coach, Our Place, Support

Community Coach Announcement

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 20 January 2022

This is a transcript of the video shared on social media today. If you’ve landed here and would rather listen in, the video is also inserted at the foot of this blog.


Hi there.  Dan here, your Community Coach.  I’m bringing you a very different blog this week as it’s me talking directly to you.  I have something important to share so wanted to do it personally rather than just type it out.  (Although you’ve chosen to read this instead so ignore that bit!! To be honest, I wouldn’t listen to me either!!)

So what is this important piece of news? Well, quite simply, I am here to announce that, with regret, the time has come for me to move on from this role with Our Place Camelon and Tamfourhill.  An opportunity has presented itself to me which I pressed into and found it to be of interest to me on many levels.  So I will be finishing up as your Community Coach at the end of February.

I have genuinely loved every second of the last 21 months as I’ve walked alongside you, the lovely people of Camelon and Tamfourhill.  The time will come to review things properly but for now, the highlights have been:

  • the creation of some new resident led organisations, especially Tidy Clean Green,
  • helping bring the THRIVE to Keep Well programme to the area, supporting and encouraging local women through that,
  • Supporting community growing activities in collaboration with residents and organisations in the area, including securing funding for community tool sheds and planting trees and bulbs in the area,
  • Bringing a bicycle repair scheme to the area that will be kicking off again soon with a new local group,
  • Helping existing local groups access relevant funding and other development support,
  • Facilitating the Fun in the Park event in Easter Carmuirs Park,
  • Bringing new training opportunities to local people,
  • Helping people with CVs and Job Applications and now seeing them in work,
  • Raising the profile of the area both with local authorities and organisations, but also nationally, to help a move towards bringing positive change.

There has been so much more but those stand out for me just now. 

Of course, there are disappointments as well.  Many things are left undone (either not started or paused midway through) and some groups have not moved forwards. With a quick scan around, many will say that nothing has changed and you could be forgiven for thinking that way.  But in collaboration with John as we work alongside you, so much foundational change has happened and the future does look brighter – it just might take longer to get there than anyone hoped.  Of course, Covid hasn’t helped us and it’s been frustrating to say the least not to be able to do many of the things we wanted to.  But we must not be downhearted.  There is so much to celebrate and, because I live here, I will continue to celebrate all that is good around here. 

After the end of February I’m not going to disappear completely – it’s not in my nature to do so. (Sorry!!)  There’s a couple of things that I’ll put my weight behind as a community volunteer but more on that at the appropriate time.  I cannot remain in this community and not get involved.  Hopefully others of you will continue to step forward and get involved in being the change.  We cannot sit back and wait for things to happen.  Unless we throw our collective skills and experiences together into the ring, the area will just stand still.  

So there you have it.  That’s the news for now.  We’ll update you on what the plans are for a replacement for me in due course.  Maybe there’s an opportunity for one of you to get involved?  In the meantime, I will continue at pace to fulfil what is required of me.  If you have any suggestions, questions, or need some support or guidance with something for you or your organisation to develop, then get in touch in the usual ways. 

Take care.  Stay safe.  And keep getting involved.

Until next time…….

Dan Rous
Community Coach
07444 873151
communitycoach@tamfourhilltro.co.uk

Video version of the above text


coach, community

New Year New Start

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 13 January 2022

Welcome to the first Community Coach blog of 2022. Another year working in this role with restrictions still hanging around us, but another year of opportunity for me to work alongside you, the lovely people of Camelon and Tamfourhill.

I know this blog is coming out almost 2 weeks in to the new year, but how are you feeling as we enter 2022? Is it still “same old same old” as far as you’re concerned? Same stuff just another day? Or are you looking to make a positive change this year however small that may be?

If we’re to believe the hype, moving into a new year is a the time of reinventing yourself and living by mantras such as “new year, new me.” You may have set some new years resolutions or made a conscious move to do something new or stop doing something. You might choose to get fit(ter) or healthier? You might choose to take up something new or to give up something that isn’t doing you any good.

But what if, instead of completely changing our ways and trying to be someone we aren’t and possibly won’t ever be – which quite often ends in failure – we simply rebuild the foundations within us that may have lost their strength a little bit recently?

