed as a problematic area for the local community with a longstanding high incidence of anti-social behaviour . The situation was exacerbated last year when a fire badly damaged a container within the football ground which was being used as a temporary changing room facility due to the COVID pandemic. This concern for the location and the security of the football club were consistent themes that were raised through the local community safety consultations that took place throughout 2020 and early 2021, and in response to these specific community safety concerns  a multi-agency group was convened by Falkirk Council to look at strategic solutions for both the security of the football club and improving the location for the benefit of the wider community. The local community safety strategy  advocates a partnership approach with a focus upon community-based solutions and in this context, it was advocated that:  a community engagement and development process involving all the local stakeholders  was required as this would be  the most effective way of transforming the space from being a negative location into a community asset

The Our Place Camelon & Tamfourhill Community Safety Engager therefore  began an engagement process with the key stakeholders.

 A tenants survey took place in  Jan/Feb 2021 which  confirmed that local tenants would like to see the area transformed through creative and green projects. The football club were supportive of this approach and in particular were keen to see the perimeter wall of the Football ground upgraded in a creative way and to encourage the wider community to participate with that process.

Throughout May/July 2021 further audits of the spaces  and consultations with stakeholders and local tenants  took place to collect views and ideas as to  how that location could be reimagined, redeveloped, and better used. This included children’s street games taking place on the car park and an ongoing commitment from the Tidy, clean and Green Group and the Forth Valley Recovery Community to keep the area cleared of litter and dog mess and further support form Falkirk Council has seen the installation of temporary CCTV and the clearance of the overgrown area next to the canal towpath. 

This Area could become a community asset as opposed to being a community safety concern.

The sustainable long-term solution to this area will necessitate a collaborative approach and with the involvement and commitment of the Camelon Arts Project, along with Our Place Camelon & Tamfourhill, The Tidy, Clean & Green Group and community artist Mark Bleakley’s  All Games Allowed Project, the next phase of this engagement process will take place on Friday 15th October when there will be the Gather & Play Community Safety Event:  This will involve a day of drop-in creative workshops and games, cleaning and greening, and temporary interventions at Camelon Junior’s car park .This is a bit of a taste and try day where local people can come and experience some of the ideas that have already been suggested  to improve the car park and its surrounding area: The drop-in event will run from 11am – 4pm and will include the following workshops from Camelon Arts:

  • All Games Allowed with Mark Bleakley
  • Tote bag printing with Alice Dansey-Wright
  • Mural painting workshop based upon the football grounds perimeter wall with Gregor Horne & Theo Christy (Gallery Malmo)
  • A temporary exhibition of Canal College Artists’ sign paintings
  • The launch of our Camelon and Tamfourhill calendar.

In addition

  • The Tidy, Clean & Green Community Group  will host their first pop up park with children’s games, and this will  provide an opportunity for families and children to experience what a safe play area and family social space might be like at that location.
  • There will be food and drink provided free of charge,
  • A great prize can be won  for a day out at the Falkirk Wheel.
All Games Are Allowed

Most importantly the Event will provide opportunities for further discussions and engagement  to take place with the community safety engager, Camelon Arts , the supporting artists, the Tidy, Clean and Green Group  and with Falkirk Council. The longer-term aim is to establish a community  agreed plan which will contribute to making this area safer, and to also listen to peoples wider aspirations for their neighbourhood, hopefully the Gather & Play approach will inspire more  local people to get directly involved with that community development process.  

community

A Safer Streets Roadshow is coming to Camelon and Tamfourhill: Thursday 7th October 2pm-6.30pm

As part of the community safety strategy for Camelon and Tamfourhill  a Safer Streets Roadshow will be in these areas on Thursday 7th October from 2pm-6.30pm. The Roadshow represents a proactive approach to addressing community safety concerns whilst also intending to  promote  positive community developments which will then encourage new community activities and initiatives. Essentially,  we are asking local people if they have any ideas that will make their streets safer? Or if they want to look at new approaches to resolving local issues? If people want to make a difference to Camelon and Tamfourhill then the Partners of the Roadshow are inviting them to  please come along and have a  chat with the  staff and volunteers who will be in attendance representing a wide  range of agencies and local organisations and groups. The commitment is to  listen to local peoples issues, ideas, and suggestion and then to work together in partnership so that we can all make Camelon and Tamfourhill a  safer, happier, and  a more attractive place to live.

