camelon, Christmas, community, tamfourhill

A true Community Calendar

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 30 September 2021

Would you like to have a calendar that highlights all that is great about Camelon and Tamfourhill?

Would you like to have a photo that you have taken featured in a calendar?

If you answered yes to either of those questions then have I got something to interest you?! Yes I have!

In collaboration with our good friends at Camelon Arts and as part of their autumn season programme – Together Now!, I am so pleased to be able to introduce to you, the Camelon and Tamfourhill 2022 Community Calendar project. If you enjoyed our previous #WednesdayWalkabout social media series, then this could be for you. Here’s all you need to know to get involved:

What is the Community Calendar project?
The Community Calendar project is the chance for local people from Camelon and Tamfourhill to submit their photos to be showcased in your 2022 calendar.

Who is it for?
Anyone and everyone from Camelon and Tamfourhill who wishes to submit their photo!

What is the theme?
Our theme is ‘local wonders’ and we are looking for photos that capture some of the amazing things, people, and nature that can be found in the area. Show us what you love about living here.

Technical Details
We accept digital submissions of iPhone, camera and scanned analogue photos in jpeg format to a maximum size of 10mb.

How do I submit my photo?
By sending an email with your photo attached to it (max one photo per person) to camelonarts@artlinkcentral.org. Please don’t forget to add your name to your email so we can credit you with your submission. For anyone under 18, please check with your parent or carer first. All submissions will be accepted and featured provided they meet the technical requirements and content is appropriate.

When is the deadline?
To be included in the calendar, your photo must be submitted by Friday 12 November.

When will I be able to buy a community calendar?
With Camelon Arts, we are hoping to organise a launch event in December so you can purchase as many as you want for Christmas presents! You will be warmly invited to join us so keep an eye out for updates!

So there you have it. I am so excited to see this project launched and am grateful to Camelon Arts for running with it. This is a really great way to celebrate what is great and good in this area. And what’s more, the calendar will be put together by a young graphic designer who is based right here in Camelon. So this is a totally local project. A true Community Calendar. Let’s all get involved!

Until next time

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

camelon, coach, collaboration, community, development, Our Place, resilience, Support, tamfourhill, training

Communities Matter

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 16 September 2021

In my blog last week, I invited you to join the Community Revolution. But what does this really mean? Can you, members of the community, actually make a difference? Quite simply – YES!! Let’s explore this a little further

What I love about working in Community Development is the ability to be alongside local people and help them to make a real difference on their streets. To help them gain new skills, try new things, meet people just down the street who they’d never met before, fix issues, start new projects and so much more.

Our friends at the Scottish Community Development Centre (SCDC) have put together a great piece that explains Community Development in 60 seconds. You can see it here.

They explain that “Community development is a process where people come together to take action on what’s important to them.” Read that statement again and notice the key emphasis. People – you – come together. People – you – take action.

As community, we cannot rely on external bodies to do everything for us. This is not the place to argue whether they should be or not – we all have our views and probably agree on a lot but we don’t have time to banter that topic right now. It is worth noting however that those of you living in Tamfourhill (Ward 7 – Falkirk South) have the opportunity right now to challenge those wanting to be elected to serve in the bi-election next month. Ask them how they will help the community actually develop and how they will work alongside you. (All of you will get that opportunity next May when all council seats are up for grabs).

Aside of that, if you see an issue and instantly think that someone else will sort it, have you ever wondered if you might be the “someone else”? Could you be the person that steps up and makes a difference? SCDC suggest (and I agree) that there are 4 principles that are the foundation of Community Development:

  • Self-determination – people and communities have the right to make their own choices and decisions.
  • Empowerment – people should be able to control and use their own assets and means to influence.
  • Collective action – coming together in groups or organisations strengthens peoples’ voices.
  • Working and learning together – collaboration and sharing experiences is vital to good community activity.

What this means is that even if you’re the one who steps up first, there will be others who will join you. They might take a little while to come, but they will come. Together, you make your own choices, take control, form a collective voice, share resources and learn from each other. The second point is especially important. Empowerment has become a buzz word lately and there is a lot of talk about empowering communities and individuals. Unfortunately, the meaning gets lost when those deemed to be in positions of power simply give their permission for locals to do things. That is not empowerment – that is passing the buck. People need to feel that they are empowered with choice, opportunity and real genuine power. To be able to take control of who they are and what happens around them. There are various ways to do that so let’s have a chat.

