camelon, community, Our Place, tamfourhill

And now….

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 24 February 2022

So this is it. This is my final blog as your Community Coach.

I have mixed emotions as I write and I am not going to drag this out any longer than necessary. The last 2 years have been a rollercoaster of emotions as we’ve dealt with all the restrictions Covid threw at us, and here at OPCT there is so much we wanted to do but never got the chance to. Many things on my list remain untouched mostly due to Covid. But there have also been some surprise activities that we didn’t anticipate which has been great. I have spent so much time dealing with frustrations of not being able to do things, and as many of you will know, there’s only so much of that you can take. That’s not why I’m leaving though. Infact, as I come into land in this role, many fruits are forming from the seeds sown. Many things are coming to fruition from the foundations laid. As I’ve been trying to wrap things up for a handover to an as yet unappointed replacement, so much has been coming into my inbox in relation to really positive developments. That’s exciting and gives me hope for the future. All it needs now is for more of you, the lovely people of Camelon and Tamfourhill, to come out from behind the scenes and get involved – it’s the only way positive change is going to happen in our community.

I’ll not disappear completely – sorry! I live here. This is my community. You are my neighbours. Those who know me will know where to find me! (I also know where to find some of you!!!!) I will support local development as much as I’m able through various ways. So I simply encourage you to put your full effort behind John and my replacement when they’re in post. You have the power to be part of the change for good. You can be involved in positive developments. You can be part of a really exciting future for Camelon and Tamfourhill.

I leave you with a favourite song that I’ve performed many times before – don’t worry, this isn’t me singing though! I use it here as it sums things up from my time in this role as, whilst I know I haven’t got everything right or achieved everything that I wanted to, I can say with hand on heart that, right or wrong, I did it My Way. These words particularly stand out: “Regrets, I’ve had a few, but then again, too few to mention. I did what I had to do and saw it through without exemption. I planned each charted course, each careful step along the byway. And more, much more than this, I did it my way. Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew, when I bit off more than I could chew. But through it all, when there was doubt I ate it up and spit it out. I faced it all and I stood tall and did it my way.”

Until we meet again…….

camelon, collaboration, community, development, growing, litter, Our Place, Support, Tidy Clean Green

Community Renewal

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 17 February 2022

We are so pleased to be able to reveal to you that a decent chunk of funding is coming into various projects and organisations in the Camelon and Tamfourhill area thanks to the UK Government Community Renewal Fund.

The UK Community Renewal Fund is a UK Government programme for 2021/22. This aims to support people and communities most in need across the UK to pilot programmes and new approaches to prepare for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. It invests in skills, community and place, local business, and supporting people into employment. For more information, visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-community-renewal-fundprospectus

John teased some of this news in his blog this week but here’s the full info.

The whole consortium was brought together initially by Scottish Canals, but is led by the Green Action Trust. As well as them and us, the other partners are Artlink Central, Go Forth and Clyde, Keep Scotland Beautiful/Canal College, Forth Valley College and Forth Environment Link. Things were initially meant to start in August/September time last year but delays from the funder mean we’re all only just able to get going now. This has been frustrating for all partners as many briefs have had to be amended or completely rewritten. But now we can get going with a total of over £700,000 coming in across the whole consortium – and we’ve only got until June to wrap things up!

Our involvement in this consortium is in two smaller projects totalling just under £40,000, supporting groups to work alongside you, the wider community, to vision how various spaces could look and become in the future, both short and long term. More on this is a sec, but for now, a little on what visioning really means. This quote from Simon Sinek says it nicely:

“Vision is the ability to see that which does not yet exist.  As we slowly bring that vision to life, more people will start to recognise the work we’re doing and join our crusade.  But, like an iceberg, there will always be much more waiting to be revealed underneath the surface.” Simon Sinek

For some time now, a small band of volunteers have been working on a number of projects and activities. Many of them are tired but still full of passion for what could be, which is why they keep going. So, the middle bit of Sinek’s quote is gold, and I think reflects where many people are. They want to be involved but prefer to wait until things have started, then they might consider jumping in once they’ve assessed the lay of the land. That’s totally understandable but, with the work that will happen over the next 4 months, now is the time to jump in. There will be a wide range of ways to get involved and have your say between now and June. Online, offline. Activity, discussion. Formal, informal. And more! So, I hope that many of you will take up the opportunities to do so, otherwise quite simply, if you don’t like what develops then you have little room for complaint if you haven’t had your say! And as Sinek says, more information, ideas, passions and skills will come out of hiding as more people get involved. That’s absolutely what we want to happen!