An aim of the Safer Streets Initiative is to improve community cohesion

The full community safety strategy can be found here:

 The Roadshow is concerned with a number of the local strategies key outcomes, and these were identified through the consultation and discussions that were facilitated about community safety throughout 2020 and early 2021:  

  • The community will have greater capacity to address the negative impacts of anti-social behaviour.
  • The Community will have an improved sense of security and reassurance about their homes, property, and assets.
  • Local people will have a greater confidence in the agencies that deliver relevant services.
  • There will be improved partnership working and greater collaboration between the community and agencies.
  • The Level of anxiety about local substance use will be reduced.
  • There will be improved community cohesion.

This is an ideal opportunity for local people to raise their concerns with the agencies and services that are involved with all aspects of the communities daily lives. It is important however that we are able to make positive responses and encourage new ideas and ways of working together which improve people’s lives and where in partnership we can  create new opportunities for community development. I hope that all of the agencies and  groups involved can recognise the communities existing assets and that through our discussions on Thursday that we can identify new local volunteers and further build the communities capacity to deliver and develop new projects and initiatives. In this respect there will be local volunteers asking questions about the formation of a new community council, others will be asking if it would be appropriate to establish a new styled Neighbourhood Watch scheme and indeed would it be helpful and useful to  establish  a regular community safety forum

The Safer Streets Initiative will be rolled out throughout Camelon and Tamfourhill next Spring

The Safer Streets Roadshow will take place on Thursday 7th October. The first session will be held at Tamfourhill Community Hub car park from 2-4pm and the second session will be hosted  at Camelon Education Centre car park from 4:30-6.30pm. This roadshow will be a taster or trial for a longer term roll out of  the Safer Streets Initiative next in spring, so we really do want to encourage local people to come along to this initial Roadshow and  let their voices be heard!

This Safer Streets Roadshow is a trial run for rolling out this scheme on a bigger and more sustained basis next spring. It is therefore important from my perspective to ascertain the best ways and means of engaging with local people: about their local issues, who needs to be there, where are the best locations to hold the sessions, what are the most significant issues and what are the best methods to engage with the wider community, who are not engaging and how can we better organise the Safer Streets Initiative so that it is relevant to everyone no matter their circumstances, age, interests, or aspirations. The success of this approach is reliant upon local people coming forward to express their opinions, and views and describe their aspirations, ideas, and visions for making the local community a safer and a positive place to live, in short: we require  local participation and a willingness to get involved.      

The Partners  who will be there:

Local Community organisations will also be in attendance including:

  • Tidycleangreen Community Group
  • Tamfourhill Community Hub & Tenants and Residents Organisation
  • Camelon Education Centre

I very much look forward to meting with you on Thursday afternoon, please remember everybody is there to listen and where possible support new activities and in partnership to take effective action.

community

National #CarFreeDay

Reallocation of Street Space and safer use of our neighbourhoods

not a car to be seen

To acknowledge last weeks national #CarFreeDay I thought it was worthwhile to revisit this Blog from exactly one year ago in September 2021.

Traffic and roads is one of the local community safety themes with car usage and a lack of safe crossing locations being a notable concern for the community. During the COVID lockdown people have enjoyed taking to the streets on foot, bicycle, skateboard and scooter and the clean air and quieter roads have had many health and well being benefits. The development of our local community safety strategy will be required to create and sustain this new social and health positivity. A possible and very practical means of achieving this would be for Camelon and Tamfourhill to become Low Traffic Neighbourhoods. This may mean roads being closed for periods of the day, for example outside local schools so that overtime there is a culture change where we no longer expect there to be motor vehicles within a given distance from any school. As the wearing of seat belts and drink driving are no longer considered to be sociably acceptable so will the presence of cars near schools be expected or allowed. The benefits are many , the safety of our children and young people and a reduction on the school car run and its environmental damage, healthier parents and children as walking and cycling become the new school run.

Consider how you and your family could benefit from a living in a Low Traffic Neighbourhood.

In my role as community safety engager I have been invited to participate in regular multi agency discussions chaired by the Leader of Falkirk Council Cecil Meiklejohn , this will put various local community safety issues onto the agenda and in particular the issue of road safety and traffic management will be a priority consideration for this Group. As always my focus will be to put the community at the front and centre of any new safety initiatives, so please watch this space for opportunities to be involved with shaping particular plans and actions.