All these things that tell us that we should suddenly live a completely new (and demanding) lifestyle the minute the clock strikes midnight on Hogmanay are not sustainable for our mental health. Neither is setting long-term goals without any structure or progress markers. You want to get fitter but how, by when, and to what extent? Getting fitter could be anywhere from going for a short walk a couple of times a week to running a marathon. You need a structure and you need points to celebrate along the way.

I don’t know about you, but my social media timelines are full of ads for January fitness challenges: run this far for this charity this month; do so many miles for this charity; give this up this month. I’m not saying anything bad about the charities involved here, but if you’ve not engaged in physical activity like this before, this is probably one of the worst months to do so with the miserable weather and dark nights. This, I believe, is part of the reason why new years resolutions – especially those to do with fitness – are unsustainable and completely counter productive. Very quickly in the new year we reach a point of failure and if your mental health isn’t strong enough, you can easily be dragged down – potentially even to lower than you were before.

So, may I suggest that instead of completely reinventing ourselves, how about we just take small and trackable steps towards a new way that will bring benefit to us? The best way to do this is simply to slowly and consciously build new habits and routines into our life, and allow plenty of time to rest and recover too. This is more than about starting or stopping something. This is about you taking control of you.

The graphic below, courtesy of http://www.positivepsychology.com, shares some really helpful and important strategies to help you to reclaim your power in 2022. Stripping away the jargon here, what that really means is putting things in place that will make the most of all your communication, standards, and most importantly, your mental wellbeing.


Of course, just because we’ve come into a New Year doesn’t not necessarily mean that you have to change anything. It also isn’t the only time that you can make changes. Power and control of ourselves can drop at any given moment but crucially, you can reclaim it at any given time too. But sometimes, just the idea of a fresh beginning, whenever in the year that might be, can just give us the motivation we need to actually take action.

So if you want to make a change, however small, how can you do that? Simply, set some goals. That’s it! But make them specific and easily measured. Moving aside of the stereotypical healthy stuff, maybe you want to attend a new group. What kind of thing is that about? Where is it and how often will you go? Maybe you want to take on some new learning? What about? How will you do that – online or in person? What will that lead to? You see the thing I’m getting at here? For both of those things there are points you can celebrate. Signing up for the group or course – celebrate. Attending a first session or lesson – celebrate. Going back for the second part – celebrate. And so on. Reward yourself at each milestone and if you slip up, simply go back to the previous milestone and rebuild from there. That’s okay. And crucially, it’s not about starting right from the beginning again which can be so demoralising.

People much cleverer than me, tell me that when setting goals, the Greek Philosopher Aristotle believed that it doesn’t even matter if we achieve them or not. He believed that the active pursuit of a goal or virtue is the very definition of happiness, not the end state.

There is some debate about this statement as probably, most of us set goals that we want actually want to make happen and for that reason, motivation is critical which is where the milestone celebrations come back into play. As long as you know what you want, my advice is to set goals whenever you like. Set them the right way, by exploring your own powerful why, and make sure they speak to your values. According to the experts (people like you and me), that’s what matters most.

If you want to explore any of this further, or need some help in setting and being held accountable to your goals, then I’d love to walk this journey with you. Give me a shout and we’ll chat through your options so that I can help you to find your way to reach your potential in 2022.

Until next time….

Dan Rous
Community Coach
07444 873151
communitycoach@tamfourhilltro.co.uk

Christmas, community, Mental Health, resilience

Tidings of Comfort and Joy?

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 16 December 2021

I love Christmas. But not everyone does. Infact, a YouGov survey in 2019 revealed that 1 in 7 people don’t like Christmas. And to be honest, I’ve probably had a love/hate relationship with it at different times in my life too.

I spent most of my life as part of the Salvation Army, including playing in the band. This of course meant copious amounts of playing of Christmas Carols on cold street corners or occasionally we got to go indoors. It was always fun at the start of the month but slowly waned as the month went on! One highlight back home in Canterbury though was the Christmas Eve Community Carol Singing in the town centre which, on a good night, would have around 5000 people in attendance. However I’d felt over the rest of the month, I always got lifted by this event. A little part of me still misses this workload – but I soon get over it!

In later life, I was running a Furniture ReUse Project linked to a Homeless Resettlement Unit. It was my privilege to give the team a couple of weeks off at Christmas. However, it became clear that whilst this seemed a great gesture, it was not well received. This project was a lifeline for my team and what I was sending them off to was usually 2 weeks of solitude. I felt bad that it never crossed my mind. So before long, I organised that if they wanted, they could go into the warehouse and do some cleaning and basic maintenance work. Christmas had become a negative time for them – reminding them often of what they had lost in their lives. They needed to keep busy and not be left to wallow in their own company.