So, what is going to be funded? There are 2 projects.

Easter Carmuirs Park
The Green Action Trust (formerly known as the Central Scotland Green Network Trust) is back to work alongside the community on taking forward hopes, plans and visions for the park. A draft masterplan was prepared by them back in 2017 that led to the installation of paths, trees and some meadow areas in 2019. But what next? Many ideas were suggested back then, however people have used the park more and begun to understand it in a different way now that you can walk on paths across it and appreciate its scale more. The consultant will work with us and you to bring a meaningful plan together that satisfies community aspirations, attends to community safety matters that have been raised, and present a workable timeline for developments so that full clarity is there for all – something that was missing last time around. Crucially, this will be a chance for the Friends of Easter Carmuirs Park group to come together properly. We teased this back in the Fun in the Park event last October with the hope that this funding would have been in place before now. But now is the time for this group to form, with our support, and become the vehicle to apply for funding and take future developments forward. Watch out for all the ways you can get involved if you live around or use Easter Carmuirs Park in any way at all.

Carmuirs Area
Tidy Clean Green will be leading a range of activities and consultations assisted by us and with external help from The Conservation Volunteers. This is to build on the work that’s been happening over the last year or so with particular focus on the area next to Camelon Juniors car park, and the Brown Street Park. These next few months will give a chance to start pulling together all the strands of research, consultation and activity, and present a workable and fundable plan at the end of the process that can be taken forward either by Tidy Clean Green or another local group. As mentioned earlier, John’s blog this week talks more about this project and reflects on an event in the area last week that was bringing further ideas together from local people. Activities will include litter picks, planting, training sessions, pop up parks, community events and more! Plus this will link with the existing art work and climate action projects that are in process alongside this activity.

So there you have it. We are absolutely thrilled that these areas will get a much needed step forward over these next 4 months. It won’t deliver anything large or secure all the funding needed. But it will take us a massive step forward, importantly, with you the community absolutely engaged. There’s obviously a lot more to what I’ve highlighted here, and we’ll keep you posted as time progresses. This is simply a summary to get your minds whirring. We look forward to working with the consultants, Green Action Trust, Tidy Clean Green, and of course, you, to make further positive change in our community.

Until next time….

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

community, development, employment, funding, Our Place, Support

Apply here…

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 10 February 2022

It’s another news update for you in my blog this week, specifically regarding funding and funded job opportunities.


Funded Job Opportunities
I reported back in November that the Scottish Government had 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. This is channelled through local Councils.

This was a great opportunity to get a fully funded member of staff to support a need in your organisation. But we were informed this week that so far only 2 out of a possible 57 posts available in Falkirk have been filled. So if you didn’t think this would work for you first time around, or you missed it completely, now is the time to get an application. Below is the bullet point information, but if you want to discuss this further or be supported to apply to host a job, then give me a shout in the usual way.

  • Start dates must be before 31st March 2022.  The first start can be 22nd November 2021.
  • The jobs will be fixed term for 26 weeks.
  • Terms & Conditions will align with your organisation (including annual leave, sick pay, holiday pay etc).
  • These can be entry level positions.
  • Jobs will be a maximum of 30 hours per week but can be flexible to meet the needs of the individual, i.e. term time, less hours for longer
  • Each opportunity attracts a notional unit cost to a maximum of £10,000. This notional unit cost is made up of salary costs plus additional costs and is based on 30 hours x 26 weeks (£384.60 per week or an hourly rate of £12.82). The costs will vary against number of hours/weeks/additional costs associated with delivery/support offeredThese costs support certificated training and there is an expectation that all participants will undertake a certificated training course prior to or during the LTU job placement.
  • The wage costs are met by Falkirk Council (You will pay the wages and reclaim in full from Falkirk Council).  If payment in arrears is going to be barrier please speak to us.
  • Jobs must be supported by a nominated staff member (mentor) who, in turn, will be supported by a named contact from Falkirk Council’s Employment and Training Unit.
  • You 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.
  • Where the placement is successful, additional funding may be available after the 26-week period.  Your named contact will help you to investigate this.