Often our problems are ones of perception and if we change the view then we can change the narrative. I therefore would propose that instead of putting up big aggressive signs that say a road or street is closed that we put up cheerful signs that exclaim the road or street is open to : walking, cycling, skateboarding , wheel chair access and just about any form of sports, games and exercise, this below is the kind of signage that I am talking about:

My colleague Dan was recently highlighting the Road Safety Trust who will provide funds for councils and communities to devise, plan and implement improvements to road safety and this could be one avenue we pursue locally in order to improve road and traffic safety.

I want to finish this week on a high note and ask you to consider what it might be like if we began to transform our neighbourhood into a Low Traffic neighbourhood. On the 15th October we will launch our first #tidycleangreen pop up park as part of the Gather and Play event at the Juniors Car park, this will be a strictly no car allowed but all games allowed event, a low traffic neighbourhood in action, please come down and have a look and enjoy the space in a creative, safe and green way.

Share this:

community

“When I heard the storm and looked out, I made haste to join it” John Muir

I have been involved in recent discussions about the provision of safe play facilities for younger children and families and this has become an emerging theme in relation to the local community safety agenda. This matter will be raised again over the coming weeks and will be significant in relation to the Gather and Play Event which is scheduled for the CJFC car park and surrounding area on 15th October 2021. I will be writing a detailed blog about this event nearer the time but for now I thought it was worthwhile to look back to a section from a previous blog where I was promoting the importance of outdoor learning and play for children and the need for our communities to have safe play spaces

This is a very important community facility: Do we require more play parks like this ?

John Muir the Scottish conservationist and an advocate of children’s play and exploration in the wildness of the outdoors and who I have quoted in the title of this article knew the value and necessity for younger people to engage fully with and explore their natural environment. Post Covid I believe we need to be championing the cause for greater outdoor learning for children and families and acknowledge the healing power of the outdoors. There are a variety of local opportunities where young people could potentially better engage with their outdoor environment and where they could recapture a sense of wildness and freedom which is uniquely gained from unstructured and unsupervised play in the great outdoors.   

If we consider the landscape of our outdoor parks, open spaces, and common grounds in Tamfourhill and Camelon and then ask, are they safe and conducive to allowing our children and young people to explore, take calculated risks and bond with their peers and allow them to affirm with the natural world, and if the answer is, they are not, then they must be a local community safety concern. This perspective was echoed in the community safety survey and has been highlighted in Focus groups and with some of the agencies that I have met with, rubbish, fly tipping, detritus, drug use and Anti-social behaviour have all been sited as reasons why our open spaces and common grounds might not be considered safe. Another historical factor at play here has been the steady erosion of available open spaces for children to play. In Scotland since the industrial revolution children have one ninth of the roaming room they had in earlier generations. Childhood is losing its ancient commons of woodlands, parks, and heaths and with the modern fixation with using technology, devices and computer screens that alienation from the natural outdoor world has been further accentuated. Play for children has become enclosed indoors whilst outdoors signs and messaging bark at children like vicious guard dogs: NO CYCLING, NO SKATEBOARDING, NO BALL GAMES, NO SWIMMING, PRIVATE KEEP OUT!!!! These mantras require to be challenged and this is touched upon through a current Project that is being carried out by my colleague and commissioned community artist Mark Bleakley called “All Games Allowed” and this project will be an important part of the Gather and Play event taking place next month at the CJFC Car park. Needless to say it turns the No ball games allowed approach on its head and creates a contrary safe space where younger children’s street games in public spaces are positively encouraged . I will return again to this activity and wider event nearer the time.

Easter Hill a children’s wilderness amongst the houses

In the months ahead it makes considerable sense to be encouraging greater outdoor experiences, for us all, but especially for our children and young people. I know there will be genuine concerns that leaving children unsupervised in open and wild spaces is far to risky and increases stress levels for parents and family members. It would however be legitimate to ask the question the other way around, can we afford not to allow and encourage this in the post COVID world? There is a balancing act required but for certain the wellbeing and mental recovery of children and young people must be the critical and determining factor. The safety of our open spaces must be a local community safety concern and the provision of safe play facilities for families and children and priority.