During this time, my view of Christmas changed considerably. While understanding more about the team I was supporting, I also got married and became a dad. I had two opposite extremes of the season. Avoiding loneliness versus childhood amazement.

So, to quote from the carol God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, do you experience “tidings of comfort and joy” this Christmastime? Or do you take more inspiration from Charles Dickens’ creation of Ebeneezer Scrooge with a touch of Bah Humbug? Or maybe you’re just wavering somewhere in the middle. Wherever you are, it’s important to recognise that not everyone is in the same place as you.

I’ve mentioned Camerados in this blog before and for this week’s blog, I’m actually handing the rest of the space over to them. Their CEO Maff Potts, a former colleague of mine in Salvation Army homelessness work, has just written a fantastic blog entitled (in his usual mildly eccentric way) “Why we all need to be a little alien this Christmas”. Maff describes his “complicated relationship with Christmas”. He says “it’s a time of year when I remember witnessing the very best feeling of belonging – and yet all the noise, the Christmas fanfare everywhere you look, is rarely about that magic.” The blog is a fantastic read that focuses on the pressures on all our Mental Health this Christmas time and how we can get through it together by simply being more human. Please take the time to read what Maff has to say – I promise you won’t regret it. You can get to his blog by clicking on the image below.

Until next time…..

Dan Rous
Community Coach
07444 873151
communitycoach@tamfourhilltro.co.uk

camelon, collaboration, community, tamfourhill

Your Community Calendar is here

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 9 December 2021

Over recent months, we’ve been working with Camelon Arts on a new exciting project that I’ve wanted to do for ages. With the help of local people, we’re bringing a Camelon and Tamfourhill Community Calendar to the market!

So what is this all about?

Regular readers will know how I love to celebrate our area – both the scenery and the people. There are many ways to do this – lots of which have been impacted by Covid of course. But a calendar has been on my mind for a while as a great way to showcase our area throughout a whole year and involve local people too. Thankfully, our friends at Camelon Arts agreed!

So a little while ago, a shout went out for you to submit photos of a location, view, group or anything else from Camelon or Tamfourhill. To be honest, we didn’t get a huge amount which is a little disappointing, however we’d already decided that everyone who sent photos in would get one of their entries included in the calendar. What we did get though was a brilliant selection of images and they fill the year really nicely with more than one for each month. A sincere thank you to the people and organisations that submitted photos for this project. (You’ll have all had an email from Aniela at Camelon Arts regarding the launch.)

A really special touch for the calendar is that one of the first entries submitted came from Joe Bruce (aka Joe fae Kemlin) who sadly passed away recently. Joe was very well known in the area and latterly ran the Camelon in Pictures and Memories Facebook group. So his entry is included with the addition of his life dates, and his relative is coming along to the launch to accept a copy of the calendar in his memory. For me, this makes this even more special.

To make things even better for a local project (is that even possible – yes, yes it is!), Camelon Arts discovered a recently graduated, Camelon based, Graphic Designer by the name of Jakub Bieganski who was brought in to pull this project together. I’ve seen a preview and it looks great. I can’t wait for you to see it.

So when can we get it, I hear you cry! Well, let me tell you!

It is being launched this coming Saturday – 11 December – with a mini tour across the area, followed by some local sale points. Camelon Arts have coordinated this and have also got some free hot chocolate for you, to soften the blow of having to do all this outdoors! Here’s the details:

We will launch the calendar in the car park of Camelon Community Centre between 11:30am and 12:30pm, then move to Camelon Juniors Social Club main entrance between 1:30pm and 2:30pm. Finally, we’ll be outside Tamfourhill Community Hub between 4pm and 5pm.

The calendar costs just £5 and for ease on the day, we ask you to bring cash only please. All profits will go towards a new community fund that we will manage, to support local groups in the future. All the info on that will come in the new year. But that really immerses this project into the local community as it’s designed by a local person with input from local people to be sold in the local area to benefit local projects. (Did I say local enough there?!)

If you can’t make it to any of the launch locations on Saturday, the calendar will also be available to purchase from Saturday until early January (or earlier if they sell out!) at:

  • Graeme Pharmacy, 275 Main Street
  • The Falkirk Wheel, Visitor Centre Gift Shop

Thank you to these locations for taking this local calendar into their stores to widen the reach. But if you can’t get there either, do message me so we can help you get a copy.