Funding Option – Bank of Scotland Foundation “Reach”
Revenue funding for one year of up to £25,000 can be claimed by established charities from this fund that opens again very shortly.

The Reach programme is suitable for charities that can demonstrate they address disadvantage or social exclusion and will reach the most vulnerable people across Scotland, to provide them with opportunity and equality and making positive, sustainable change.

For disadvantage, examples include charities addressing primary disadvantage such as homelessness, abuse, mental health or poverty, or secondary disadvantage such as debt issues, learning disabilities, illiteracy, lack of employability skills or health issues.

For social exclusion, examples include charities addressing exclusionary challenges for minorities, people with disabilities, LGBT people, drug users, institutional care leavers, the elderly or the young.

The next round opens at 12 noon on 7 March 2022 and closes at 12 noon on 17 March 2022. Grants will be awarded at the end of May 2022. All the rest of the information you need is at https://bankofscotlandfoundation.org/funding-programmes/reach


Funding Option – People’s Postcode Trust
The People’s Postcode Trust supports smaller charities and good causes in the Scotland to make a difference to their community for the benefit of people and planet.

This year, funding rounds will open each month from February to October. They will accept a limited number of applications in line with the amount of funds available for that round. If they do not reach this limit the round will close on the 10th of the month. Rounds will open at the start of each month but may close quickly so you need to get prepared!

They support projects under the following categories:

  • Improving mental wellbeing
  • Enabling community participation in the arts
  • Preventing or reducing the impact of poverty
  • Supporting marginalised groups and promoting equality
  • Improving biodiversity & green spaces
  • Enabling participation in physical activity
  • Responding to the climate emergency & promoting sustainability
  • Increasing community access to outdoor space

You can apply for either project or unrestricted funding. Charities and Community Interest Companies can apply for up to £25,000. Other non profit organisations can apply for up to £2,500. For more information on what is eligible under each category, see the funding guidelines on the Trust’s website.


Virtual Falkirk Funders Fayre 2022
Our friends at CVS Falkirk are once again hosting an online Funders Fayre, over three days next month. This will give you a chance to hear direct from funders about their latest funds and priorities, and how you can make the best application possible. It all happens from Tuesday 8 to Thursday 10 March and the funders you’ll hear from are:

  • Tesco Community Grants
  • Falkirk Health and Social Care Partnership
  • The Clothworkers Foundation
  • The Foyle Foundation
  • Henry Smith Charity
  • People’s Postcode Lottery
  • Foundation Scotland
  • National Lottery Community Fund
  • Corra Foundation

Sessions take place at 11am, 1pm and 3pm each day. All the info and registration form can be found on the CVS Falkirk website. It’s well worth taking the time to attend if you can.


And finally…
Just a reminder that you can apply for my job! I’m away at the end of this month and we’re looking for someone to come and continue the momentum and even do the job better! Closing date is next Friday (18th) so head over to the EVH Recruitment website for all the info.

That’s all for this week. Until next time…

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

community

News update

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 3 February 2022

For this week’s blog, here’s an update on a few bits and pieces of relevance:

Community Choices

Voting is still open for the latest projects looking to get funding for the larger projects. You can vote for any projects listed in your area of residence, plus there are additional projects listed that serve the whole of Falkirk. You get 3 votes but they all carry equal weight. The council team do carry out post code checks to make their life a little easier, please do not vote for an area you don’t live in! Here’s the info and links relevant to our area:

Ward 6 (Camelon) Voting Link
Not many to choose from so when this comes around again, please come to us for any help you need to get an application in. The only projects listed here are Falkirk Golf Club (Access improvements for wheelchairs etc) and Bainsford Community Hall (Hall Refurbishment)

Ward 7 (Tamfourhill) Voting Link
Three projects to choose from here but the same comment applies about any projects who may be looking for funding later in the year. We’ll keep you posted when the council open this up for applications again. For now, the projects to choose from are: Tamfourhill Community Hub (Community Kitchen Project); Bantaskin Residents Association (New Community Area); and Ettrick Dockhart Community Hall (Hall upgrades).

The Falkirk-wide projects that you can also vote for if you wish, are: Friends of Forth Valley First Responders (Public Access Defibrillators across the area); and Barony Players (external works to the Theatre plus work to increase membership).

Voting is open until 5pm on Monday 14 February.