SCDC continue that Community Development “recognises that some people, some groups and some communities are excluded and oppressed by the way society and structures are organised.” I don’t think we’d disagree with that statement. But rather than wallow in self pity and throw out another social media rant that the keyboard warriors will jump on, together you can turn the tide and create a more positive future.

So what is it that you want, either for yourself or your community? Do you want to learn? Do you want to tidy the place up? Do you want to do something active? Do you want a new group to start? Let’s be honest – the list is probably endless for all those questions (and more) together. But we have to start somewhere. One of our tasks here at OPCT is to support you to move forwards but also to manage expectations. We cannot fix everything and certainly not quickly. But together, we can do a whole lot more.

Let’s stop just talking about community matters and remember that communities matter. Let’s change the emphasis – together.

Until next time….

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

Image source: Scottish Community Development Centre website

camelon, coach, collaboration, community, development, Mental Health, Our Place, resilience, Support, tamfourhill

Busy busy busy

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 2 September 2021

Now that we can do more things, it seems everyone is wanting to do everything in the next few months! Patience is key especially as some of you may still be a bit wary of going out to events at this time. We too have that air of caution around our planning but still, there is a lot going on. So here’s a quick summary of events and happenings that I’m involved in or am supporting. There’s much more than is contained in this blog, and many ideas are just in the formation stages, but this will give you an idea of how things are going:

Tidy Clean Green
This resident led group has officially launched, office bearers appointed, the constitution signed, and a bank account is currently being set up. They received £1,500 from the Community Choices Small Grants programme towards developing Pop Up Parks and have just received some other funding that will further raise their profile but I can’t tell you about that yet! One of their first actions of planting trees in Brown Street Park has gone well as all of them are still in the ground where they left them! There are also monthly community litter picks plus other adhoc activity. If you’re not on the mailing list for this group and would like to be kept informed, then head to our mailing subscription link, fill in your details, and select #tidycleangreen in the options (along with anything else you’d like to be kept informed about.

Canal Based Activities
This is another resident led group that is developing it’s offering in the background and will be launching very soon. There are some very exciting projects forming under one banner including canoeing, and I’m pleased to be able to support them in their aims. It’s great to see other local residents already benefiting from access to specific training around some of this too. Watch this space!

Mens Shed
A couple of local guys are working up plans for a multi-faceted mens shed project that is really exciting and much needed. There’s a big mental health focus within this as well as tackling some practical activities too. They’ll need a few more guys to help move this on though so if you’re interested, let me know and I’ll link you up.

THRIVE to Keep Well
This programme is well underway and is supporting 10 local ladies between now and the end of the year to understand themselves better, learn how to tackle what life throws at them, and move towards whatever potential looks like for them. We’re proud to be working with NHS Forth Valley, Falkirk Council Community Learning and Development, and the Health and Social Care Partnership to facilitate this pilot programme, and are grateful for the additional support of Artlink Central and Forth Environment Link. We’re having a really good time and are looking forward to everything else that this programme has to offer.

Training for you
We have partnered with 4 The Benefit of All in Grangemouth, and Falkirk Council’s Employment Training Unit, to bring training to you in many areas. But rather than just put courses on randomly, we will shortly be bringing drop in information sessions to the community so you can speak with staff and find out what is out there for you. You’ll also be able to have a Better off in Work calculation carried out for you and find out about what support is there for you to get back into training, volunteering or employment.

Development Coaching
I have been provided my impaCT 1to1 coaching for a few people and have got a lot of interest from others. This is where I will work with you over 6 sessions to help you find the answers to the questions you will be asking, as you move towards your potential.

Existing Groups
I’m providing a range of support to some existing groups to build their strengths as well as helping with the development of their activities or offerings. Support with funding, governance, property, business planning, marketing and more is available either through me or through our partners. There’s room in my diary for more though so if there’s anything your group needs that you don’t know how to tackle, give me a shout!

Resident Engagement
John has a couple of activities happening during the October week that he’ll tell you about, but we will also be having an event in Easter Carmuirs Park on the afternoon of Sunday 24 October. All details will be confirmed very soon but save the date for now. As well as lots of fun and food at these events, you will have the chance to chat with us about local developments, make your comments/suggestions, and see how you can get involved to make a positive difference right here.