So there you have it. Our first Camelon and Tamfourhill Community Calendar. Hopefully not the last either, so get taking more photos ready to submit for the 2023 edition! I look forward to seeing some of you this Saturday.

Until next time….

Dan Rous
Community Coach
07444 873151
communitycoach@tamfourhilltro.co.uk

camelon, community, funding, tamfourhill

Community Choices voting is back

Earlier this year, Falkirk Council launched Community Choices, where they have taken a percentage of their budget and opened it up to communities to apply for things in their area, and then to vote on what gets the money.

Now it’s back for what they’re calling “Pilot Phase 2” and the Small Grant fund is now open for your votes. Projects or activities have been able to apply for up to a maximum of £5,000. Once again, voting is per local authority ward (so Camelon is in Ward 6 and Tamfourhill is in Ward 7) and your vote will only count if you live in the specific area (this will be verified by your postcode). Also, because of continuing restrictions, everything is being done online and I’ve provided the relevant links below. However, if you know anyone who can’t do this, you or they can contact us to get a paper ballot or to receive support to vote online.  Voting is open until 17 December and then early in the new year it will be the turn of the larger capital fund projects, but I’ll be back with info on those at the appropriate time.

For now, here’s information on the projects seeking your vote right here in our area (in alphabetical order). There are others listed in each ward as the boundaries extend beyond our area, but I have just highlighted the ones either in Camelon or Tamfourhill for obvious reasons. You can vote for up to 3 projects with each vote carrying equal weighting. The project(s) with the most votes will receive the funding they have requested.

Love Falkirk – Pantry Garden – £4,380
Love Falkirk are looking for funding to develop an outside space for our food pantry members and local residents. This space will be used for growing fresh produce for our pantry members to supplement the weekly shopping, along with creating a space where people can come to learn and share gardening knowledge. Alongside the growing space will be an outside seating area where we get together with the local community and offer support and plan for the future.

Tidy Clean and Green – Rubbish Service – £5,000
To operate a free Rubbish Service in Camelon and Tamfourhill as a free service for residents who don’t have a car and can’t get to the dump. People will book by text to have smallish amounts of rubbish picked up by electric cargo bike (light stuff) and electric van (heavier stuff) over two weeks, 4 times a year, during 2022. The volunteer service is green and non-polluting and is designed to get rid of those occasional small mountains of rubbish that everyone has to deal with at some point, when the bins just don’t cut it. This service makes it fairer, cleaner and greener for the many people on low incomes in Camelon to chuck out unwanted junk when the service is operating in February, May, August and November next year.

Tamfourhill Tenants and Residents Association – Outreach Youth Work – £4,050
The proposal is to equip a pod to be utilised for outreach and detached youthwork to use with our local young people across Tamfourhill, Camelon and Bantaskine. The container currently sits at the local park in Tamfourhill. The aim is to engage with young people, whether that is on the street, in a park, in the well-used wooded area or anywhere else. We aim to pilot sessions throughout Tamfourhill, targeted at 10–16-year-olds, the funds will be utilised for equipment and resources including the promotion of the sessions. The sessions will take place at times where local young people can be at risk of engaging in Anti- social behaviour and in turn negatively impacting on an array of community safety issues. The aim is to engage local young people in recreational activities and help support and signpost at an early stage.


Click the links above and follow the instructions. Again, if you have any difficulties or know someone without digital access, please get in touch so we can make sure everyone’s vote can still be registered. Good luck to everyone who has put in an application.

coach, collaboration, community, development, employment, resilience, Support, training

The power of Collaboration

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 25 November 2021

Yesterday morning, as part of my work with the NHS THRIVE to Keep Well programme that we’re piloting in this area, we were thrilled to bring together a number of training and employability partners to advise the participants of the many opportunities that were available to them at whatever level they wanted to be. We set up a Covid safe exhibition area at Camelon Community Centre and the participants were free to chat with the staff from these organisations. We also had some craft activities to help them relax and have something else to do while they either plucked up the courage to go and speak, or reflected on the information they’d been given.