“As part of a wider recovery
process, children should be
encouraged and supported to spend
time outdoors, playing with other
children and being physically active,”
say Play First UK. “This is not an
either-or decision. Social connection
and play offer myriad learning
opportunities and are positively
associated with children’s academic
attainment and literacy.”

community

Creating safer spaces in Camelon and Tamfourhill

Family fun in the park as part of the community safety streetwork engagement programme

All good on the streets and parks of Camelon and Tamfourhill :

As I have described  in my recent community safety blog: , https://opcamelontamfourhill.co.uk/2021/07/13/community-streetwork-and-community-safety/

I have been taking to the streets in the last couple of months in order to engage with the young people of our local communities , my task has been to listen to their views and experiencers of living locally and to confirm their particular community safety  priorities. Although the main focus of these sessions has been young people, I have also been very fortunate to have met and engaged with local parents. This process  has been very successful and has greatly benefited from a period of hot and sunny weather  and through holding two community cookout sessions in the Nailer Road and Easter Carmuirs Parks. In this respect I would like to thank Dave Park who has volunteered his time and his considerable outdoor cooking skills which have significantly contributed to the success of these street and park based family and young person engagement sessions.  

I will off course be collating all the conversations that I have had into  a coherent report and will be making a number of recommendations and proposals about how the community and partner agencies can work together to develop appropriate local youth provisions and create new opportunities which will contribute to making the  community safer. Through my street presence I have been supporting young people to complete the local youth survey and have also been facilitating some snapshots about young peoples understanding of the risks around consuming alcohol and using a wishing tree to assist young people and families to imagine how aspects of the community like Easter Carmuirs Park could be further developed in the future. I can’t make these aspirations happen, but we can work together to form a plan of action and ,most importantly we must be able to get local people involved, including the youth of the area, as without local people coming forward to support these aspirations, we will not be able to translate them into reality. There is no money or resources currently available so the reality is that the community will need to be organised and prepared to roll up their sleeves if these wishes are to ever be realised.  As things stand this is the beginning of a process , a  conversation that will hopefully lead to community action which will produce tangible outcomes that will contribute to making the community a safer, happier, and more attractive place to live.

I have been really impressed by the willingness of the younger members of the community to come forward and make really good suggestions about new facilities and activities and how we can make the local area a better and safer place for local young people and their families.  Many of these ideas revolve around our local parks and the facilities and activities which could be provided from them and the tone  of this has been enthusiastic, positive, and constructive. There are  clearly big challenges out there and I will be endeavouring to involve the key agencies in partnership with the local community to begin a  development process which will deliver in the long term a safer community.

An alcohol snapshot for young people

The Plan going forward:

I will be continuing with the Streetwork approach over the next few months , the weather may not be as good as I have enjoyed over the recent weeks and the nights will be fair drawing in , however  where possible and practical I aim to continue with this street-based approach to community engagement and in the furtherance of delivering the community safety strategy. Local youth provision is a key local community safety  concern, so I need to ensure that young people are fully involved and empowered to shape that provision and that the community has the capacity and capability to support future local youth activities.  This therefore is an ongoing process and I hope to be able to support some new local activities  over the winter months and I will be actively looking to involve local volunteers with any such developments , so watch this space for new opportunities to get involved.

During the October school holidays I intend to have some young people involved with a community safety activity day which will involve a litter pick  sponsored by McDonalds Restaurant on the Glasgow Road in Camelon , the participating young people will have their lunch provided at McDonalds and in the afternoon, they will get to carry out a paddle pick up on  canoes on the canal and led by Scottish canals.  Please get in touch if you know any young people 11-16 years old who would like to take part in this community safety activity day. The October week will conclude on Friday 15th October with a community event being held at the CJFC car park , the Gather and Paly, Safe Place Making Day will include a pop up park, children’s games and some creative workshops, there will also be food and refreshments  available, I will go into this community event in greater detail in a future community safety blog,  I can however announce that this  this day will be open to all local people and is part of a wider project to make that specific location safer and of better use to the local community.

If you are interested in these events or the young peoples community safety day in October please get in touch with myself at communitysafetyengager@tamfourhilltro.co.uk or 07391524528 or leave a comment in the box below and I will get back to you ASAP. Regards John


 [JH1]

community

Understanding Anti Social Behaviour

One of the biggest challenges I face as the Community Safety Engager will be reassuring people that for most of the time, they are safe and to reduce their anxiety and fear about crime and who is considered to be responsible for causing crime within the local community. The community safety survey found that 64% of respondents felt that the fear of crime and the need for reassurance was a noticeable and fairly significant problem in the local areas.

Which group of young people are Anti Social ?