Final Words
Remember, there is no pot of money or magic money tree. Whether things have been discussed before or not, there is no cash sitting waiting to be spent. But, if you, the community, can pull together properly and effectively, forming groups where necessary and coordinating ideas, skills and talents (plus taking on learning where needed with our support), then amazing things can and will happen. We can’t sit back anymore and wait for things to happen or for others to do it. We’ve got a good momentum going with the things I’ve mentioned here plus other things that John has told you about. These things have got going because people have stepped up, put their head above the parapet, and refused to accept the status quo. Now they need your help.

Until next time

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

camelon, collaboration, community, development, Our Place, resilience, Support, tamfourhill

ABCD, easy as 1234

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 19 August 2021

Okay, that title doesn’t scan as well as the Jackson 5 hit “ABC” but there’s a reason for the strange title to the blog this week.

Back in February I introduced you to a thing called Asset Based Community Development – ABCD for short. It’s a fancy title for working with who and what you have in your community and recognising them not as random statistics, but as people. People who have skills, talents, passions, needs, desires. People who can be the change in their community. People who, with the right encouragement, can be even more amazing. People who can make a positive difference in their lives, in their families lives, in the organisation their part of, and in the whole community. In short, what my job is here to do.

So why am I returning to this now?

Well, apart from the fact that I live by this every day, specifically, in a couple of weeks time I am part of a team hosting the second UK ABCD Jamboree that this time has a Scottish theme. Basically, this is an online get together for people delivering some kind of Community Development but also crucially, for those who are actually in communities – those who are being the change already. Practitioners at all levels. This is the first of a series of ‘regional’ gatherings where projects can be showcased from Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland. It’s been one of the positives of using online platforms to meet, as there is the chance to hear and learn from others across a wider field than we would ever have met with before. We’re so pleased to be involved in the first one of these and give the chance for people to see the opportunities that are being grabbed here in Camelon and Tamfourhill amongst other areas.

So this is an open invitation to you. Whether you’re reading this as someone in a position of authority, someone who is getting their hands dirty by doing the every day community stuff, or anyone in between those extremes, this is the gathering for you. It’s not a dry, policy led set of PowerPoint presentations. This is going to be full of living, breathing stories of communities making a difference. We want to flood this online gathering with people who are actively involved in community activity at all levels.

As well as hearing from some great projects from across Scotland (including a 5 minute piece from Lynne at Tamfourhill Community Hub in the quick fire talks section), there will be lots of chances to chat with people from other communities who are there to share and learn in equal measure. This is a place for ideas to be shared, connections to be made, and communities to be celebrated. And it’s all free!

So why not book in. It would be great to see you there and to truly celebrate our area on this UK platform. It’s being held on Zoom on Tuesday 7 September from 10am to 1230pm. More details are on the image below but you can book at celebratingcommunities.eventbrite.co.uk. I look forward to celebrating with you at that event.

Until next time…

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

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

Tidy Clean Green is go!

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 5 August 2021

Our Place Camelon and Tamfourhill is pleased to announce the official arrival of the Tidy Clean Green group and want to invite you to join in the celebrations and activities.

This group is a coming together of the Community Growing and Litter Picking groups who have both been gathering pace over recent months. With both of them covering parts of our #tidycleangreen campaign, it made sense to bring them together into a constituted group that will be able access their own funding. Existing members have approved the plan and are forming an operating committee, but there is still room to get involved. Myself and John will continue to support the group and its members especially in these early days, but for as long as they need.

It’s really exciting to see this resident-led group come into being and to see the potential for them. This is just a small part of my role to support the establishment of groups like this but it is a really important part. I’m supporting a couple of other aspiring groups at the moment but have room for more, so if you have an idea you want to explore further, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with me. Contact details are below.

So, back to Tidy Clean Green. On the weekend of 14/15 August, we have a couple of events for you to get involved in.