There were many highlights for me in this event. Firstly, I’d forgotten how great it is to actually be in a room with various partners. Covid has taken so much from us over recent times and while I admit that this is one of the more frivolous matters, it was still really good to experience again. Even the partners really valued being able to share and network with each other face to face (behind masks and appropriately distanced of course). And even with the safety measures in place, glancing around the room and hearing the chatter brought feelings of some kind of normality coming back again.

My second highlight was seeing the participants engaging with the partner agencies and getting meaningful, personal advice for their next steps. They were initially nervous but once one of them stepped forward, the others soon followed and the conversations began to flow. Considering the various journeys the participants have been on over the last 13 weeks, this was so heart-warming to see. This is one of the key things that drives me in this job – supporting local people to get the right information, advice and direction to move towards whatever a positive destination looks like for them individually. This is not a one size fits all support. I really do want to get it right for every person.

My final highlight, was the feedback from the partner agencies. All of them spoke of how they quickly got a sense of the progression that the participants had made while being on this programme. They also commented on the genuine desire from the participants to continue this forward movement in the best way possible for them, whether that be more training courses, volunteering, or moving into work. While my fellow facilitators and I can see this for ourselves, it was so good to hear from others – it makes this so worthwhile.

So my thanks to 4 The Benefit of All, Cyrenians (Arnotdale House), Employment and Training Unit, Workers Educational Association, and CVS/Volunteer Falkirk for giving up their morning to come along and support our amazing participants. My hope is that early in the New Year, restrictions will allow us to do a larger event with these partners so more of you can benefit. As they say, watch this space! In the meantime, if you need any support with accessing training or employability support, or are looking to get into volunteering or even a job, then do get in touch and I’ll help and signpost you as appropriate for you. Contact details are below.

Until next time….

Dan Rous,
Community Coach,
07444 873151,
communitycoach@tamfourhill.co.uk

community, development, employment, funding, Support, training

Falkirk’s Funded Job Scheme

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 18 November 2021

Earlier this week I attended an information session led by our friends at the Falkirk Council Employment and Training Unit, regarding a new funded Job scheme for third sector organisations. Todays blog will highlight the relevant information about this scheme so that we can hopefully bring some of these funded jobs into Camelon and Tamfourhill.

The Basics

In response to the economic impact of the covid-19 pandemic, the Scottish Government has awarded funding to encourage third sector organisations to offer paid work opportunities to people aged over 25 years, who have been unemployed for over 12 months and have additional barriers to employment. While the scheme is for all over Scotland, it is split down to local authority areas so this information relates purely to Falkirk. Their funding is enough to support 57 jobs which is a great opportunity, so let’s get to the detail.

Employee Eligibility

  • Participants must live in Scotland and have the right to live and work in the UK.
  • They must not be currently be engaged in employment, training or education.
  • They must be 25+, been out of work for 12 months of more, and be facing barriers to securing employment. This may be from a lack of relevant skills, background issues, confidence, transport, child care or other preventative issue.

Scheme Details

  • Start dates must be before 31 March 2022.  The first start can be 22 November 2021 (although considering that is next week, it is unlikely!!)
  • The jobs will be fixed term for 26 weeks no matter when they start between now and March.
  • Terms & Conditions will align with your organisation (including annual leave, sick pay, holiday pay, pension etc).
  • Jobs will be a maximum of 30 hours per week but can be flexible to meet the needs of the individual and organisation, i.e. term time, less hours for longer
  • Each opportunity will attract funding up to a maximum of £10,000 for the host organisation depending on the hours offered.
  • The funding will vary against number of hours/weeks/additional costs associated with delivery/support offered
  • The funding supports certificated training and there is an expectation that all participants will undertake a certificated training course prior to or during the job placement. The Employment and Training Unit can support with this as required.
  • Funding will be provided monthly by Falkirk Council. The official system is for organisations to pay the wages in the first instance and then reclaim in full from Falkirk Council.  However, I know this will be an issue for many organisations so, if payment in arrears is going to be barrier please speak to the team at the Employment and Training Unit who have promised to find a way to make this work.
  • Jobs must be supported by a nominated staff member (mentor) who, in turn, will be supported by a named contact from the Employment and Training Unit.
  • Individual organisations will be responsible for induction and day-to-day management of the participant.
  • Progress will be reviewed regularly with participant and mentor and can be stopped if not working out for either party.
  • Where the placement is successful, additional funding may be available after the 26-week period.  Your named contact at the Employment and Training Unit will help you to investigate this.