OPCT Development Worker Vacancy

As announced 2 weeks ago, I’m going to be leaving this role at the end of this month. I’m grateful to all those who have messaged me with their good wishes. Based on how the role has evolved over the last 2 years, the team have reworked the role slightly and, following approval from the National Lottery Community Fund, have now been able to get this advertised with the new name of Camelon Development Worker. This is a fixed term role for 14 months and has a closing date for applications of 18 February at 12pm, so don’t hang about if you’re going to apply. All the information, including Job Description and Application Form, is on the EVH recruitment website.

I’ve loved my time in this role and can highly recommend it to you. There will certainly never be a dull moment!

THRIVE to Keep Well

As mentioned in my previous blog, this programme is starting again at Camelon Community Centre in collaboration with Carmuirs Primary School. We had a good result from the pilot running of this last year, and are pleased that we’re able, at last, to have the final celebration day in a couple of weeks time (it was postponed before Christmas due to Covid concerns). If you, or someone you know, would benefit from this programme then do get in touch with Jackie who’s details are on the flyer below

And finally

No news report is complete without an ‘And finally’! I can give you a sneaky pre-announcement of some funding that is coming into the area as part of a consortium of local organisations. This will enable further local engagement and detailed development planning in respect of Easter Carmuirs Park, the area next to the Camelon Juniors car park, and Brown Street Park between now and the end of June. It won’t get any work done yet, but it will move us so much closer which is fantastic. But to work most effectively, it will need you to get on board especially if you live in or near to, or you use any of these spaces. Stay tuned for all the information that you need to know in the next couple of weeks.

There’s lots more going on but that’s the things that are most important to update you on for now. Until next time….

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

community, Mental Health, Support, training

THRIVE is back!

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 30 January 2022

You may remember that we piloted the NHS THRIVE to Keep Well programme at the end of last year. This went well and produced some great results with most of the participants. We’ll publish a report once it has been finalised from all the relevant authorities, but the positive change reported and clearly seen in many of the participants was a joy to be a part of. So, I’m so pleased to say that that programme is back, this time in collaboration with Carmuirs Primary School and to be held at Camelon Community Centre. (I’m only sorry that I won’t be around to be a part of it.)

To remind you, the THRIVE to Keep Well programme supports adults who are experiencing mild to moderate mental health and wellbeing challenges. Participants are brought together in individual male and female adult groups within their local communities. The programme was developed to assist individuals to rebuild their lives by increasing their skills, knowledge and awareness of their own personal health and wellbeing, and aims to support participants to feel more integrated into their community by helping build positive social networks, improve personal development, and support participants to develop their own social and economic lives.  It is a life-changing programme for participants that attend, helping them to feel empowered with skills, insights, confidence and tools in order to take control of their life; it brings out the very best of them to embark on a new journey to making a change.

This community asset-based programme reaches parents and adults aged 16+ within their own community, to encourage social connectedness and increase peoples control over their health and lives

The programme is delivered over 16 weeks through one session of 4½ hours per week within a community setting using a three-stage model that has been designed and developed with structured learning outcome sessions which has enabled the integrity and continuity of its delivery. During the sessions, participants learn about stress, anxiety and how to make positive changes through a variety of group and self-reflection activities. Participants also take part in relaxation, creative, health, safety, and community awareness sessions.

The THRIVE to Keep Well programme uses the acronym THRIVE to demonstrate a participant will have the opportunity to be Transformational in their journey to making positive Health and wellbeing changes, by being a Responsive Individual, to feeling Valued and Empowered by improving knowledge, skills and opportunities in a variety of ways to move towards a positive destination.

The programme aims to improve participant’s:

  • knowledge and management of day to day stress and anxiety.
  • self-esteem and confidence through self-development and reflection techniques.
  • motivational goal setting techniques to enable health behaviour change.
  • awareness of the NHS Keep Well programme and promote higher uptake of the health assessment.
  • confidence and motivation to improve on life skills to further learning, volunteering and employment.
  • role as a parent to further develop the skills and confidence that will improve family relationships, support children’s learning, behaviour and attainment and enhance wider wellbeing.

So, for the next running of this programme, have a look at the poster below, that gives all the information about when and where the programme is running, and who to get in touch with to get involved. I really hope that this programme will continue to grow and provide more fantastic support to local people.

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.