Firstly, on Saturday 14, John is hosting the last in the series of the Our Place Camelon & Tamfourhill (Great Place Falkirk funded) community canal clear ups from 10am to 4pm. This one is a family activity and includes a clean up of the canal using canoes, plus by walking along the tow path, followed by a fun and interactive workshop. If would like to take part then please get in touch with John on 07391524528 or email communitysafetyengager@tamfourhilltro.co.uk. Please note that places are extremely limited, so don’t leave it too late to get in touch. You can come along as 1 adult/parent/carer with up to 2 children who must be 8 years and older for the canoe part of the day, however there are no age or numbers restrictions for the canal towpath litter pick and the workshop session. This is a great way to end the school holidays and enjoy a day out and about around Lock 16, the Forth and Clyde Canal and the Falkirk Wheel. There is no cost to taking part and you will be making a valuable contribution to keeping our community tidy clean and green.

Secondly, on Sunday 15, I am hosting a tree planting session in the Brown Street Park, Camelon. This is following a community consultation in the surrounding area in response to resident suggestions to develop this space. The main plans are on going but this reinstatement of trees was high on peoples list, with 82% of respondents to the consultation agreeing to this going ahead. So from 1pm, we will plant 20 trees that have been kindly donated by The Woodland Trust. These saplings will be regularly checked and as they get bigger, will be maintained to no more than 3m in height to stop them becoming unwieldly and a nuisance. Just prior to that at 12pm, John will facilitate a community litter pick in the park and surrounding streets. All the info is on the flyer below, but there’s plenty to get involved in on what will hopefully be a fun couple of hours. I’ll also be on hand for any enquiries about the park or any other thoughts you might have for the area.

We hope you’ll be able to join us over this weekend of celebration as restrictions ease and as we mark a big step forward in the community.

Until next time…..

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

camelon, coach, community, development, Our Place, resilience, Support, tamfourhill

Why!

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 29 July 2021

For my blog this week, to finish off the series where I’ve asked “Why Bother” and “Why Not“, I am revisiting a blog I originally wrote back in July of last year, where I encouraged us to focus on Why we do things. What’s our motivation, our reason, our passion, our purpose? When we start with Why, everything else becomes clearer and falls into place. Now that we’ve explored why we should bother and helped you to address the “why not’s” in life, it seems appropriate to share that blog again to remind us all. So here it is….


Over the years that I’ve had the pleasure of working with community based activities, projects, organisations or enterprises, one thing always stands out for me. Those who know why they are doing whatever it is they are doing, survive longer and better than those who just focus on what they are doing.

This is not just something to put in a funding application form, but something that defines you as an organisation. It will help local people understand why they should get involved. If you’re trading, it could make the difference between someone choosing to buy from your socially benefiting enterprise, or a standard company up the road. If you’re fundraising, it could make the difference between a donors money coming to you or something else.

I’m sure you all know what you do: you hire rooms out; you run a sports activity; you coordinate events; you run a music group; etc etc.

You also probably know how its done: you have a price list and people book in; you have coaches, equipment, and training sessions; you book entertainment and advertise; you have instruments, rehearsals, tutors; etc etc

But the key to success is why you do it: to provide facilities and activities for the betterment of the local community; to improve health, fitness and wellbeing; to celebrate local identity and success; to encourage the development of talent; etc etc

So what is your starting point? Why, how, or what? Author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek writes in his book “Start with Why” about what he calls the “Golden Circle”.

This is one of the most simplistic but powerful ways of looking at what it is that you do – or wish to do. We can so easily get bogged down in ideas, processes, procedures etc that we can forget what is at the heart of our mission. Sinek explains further:

“When most organisations or people think, act or communicate they do so from the outside in, from WHAT to WHY. And for good reason — they go from clearest thing to the fuzziest thing. We say WHAT we do, we sometimes say HOW we do it, but we rarely say WHY we do WHAT we do.”
“When communicating from the inside out, however, the WHY is offered as the reason to buy and the WHATs serve as the tangible proof of that belief.”

Simon Sinek: “Start with Why”

This change of thinking could really make the difference for you and your activity / organisation. Before I say more, let’s hear from the Simon Sinek himself in this short TED talk:

In my last development role, I produced a marketing booklet entitled What we do and Why we do it. It was pretty evident what the place did, but not everyone fully understood why. Producing that booklet helped secure a major collaboration that will now be bringing increased support for people in that area. All because we highlighted the ‘why’.