Request to organisations

  • Can you identify any opportunities where an additional member of staff would be of benefit within your organisation?
  • These may be entry level positions or something more substantial.
  • Do you know anyone who meets the eligibility criteria who would be interested?

Jobs will be allocated on a first come first served basis so while there’s no immediate rush, also don’t hang about. And if you don’t think you’ll be able to host a placement until later in the scheme, even 31 March, you are still encouraged to apply now, stating your requirements for a start date.

If you can create an opportunity, please contact EmployerEngagement@falkirk.gov.uk at your earliest convenience. If you need any support to consider your options or to apply, then please contact me in the usual way (see below) and I’ll help you through the process.

This is a fantastic opportunity to get an employee with your organisation, fully funded, to help you to grow and support more people in the Camelon and Tamfourhill area. Let’s see how many of these jobs we can bring in.

Until next time…

Dan Rous
Community Coach
07444 873151
communitycoach@tamfourhilltro.co.uk

community

A Two Way Street

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 11 November 2021

In the last few weeks we have passed the half way point in the 3 year funding package that we’re working within. Yes, that’s 18 months that we’ve been doing this stuff here at OPCT. And what a weird 18 months it has been!

Who knew that we would have had to work so long in lockdown and not be able to reach many of you.

Who knew the way the world would go and the restrictions that we’re still under.

But also, who knew that so much good activity would still manage to develop through you lovely people in Camelon and Tamfourhill!

I know there’s still lots to sort out and lots of opportunities to tap into, but I am thrilled to have been able to support individual people and existing organisations, plus support the development of new groups too:

  • I’ve been able to help people put their CV’s together, to access training, volunteering and work.
  • I’ve been able to develop a 1to1 coaching programme and begin to support local people through that.
  • I’ve been able to develop new training opportunities, and bring existing programmes to the area with partner organisations to benefit local people.
  • I’ve worked with existing local groups on developing their skills, strengthening their set up, and accessing funding.
  • I’ve been able to work with aspiring groups, and to bring likeminded people together, to form new exciting organisations who are plugging gaps and creating new opportunities right here in the community.
  • I’ve been able to link us with organisations that can bring benefit to the area including being part of collaborative funding applications and project development.
  • And I’ve been able to raise the profile of Camelon and Tamfourhill locally and nationally, making people in perceived positions of authority (you, the local residents really have the authority) sit up and take notice while I remind them to stop doing things to the community, and actually involve people.

In short, working alongside you has been an absolute joy and privilege – even on the difficult, dark, frustrating days.

One thing stands out to me though, and that relates to where the most successes have come in what we’ve achieved together. The biggest successes have come when people or groups have come to me in the first instance. Now let me clarify that I’m not just sitting back with my feet up waiting for people to come to me! I am proactive in many things and am always looking for opportunities that will benefit the local area. But seriously, the biggest growth has come from the people or organisations who have recognised their needs or had an idea about something, and come to me for help, support or signposting.

Why is this important or special? Because it was their idea – their instigation – they had control.

I’ve regularly talked about being alongside people in this role but also about where the real authority lies in this community. It’s not about me, the council or any other support organisation. The real power lies with you the amazing people of Camelon and Tamfourhill. And when you take hold of an idea and run with it – bringing help in alongside you as needed – then the real magic happens. I’m not saying all the other stuff is a waste of time – far from it – but the biggest leaps have come from those who have taken control of their situation. They’ve not sat and waited for people to come and help them or do things for them. They have taken the bull by the horns and pressed forwards, calling in whatever help they needed to make their ideas a reality.

Now let me be clear – I am always available for anyone and everyone in the area. Whether your group has existed since the dawn of time or is a more recent thing. Whether you have grown up in the area or are new to this patch. Whether you need a lot of help and support or just a bit of directioning. All of you can access my support and many of you are. If anything, this is maybe a bit of a reminder to existing groups that you can call on me to help you. I will check in every now and then but if you need something then ask me! Don’t wait for me to come to you! If I don’t know the answer or can’t personally help, I’m pretty sure I’ll know where to signpost you onwards. You have to act because otherwise, those who can help might not even know you need that help.

So please – ask the questions. Push your agenda. Be bold. In short – you have the permission to take control. This is a two way street so make the most of it. And I look forward to continuing to work alongside you with whatever you need.

Until next time.