In November 2020 the Scottish Community Safety Network, published a significant piece of research. ‘The Scottish Picture of Antisocial Behaviour (ASB)’ report, produced by Robyn Bailey, Social Researcher for the Scottish Government, who was commissioned to research into ASB in terms of how common it is, which types are most common, who is engaging in it and what is driving it. I know many people cannot be bothered with facts and figures; but it is in my view worth pondering over some of Robyn Baileys findings, as they are revealing and, in some respects, consistent with many local peoples experiences. However, when we look at the national picture this is suggesting that problems with ASB are actually falling.

The research found that Levels of ASB have decreased over the past 10 years and the public have noticed this decline in their areas, nevertheless, those living in the most deprived areas, in socially rented housing and in large urban areas, as well as younger people, are more likely to perceive ASB issues in their area. The consultation work I carried out in 2020 echoed these concerns and I noted a high level of concern about the connection between poverty, lack of opportunities and the very local levels of ASB. It would therefore not be unreasonable to conclude that if we do not address poverty and inequality then the same local neighbourhoods will continue to suffer from disproportionately higher levels of ASB

The next observation is that although youth crime rates in Scotland are falling, the percentage of people who view young people hanging around on the streets as ‘problematic’ has continued to grow (Neary et al 2013) This seems to be due to stereotyping of young people congregating in public, which leaves them in a difficult position: just being young and hanging about can make these youngsters seem to be unfairly criminalised and often treated like modern day folk devils. This process over time leads people to think that groups of young people hanging about is in itself a form off ASB. If the levels of ASB are actually decreasing as the research is suggesting then a significant part of feeling safe has to be about changing some peoples perceptions of what young people are actually doing when they hang about in groups. They are often just socialising and not actually involved with ASB and the research would seem to support this observation.

Consider how we stigmatise groups of young people who hang about the streets and then how the Mosquito is used to scare them away, a bit like how farmers might use ultra sound to scare of vermin. Is this an appropriate response to the needs and interests of our young people ? Have a “listen to the video”

As always, the challenge is in responding to these circumstances in ways that are effective, and which bring about change for the better. The research finds that in reality ASB is more often caused by people in their thirties and not teenagers, and the most common ASB is unwanted and intrusive noise. The best course of action that is suggested will require the community and agencies to try and correct these false historic perceptions. The recommendation is that we need to adopt community-led approaches to tackling ASB. My role therefore as community safety engager should be key and central to facilitating, engaging, and supporting the community to develop responses and opportunities which will have the best chance of success. Firstly, we need to understand the causes of ASB and then we will have a far better chance of successfully reducing that negative behaviour. The solutions might be practical, for example excessive noise might be remedied through improving wall insulation and having more effective sound proofing in the housing stock. Another pertinent example might be about developing new local youth services that are appropriate to their needs and interests. In areas of low income and with high incidence of poverty and deprivation then access to local sports and leisure facilities may need to improve and the barrier of cost be removed. Similarly unresolved mental health issues and ongoing substance dependency need to be tacked at their route causes as opposed to tackling their symptoms and the social and criminal consequences of these addictions and negative behaviours.

Finally, we need to address the perceptions of ASB and who engages in it and acknowledge that this is often influenced by stereotypes and reinforced through the media and the creation of moral panics. The responses to the local community safety priorities will require us to get behind these stereotyped labels, better understand the causes of people’s behaviours and attitudes and then as a community work together to facilitate successful sustainable solutions. One of the strap lines of Neighbourhood Watch Scotland is “We all need to look out for each other” and in that statement lies the core of an effective community safety strategy

The Picture of Anti-Social Behaviour in Scotland can be found at:https://www.safercommunitiesscotland.org/new-research-the-scottish-picture-of-anti-social-behaviour/

community

Living Streets are safer streets, so please pop down to a local pop up park, they are coming soon to an open space near you.

So, what would we consider to be a living street? What gives it life and makes it a vibrant, safe, and a sociable place which we all enjoy being about? I thought that I would revisit a previous blog that looked at living streets and in particular the creation of pop up parks. I am very pleased to announce that the new Tidy, Clean and Green Community Group have been awarded £1500 through the Falkirk Council Community Choices Programme towards the cost of setting up Pop up parks throughout Camelon and Tamfourhill. So lets reflect back upon the context and vision for having these provisions as part of the process of making our local community a safer, happier and more attractive place to live. My previous blog began with highlighting some of the key features and attributes which can contribute to making our streets alive and safe for everyone in the neighbourhood.