It’s crucial to focus on why your organisations exists and emphasise this. Anything you do (what) and the process to make it happen (how) will fall into place if the why is solid. This is true for any activity, organisation or business but especially so when it is for community benefit. It will give your followers, service users or customers a way to identify with you on a personal level. If your ‘why’ matches their ‘why’, they will be willing to stand with you through thick and thin. Without a clear ‘why’, people default to the ‘what’. Then you are caught in the struggle to stand out in the ever growing sea of ‘what’ and are forced to differentiate yourself with features, or worse, with price. The end result is your reason for being – your ‘why’ – is lost.

Let’s take a hall or meeting space as an example – its easy for me as I’ve run one! You know how big it is, how many people it can hold and the kind of activities you’d be happy to see within it. You know how much it costs to run the hall (light, heat etc) and any staffing costs, so you can work out a rental price. If you stop there, you are just the same as any hall or meeting space and people will choose on location, availability or price – the ‘what’ and ‘how’. However, if you decide to run some activities yourself, or support a group to use the space for less than advertised rates, in order to provide something of direct benefit to the community, you can use this as a reason for other groups or companies renting your space – the ‘why’. “Use our space and we’ll use surplus funds to run this other activity for community benefit” or “have your meeting here and we’ll be able to allow a community benefit activity to use the space at a reduced price or for free”. See the difference? Suddenly there’s a reason for people to use your service – the ‘why’ has come to the fore and in this scenario, your ‘how’ (processes) and ‘what’ (activities) have become consistent with your ‘why’ (beliefs). And that’s the key as all three work together in harmony. To do that, you need to ensure the clarity of why, the discipline of how, and the consistency of what.

Remember that “People don’t buy WHAT you do; they buy WHY you do it.” The most effective leaders always win the heart first, and then the mind. And the only chance you have to win the heart is if you start with WHY.

Simon Sinek: “Start with Why”

I’ll leave you with a terribly misquoted song lyric that might help you remember this Golden Circle that we’ve looked at today: “It ain’t what you do its WHY YOU DO IT”. Until next week…….

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

camelon, coach, community, development, Our Place, resilience, Support, tamfourhill, training

Why not?

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 22 July 2021

Last week in this blog, I asked the question “why bother“. Many of you read it and some took the time to comment positively about it which is nice, but now I want to encourage a bit more action. So, in direct answer to last week’s question, I give you answer “why not“!

Okay, I accept that’s a question not an answer but I think it’s acceptable in this case.

The communities within Camelon and Tamfourhill need more people who will stand up and say “why not”. People who are not willing to look for excuses not to get involved. People who, when they see something that needs doing or where helpers are needed, say “yeah okay, why not. I’ll do that.”

We do have many people like this who have stepped up, said “why not” and used their time, talent and resources to make a difference. Some have been doing it for many (many) years and others are new to it. Here at Our Place Camelon and Tamfourhill, we want to celebrate those people, many of whom don’t even want thanks, praise or recognition for doing what they do. The unsung heroes. Obviously there are the big things like running Community Centres or Sports Clubs where we find many amazing “why not” people at the helm. But then there’s the smaller things which are arguably, just as (or maybe more) important. The person who picks up the litter in their street. The person who regularly does their elderly neighbours shopping. The person who checks in on someone to make sure they’re okay. The person who helps out with a club or activity. The person who checks the accounts for a small community group. The person who reports issues to the relevant authorities so they can be dealt with. The person who organises a get together of people in their close. I could go on…..

The thing is, many of these people have done these things for a long time and could do with some help. Many local organising committees are short on numbers. Many things need to get started but it needs local people to step up to make it happen. As I said last week, times have changed from when you could rely on statutory bodies to provide every service or activity you need. So do we sit back and moan? Do we rant on social media? Do we complain? Or do we say, yeah, why not, I’ll help out, tell me what I can do.

Now that’s all very well if you have the relevant skills to do something. But I know some of you will be concerned that you won’t know what to do or have the necessary skills or qualifications for it. Guess what – we can sort that. If you are not confident in your own abilities then we can sort that too. Here are just some options for sorting these and other things:

  • I can provide 1 to 1 development coaching for you to understand what you might need, what you could do, and to help you find the ways to move towards your potential.
  • We have partnered with NHS Forth Valley to bring the THRIVE to Keep Well programme to the area for the first time, as a pilot for women but hopefully for the whole community if this works – click that link for all information and contact details as there is still time to sign up for the August start of this programme.
  • We are partnering with the Employment and Training Unit and a new charity called 4 The Benefit of All, to bring various personal and skills based training to the community for free – watch this space for more on that soon.
  • I have access and links to various information, support, guidance etc to give you all you need to get involved in whatever it might be. All you have to do is ask.