Dan Rous,
Community Coach,
07444 873151
communitycoach@tamfourhilltro.co.uk

camelon, community, funding, Our Place, tamfourhill

Community Choices is back!

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 4 November 2021

It is great news that the Falkirk Council Community Choices funding programme is back for Pilot Phase 2. This is where groups can submit applications for funding that the local public vote on to get the cash.

Here’s the summary info, then I’ll give you a bit more info below: Community Choices aims to help clubs, organisations, community groups, and individuals make their local area fairer, healthier, more connected and more inclusive. It gives you the chance to secure public funding to improve your local area and vote to decide how public money is spent. You can apply for up to £5,000 for smaller projects and over £5,000 to get larger projects off the ground.

Small Grants programme (up to £5,000)
This is open for applications now until 19 November. This is a very quick turnaround for this programme but it’s a much easier process than before. It can fund “revenue” items which is things like activity costs, equipment and supplies. This might include but is not limited to:

  • The purchase of small items of furniture or equipment, for example a shelving unit or disabled toilet seat or fridge
  • Signs and display boards
  • Equipment for a sport activity
  • Supplies and materials to deliver an activity
  • Food and supplies as part of an activity
  • Transport costs to enable people to attend

If you received a grant in phase one and would like to apply again for the same project, you can apply for £5,000 LESS what you got first time round.  However, if it is a new project then you can go for the full amount. It’s important to note a key change from last time round is that if you’re a new group, you must have your constitution and bank account in place before applying.

The public vote for the Small Grants Programme will launch online on 26 November and close on 17 December. Once the votes have been checked and verified, successful bids will be notified on 14 January with the funds being paid out shortly after that date.

Place-Based Capital Programme
This is also open for applications now but has a closing date of 7 January. The close proximity of this date to the festive break has been pointed out so this date may be changed. This is a key factor as quotes for work and information from council departments may be required for your application and of course, many places and staff will not be available over the break. I’ll update you on this as I know more.

The programme can be applied to for projects costing a minimum of £5,000. Proposals should outline a clear vision and ambition for a positive future, and should align to the programme’s aims to make your area fairer, healthier, more connected and more inclusive.

There is a budget allocation for each ward as before, but a key change is that a cap has been put in place for applications to avoid projects taking up the whole ward allocation meaning smaller projects miss out. Here are the numbers:

Ward6 (Camelon)7 (Tamfourhill)
Full Budget£347,090£169,312
Maximum application level (60%) £208,254£101,587

With reference to the 60% maximum application, it has been said that just because you can apply for up to 60%, it does not mean you should as the Council are keen to be able to fund as many projects as possible.  Of course, at the end of the day, it all comes down to the public vote.   

There was a bit of an issue in Phase 1 where projects or organisations that had an impact wider than just one ward could only be voted on by people from an individual ward. Many votes were removed as a result. So this time, a new Falkirk wide category has been added.  There is a total of £200,000 in this pot so the maximum grant for any one project would be £120,000.

The Capital funds programme can be used to invest in resources and facilities for the benefit of the community and must be able to continue to offer public benefit throughout their lifetime. This means that the funds cannot be spent where only an organisation or individual would gain a personal benefit. Capital spend is expected to create something new (an asset) or improve an existing asset such as a structural improvement to a building, for example.

There are 3 main types of capital expenditure:

Building something new – a house, or an office for example. Not all the costs of a new build can be treated as capital but the majority can. The costs of looking after the building after it has been built (revenue costs) are not covered.

Improving an asset – money spent on an existing building, for example, can be called capital if it substantially increases:

  • the useful life of the asset or
  • the market value of the asset or
  • the extent to which the asset can or will be used.

Normal day-to-day running costs – for example, painting rooms, changing carpets, fixing windows – are not capital costs, and are not covered. Money spent on improving other assets, for example a road or a park, may be capital depending on what the money is spent on. For example, re-turfing and planting in an existing park will not be capital spending. However, turning a piece of waste land into a children’s playpark may be capital spending.

Purchasing equipment – money spent on buying, for example, a minibus. The equipment, which should cost more than £5k, should reasonably be expected to last for more than a year. As an example, undertaking repairs in a broken playpark will not be capital spending but buying new equipment may be. However, looking after that equipment in the future will not be capital spending.

Whatever you choose, the deadline as I said is currently 7 January. The vote opens on 24 January and closes on 11 February. Once votes have been checked and verified, successful projects will be notified on 28 February, with funds being paid out shortly after.