A planned location for our first local Pop-up Park

The Covid lockdown has offered us a glimpse into a more greener living environment, there were less motor vehicles and with their decrease in noise and exhaust fumes, we experienced an increase in people and families going out for walks and a similar increase in people travelling by wheels, including bikes, skateboards and scooters. The air was cleaner, the birds chirping much more noticeably, and the grass and undergrowth were left to grow, flourish and bloom without their regular cutting and maintenance.  The notion of prioritising pedestrians over cars is seldom a popular approach to designing our streets and shopping areas, people like the convenience of shopping by car and often travelling to shopping centres on the outside of their communities. This however has a negative impact upon the quality of our own streets and in the decrease of local shops catering for local needs and which are often owned and run by local people. The priority when planning and managing our streets always seems to be about how we move cars or motor vehicles about, and marginalised groups are often discriminated against and consequently are excluded from our streets and public places. This effects our older people , those with physical and unseen disabilities and other vulnerable groupings who are discouraged and alienated from walking their streets , going to local shops or hanging about socialising due to the intimidating designs of our streets and the dominance of the motor car. I recently was made aware of the Living Streets Scotland organisation and their Walking connects Project. I learned from them about how our public places often act as barriers to vulnerable groups like those with disabilities and how these so-called public spaces can make individuals and groups feel unsafe. I was made aware of how peoples human rights were being undermined and how they were being discriminated against and in fact how few people actually were aware of how their social spaces were being used to oppress and alienate them.

https://www.livingstreets.org.uk/about-us/scotland

Our communal spaces can be made safer and less intimidating if we include certain features, for example public seating. This provides a resting spot for those who might not be fully fit due to age or illness. Install benches with some plants and shrubs then we have created a comfortable social area, people will feel safer and they know they can rest and not be harassed and stressed as they go about their daily business. Clearly, we need to ensure that local people are involved with the design of their public spaces and this must be an inclusive process. Those whose needs are currently discriminated against need to be brought into this process as a priority and they will require support and positive encouragement to engage and participate effectively with that design process.

We often think back with nostalgia to when we could safely play football in the street, children were not at risk from motor cars and it was commonplace for people to gather and socialise at street corners. The motor car is here to stay so the main challenge now in making our streets alive and safe is how we manage the tension that exists between cars and people. How do we negotiate a positive outcome from this conflict which could convert our streets back to being the focus of our communities? A solution might be to agree days when cars are not allowed on certain streets and these spaces can then be converted into social and community spaces. This approach has been successfully developed and deployed by the Living Streets Organisation, with their pop up parks and Parklets. This can then be progressed through including mobile sports equipment and possibly a performance area and providing a temporary meeting construction with seats and cover from the weather.  

What is a Pop-Up Park ?

This sets the scene for the arrival of Pop-up Parks in Camelon and Tamfourhill, the first will be at the grass area at the car park at the Camelon Juniors Football ground on Friday 15th October, and this is also going to involve a very creative community taste and try day, I will off course explain all that’s going to be happening at this community safety event and how you and your family can get involved within this blog over the coming weeks.

community

A wonderful weekend of family activities on the canal and within the community of Camelon and Tamfourhill marks the launch of the new Tidy , Clean and Green Community Group.

Councillors Cecil Meiklejohn and David Alexander and Gillian McKay MSP join members of the new Tidy, Clean and Green Community Group after their tree planting session.

Saturday was a family clear up on the canal  between the Falkirk Wheel and the Lock 16, the sun shone, and the wind blew at times, and the hard work of paddling and picking up rubbish was carried out with skill and through family teamwork. The canal is a central artery to the community, and it has been  so very positive over the last 5 months to have involved local families, young people, school classes, youth  and community groups who have all contributed to the upkeep of both the water and the towpath. The Our Place Camelon  and Tamfourhill Project will  continue to focus community development and regeneration around the canal network and encourage our Partners and  local people to utilise the canal corridor to its maximum potential in order to  facilitate new leisure, social and economic opportunities. I would like to thank Great Place Falkirk for the funding to support the canal clear ups over the last 5 months and Scottish Canals for providing quality instruction on the water and providing  support services for the towpath litter picks. It really has been a joint initiative and an excellent partnership approach with Falkirk Council  Waste Services teaming up with the Community Safety Engager to deliver dynamic workshops which encouraged  participation and learning about the  environmental impact of littering and fly-tipping.  The critically important factor was that the  local community was at the front and centre of this environmental programme, with several young people gaining their Saltire Challenge Awards for volunteering from the Scottish Government and all participants receiving a certificate of achievement for their contributions to keeping the Canal; Tidy, Clean and Green.