So what will you say “why not” to? What do you see in the area that you think you could do something about or get involved in. What don’t you see happening that you think should be?

I am currently working with a couple of groups of local residents who have an idea, have seen a need, and have said “why not”. My job here is to support exactly that kind of thing. Whether its setting the group up and getting funding, or just making connections, finding premises and volunteers, and dealing with authorities, I’m here and at your service.

So why not bite the bullet and voice that idea that’s been hanging around your head for a while? Why not speak to someone you know who might be a good help with whatever it is you’re doing? Why not take that step towards finding your potential by finding out what training you could do or how you could get back into work?

If you’re in any doubt, just say “why not”!

Until next time

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

camelon, coach, community, leadership, Our Place, Support, tamfourhill

Why bother?

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 15 July 2021

For someone who is usually pretty positive, that may sound like a strange title for a blog. But this isn’t a rant or a whinge – it’s a rallying call to get involved.

Be honest though. How many times have you said something along the lines of “why bother” or “why should I do that ‘insert nice thing’ when it’s just going to become undone” or “why should I help them”. Maybe you’ve even said of others “why are they bothering doing that” or “what’s the point in them helping those ‘insert description here‘ people.” Or even “how is that getting sorted over there but not here”.

Doing good can by tiring when faced with constant negativity. Doing good can really grate when you see your good work undone or put down by others.

So why bother? Why? Because it’s the right thing to do and because it may well be the only way to bring positive change to our local area. So when John and I or any other group in this area gives an opportunity to get involved in something in the local area that will work towards that positive change, let’s jump forward together and not just leave it to the usual people. If we don’t, we will continue to hear, as has been said many times, that this is the land that time forgot.

I completely understand that getting involved in community enhancing activities is hard work and can be extremely draining both mentally and physically. There is an expectation that others (especially the council) should be doing things but times have changed (maybe not for the better but we are where we are). I completely understand that it’s very easy to get drawn into a discussion on social media about problems in the area and it is right that those problems are highlighted. But while a discussion on social media may feel good and give a good platform to rant, it is not the way to get things sorted. I completely understand though that when you stand up to try to make a positive change, you are also putting yourself up on the firing line and sometimes that can feel a lonely place.

So why bother? Andy March said “If you’re kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you’re successful, you’ll win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway”. What a great message that essentially says forget what anyone else will say or think. If you think this is the right way forward and will bring positive change to the community then go for it.

Why shouldn’t we bother? Why shouldn’t we do kind things because it’s the right thing to do? Why shouldn’t we become successful in our area? And if we’re not physically able to get involved, why shouldn’t we cheer on those who are having a go?

This is a good point in this blog to actually say thank you to those who are bothering. Those who see an opportunity and grasp it, rather than sitting back and waiting for someone else to get involved. Those who are not afraid to get their hands dirty. Those who are willing to take on extra training to be able to be involved in something. Those who will ask questions to get positive action. Those who truly believe that the only way to make a difference is to actually make a difference.

Carl Beech said “It seems to me that far too often, rather than cheer each other on we seem to provoke each other more to angst and stimulate rows rather than love and good stuff. … I think it’s more than what we say but what we do as well. On one of the marathons I ran (plodded around) I put my name on the front of my tee. All the way round total strangers were yelling out “Come on Beechy!!! Go on son!!!” It was amazing. I’m sure they put an extra 5 miles in the tank just by cheering me on. Similarly, when I see people being gracious, generous in words and actions – it provokes me to want to do the same and lifts my head and heart up to something higher. When people are sarcastic, mocking or argumentative – in the same way it can lower your head and drag you down.”

So what can we do about it? Beechy asks the following questions which I think are good for all of us, including me, to consider: “What do I/you provoke more? The good or the bad? When did I/you last cheer someone on? Do I/we bump my/our gums moaning all the time or does what comes out of my/our mouth encourage people with generous words? Does my/your actions provoke people to good stuff or not?