No doubt you will have questions about all this so please give me a shout and I’ll guide you through things. You can also request a support session from council staff for the capital programme. If you would benefit from one of these sessions, or if you want to get an application form, you need to email the team on community.choices@falkirk.gov.uk and they’ll be in touch.

This is a great opportunity to get some much needed funding into your organisation and have it endorsed by the local public through their voting. So don’t miss out!

Until next time

Dan Rous,
Community Coach,
07444 873151,
communitycoach@tamfourhilltro.co.uk

camelon, community, Our Place

Fun in the Park – the review!

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 28 October 2021

Last Sunday we held the long awaited Fun in the Park event in Easter Carmuirs Park. Apart from a 10 minute downpour at the start, we had a dry afternoon which helped such a great crowd to come out and enjoy everything that was available for them.

Thanks to everyone who came out to enjoy the fun, eat the food, and join the chat with myself, John and others. We had some really great conversations including with people who were willing to step up and get involved. Many were asking good and relevant questions and it was good to talk face to face about these matters. Overall, it was heartening to see people coming out to an event in the park that was part of the hope (amongst many other things) after the path network was installed in 2019.

At the event, we also launched Friends of Easter Carmuirs Park. This will be a group to take forward developments in the park and coordinate future events and activities. We had some people sign up for this group and others express an interest in finding out more. So as soon as we can safely do so, we’ll pull a meeting together to talk about how this can work, tell you what support is available for you, and start moving things forward. If you would like to be added to the list for this group then do get in touch with me. My contact details are at the end of this blog.

The Active Travel Parade went down really well and it was good to hear of positive conversations between Camelon Arts and Forth Environment Link about possible future activities of this nature. The bicycle raffle with Scott Walker was also well received and as I’ve been contacting the winners and delivering the bikes this week, it has been so heartening to read their responses and see the joy on their faces. We wish the 4 winners many happy and safe cycling outings (probably not this week though with this weather!)

For now, as we still recover from a long but really good day, I want to offer special thanks to the following people who helped out:

  • Lesley and her team from Easter Carmuirs P.S. Parent Council who provided the Popcorn Machine (and thankfully some freshly cooked popcorn!) and also offered Halloween Costumes for free loan to local families. They also provided a couple of tables.
  • Chris, Nicholla and Julie from Tidy Clean Green who looked after the bulb planting activity.
  • Babs from Port Downie Community Action who let people know about what this new organisation is all about, plus garnered support for a possible Community Council next year.
  • Ian from Camelon Mens Shed who promoted this exciting and much needed new group.
  • Scott Walker Bicycle Mechanic who not only donated 4 refurbished bikes to be raffled off, but spent the whole day with us including assisting with set up and tidying up at the end. He was glad to also receive donations of unwanted bikes and will be working with us on something very special for Christmas – watch this space!
  • Georgi and Emily from Forth Environment Link, plus Ray who returned to his former job to help set up the Bike Ramps that they brought with them. They also allowed us to use their Smoothie Bike that went down very well and brought along some fun giveaways.
  • Aniela, Monica and Kevin from Camelon Arts who organised the Active Travel Parade that went down really well. It was wonderful to see the parade featuring people of all ages on bikes, scooters, roller blades and even a powered wheelchair.
  • My family who dropped seamlessly into the “unhired help” roles that they’ve been used to over the years of events I’ve been involved in. Special thanks to Hannah who served up the free Hot Dogs all afternoon.

We are also especially grateful to all those who helped fund and support the event including:

  • Mandy and Danny from Falkirk Council Environment Services who worked with Torwood Garden Centre Ltd to provided bulbs, pots and compost for the planting activity.
  • Nailer Park Tenants Association who leant us a gazebo.
  • Dave from Port Downie Community Action who leant us a generator so we could run the popcorn machine.
  • Ruth and Jules from Cyrenians Dollar Park Walled Garden team who leant us a couple of tables.
  • Leanne and the community team at Tesco Camelon who provided a voucher so we could buy the fruit smoothie ingredients
  • Charlotte and the community team at Morrisons Falkirk who provided some planters.

To finish my blog this week, here are some photos from the day that showcase the event (including the Active Travel Parade) but also the amazing resource that this park is. Until next time….

Dan Rous
Community Coach
07444 873151
communitycoach@tamfourhilltro.co.uk