Sundays activities were based around the Brown Street Park in Camelon where the new Tidy, Clean and Green Group hosted a tree planting session which represents the first phase of transforming this old play park into a community growing space. The day however started with a community litter pick  which began in the Park itself and which also covered many of the surrounding streets. We were joined by a  staff group from the McDonalds Restaurant on Glasgow Road and  by Councillor Dennis Goldie and they really have made  a massive difference to the Park and the surrounding streets that they  so thoroughly  covered.

The main event of Sunday was the planting of the 20 trees which had been provided by the Woodland Trust. We were joined by Councillors Cecil Meiklejohn, David Alexander, and our local MSP Gillian McKay, who each  got a hold of a spade and assisted with the tree planting. The local volunteers from the new Group of Chris, Nicholla, Arya, Mathew, Angie, and Nathan  were all happy to see their new community group launched with a weekend of environmental endeavours which will be the beginning of a journey to make Camelon and Tamfourhill a Tidier, Cleaner and Greener  place to live and enjoy.   

community

A Weekend of Community Clean up and Greening activities for Camelon and Tamfourhill to launch the new Tidy, Clean and Green Community Group.

The Tidy, Clean & Green Campaign developed as a local response to the Community safety Strategies priorities for Camelon and Tamfourhill. Over the last year local people and community organisations were consulted about their priorities for making Camelon and Tamfourhill a safer, happier, and more attractive place to live. A significant theme and recurring concern was the level of litter, fly-tipping and dog pooh that was  having a really negative impact upon the local area and contributing to the spoiling  and deterioration of the local green environment. The community response to this was to get out and about and start clearing up the community through regular litter picks and to involve local community groups and the schools with this action. The wider plan was to transform some of the notorious local grot spots into community growing projects and to look to establish a series of Pop-up Parks at various open spaces throughout Camelon and Tamfourhill. Local volunteers have stepped up to the mark and faced these challenges through direct community action and with the support of the Our Place Camelon and Tamfourhill Project the volunteers have now been forming themselves into the Tidy, Clean and Green constituted community group.

Introductions and welcomes at the Falkirk Wheel

This new Community Action Group will be officially launched this weekend of Saturday 14th & Sunday 15th August with a programme of environmental activities, Leader of Falkirk Council Cecil Meiklejohn will officiate over the launch which will also be attended and supported by our local MP John McNally.

There are opportunities for any interested  people and groups to get involved with the weekends launch programme: 

Places are still available for this Saturdays family paddle pick up

Saturday 14th August: The Family  Canal Clear up Day from the Falkirk Wheel to Lock  16

The last in the series of the Our Place Camelon & Tamfourhill Great Place Falkirk funded community canal clear ups. If your family would like to take part then please get in touch with myself John R Hosie , the Community Safety Engager on 07391524528 or communitysafetyengager@tamfourhilltro.co.uk, advance booking is essential. You can take part as 1 adult/parent/carer with 2 of your children, they must be 8 years and older for the canoe part of the day although there are no age  restrictions for the canal towpath litter pick and the workshop session. A great way to end the school holidays and enjoy a day out and about around lock 16, the canal and the Falkirk Wheel. There is no cost to taking part and whoever does take part will be making a valuable contribution to keeping our community tidy, clean, and green . You can link with our Facebook event for further information and details at:

https://www.facebook.com/events/4273201196059503?ref=newsfeed

Sunday 15 August: Community Litter Pick and Tree Planting session.

Please come along and lend a hand this Sunday at 12 noon in the Brown Street Park

The Litter Pick starts at 12 noon ,and the meeting place is the old Brown Street Park in Camelon, and  we are being joined by the staff from the McDonalds Restaurant on Glasgow Road, Camelon who are coming along to show their staffs and the  restaurants commitment to keeping the local area #tidycleangreen.  The  Tree Planting  will start from around 1pm also at the  Brown Street Park.   Councillor Meiklejohn will be joining us so if you would also like an afternoon out and about in the fresh air then please come and join  us at the Brown Street Park for the litter pick and the tree planting. We are very grateful to the support we receive from Keep Scotland Beautiful, Falkirk Council Waste Services, Woodland Trust and the litter picking support of the local McDonalds Restaurant.