Challenging questions there but they are well worth considering if we’re serious about making this community an even better place. I am well known for banging on about the good things happening in the area. I am well known for championing our area for the people, organisations and activities that are going on – often under the radar. People from other areas are beginning to sit up and take note. People from outwith our community are beginning to see what can happen when people come together for positive change. Have we sorted all the issues out yet? No, far from it. There is a lot of work to do. But if we keep looking to the problems as problems, that will be all we see. Maybe if you are looking only at the problems, how about considering how you could get involved to try to help turn things around for those involved in those issues. Maybe they just need a chance to be involved themselves?

To use Beechy’s analogy from earlier on, “Let’s keep running the marathon and cheer each other on along the way.” I’m going to bother – what about you?

Until next time…

Dan Rous, Community Coach

07444 873151 communitycoach@tamfourhilltro.co.uk

camelon, community, funding, tamfourhill

Vote Vote Vote (part two)

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 24 June 2021

Over the last few weeks, voting has been going on for the Small Grants part of Falkirk Council’s Community Choices fund – results from this are due very soon.

Well, now its the time for the big ones – the larger Capital Programme applications. And there are some exciting projects hoping to get the cash in our area.

Before I get into the projects, here are the Ts & Cs. Voting is registered by local authority ward (so Camelon is in Ward 6/Falkirk North and Tamfourhill is in Ward 7/Falkirk South). You can only vote for projects in the ward that you live in and this will be verified by your postcode when the final checks are done. You can vote for up to 3 projects in the ward you live in and, with an allocation of money per area, the project(s) with the most votes will get the cash or a portion of it depending on how the results end up. Your vote is not in order of preference – each of your 3 votes is counted equally. The weblink you need is further down the page. Voting is open until 16 July for residents of high school age or over. Results will be announced shortly after the closing date.

Unfortunately the whole process is still being done online, but if anyone doesn’t have access to a device, they can contact us and we can help them to either get access to vote online, or we can organise to get a paper ballot to them.

So, as we did with the small grants, here is the 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.


Falkirk North / Ward 6 (Camelon projects) Total Ward Allocation £192,828

Camelon Juniors Football ClubFull Sized Artificial Pitch at Carmuirs Park – £190,000
Funding will enable the purchase and installation of a full size 4G pitch so the club can offer activities all year round in fit for purpose training facilities for local clubs, teams and people, including Walking Football, Rugby, and Woman/Girls Football teams.

Falkirk Rugby Football and Sports ClubTransformation of the Sunnyside Pavilion – £65,000
Funding will enable the club to transform the currently council owned pavilion into an attractive, modern hub for local clubs and organisations, providing them with access to a new physio suite, flexible teaching area, expanded gym and fit-for-purpose changing / showering facilities.

Love Falkirk (Falkirk Vineyard Church)Love Falkirk Support Centre – £25,000
Funding will allow the organisation to move to larger premises, increase the number of days they open the Community Pantry each week plus have a space where people can come inside for Coffee and Chat whilst they get support through Digital Drop-In Sessions, Homework Clubs, Financial Advice, Community Coaching and Counselling.


Falkirk South / Ward 7 (Tamfourhill projects) Total Ward Allocation £94,062

Barnardo’sBarnardo’s @ Watling Lodge – £14,376
Funding would enable the installation of an outdoor toilet and kitchen to allow the organisation to safely extend their face-to-face support and connect Children, Families and Communities with Nature.

Friends of Dollar ParkRenovation of Dovecote – £80,000
Funding would enable the organisation together with other stakeholders, to restore the iconic building to its former glory and to landscape the surrounding area plus add new seating.

Tamfourhill Tenants and Residents Organisationoutdoor gym and free form exercise area – £52,500
Funding would enable the organisation to provide everyone with the chance to be active in their community with outdoor gym equipment that is accessible for all in the area, allowing people to be active and have fun whilst boosting their mental health.


To vote, go to www.falkirk.gov.uk/ccvote and follow the links and instructions there. 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.

camelon, community, Mental Health, Our Place, resilience, Support, tamfourhill

Don’t suffer in silence

Last weekend, another young life was ended too soon. What makes it worse, is that this local young person chose to end their life. No-one should feel so much without hope that they feel this is their only option. So what can we do about it for ourselves and for our community?

Firstly, let me remind you that it is okay not to feel okay. And as Vasundhara Sawhney, quoting Dr Jaime Zuckerman, says, “Not only is it okay to not feel ‘okay,’ it is essential. An abnormal emotional response to an abnormal situation IS normal. We cannot simply pick the emotions we want to have. It just does not work that way,” Dr. Zuckerman said. So feeling sad and scared about my parents after they contracted Covid was normal. Crying after you get into a fight with your partner is also normal, as is feeling anxious and scared about an uncertain future. When we think we might lose something we care about, that’s sad. When we don’t know what to expect next, that’s scary. We should let ourselves, and other people in our lives, feel these things as they come up — which may be more than usual right now.”

Secondly, (and I know this is easy for me to type here but not so easy in reality), there is no need to suffer in silence or alone. Whatever you are feeling – whatever has happened – no one will think so badly of you that they would leave you on your own to deal with suicidal feelings. Find a trusted friend to talk to. This would be better in person but if a text/messenger exchange would help you get started then go for that. But do something. If you’d prefer to talk with someone you don’t know who maybe won’t be connected with your situation, then link up with a local organisation or national service that is there for you no matter what. Contact details for some of these are further down this blog.

Thirdly, we all need to better understand who we are and help our minds focus on that. Now I know that’s a big statement to make, but I want to emphasise that speaking with others is an essential part of that. Not pretending to be someone we’re not. Not trying to be like someone else. But being our awesome potential-filled selves.

Matt Meher says “we live in a day and age where we are very distracted. There’s a million places to be in our minds and our hearts – anywhere except here, now, in the present moment. And usually when we’re in the present moment, a lot of us avoid it because what’s waiting there is sometimes grief, fear, anxiety, or suffering. In fact we kind of live in a day and age where we’re more and more tempted to escape suffering instead of embracing it. We need to be willing to embrace the reality of the human condition, and the reality of this life, even to the point that it moves us to tears, because you can cry from grief and you can also cry from laughter – both require a heart that is so present to the moment that it is willing to be moved to that place. If you’re not present and you’re not free, you can’t get moved. Not only that but fear and anxiety can actually choke off our emotions and so crying is actually a natural involuntary response of our body, our subconscious. We’re getting stuff off our mind, off our chest in a way. And if we’re willing to do that, it creates an environment where we’re more in touch with who we are, and more in touch with the reality our circumstances. When we do that we tend to be more likely to find and experience peace.”

You may have heard about the swan syndrome. This is where everyone looking at you will think you’re all calm, sorted, and just gliding gracefully through life! And yet, just like the swan who’s wee legs will be flapping away to keep it going, under the surface of your outer appearance, things are going absolutely crazy. Your mind is a blur of different things and really you’re just going through the motions. You might be involved in so many things but never really settling. You might be so busy that you’re not sleeping because you’re not having time to wind down. You might be drinking so many energy drinks that you just can’t switch off. This list could go on and on. Things need to change and you need to take time to assess what is most important in your life. Now that might mean some tough choices. I’ve had to make some choices over the last year and have given up some things that I really enjoyed. It was tough. I miss the things I was doing and the people involved in them. But to be honest, I don’t know how I had the time to do them before. Not because I’ve replaced with them other stuff, but because I’ve spent time for me and with my family and friends. Yes, I was happy doing the things I’ve given up, but that doesn’t mean I’m not happy now I’m not doing them!

Dan Gilbert says “Happiness is not a final destination – it is just somewhere you visit on the path of life.”

What that quote is saying is that sometimes you’ll be happy and sometimes you won’t. And as we started this blog, THAT’S OKAY! It’s sad to say that happiness may not last forever in your current setting, but it needs to be acknowledged. That doesn’t mean you should be expecting things to go pear shaped at any minute and so you stop enjoying where you’re at. Please enjoy the moment for what it is. What it does mean is that if that joyous situation does come to an end, you’re ready for it and can pick yourself up with the help of trusted friends, and move forwards.

What I want to do just now is give some key contacts for local and national organisations, but first, here are some key statements from two local organisations that we would recommend:

Falkirk’s Mental Health Association (FDAMH) say “You may feel that there is no hope, but our experience shows us there is. All lives are precious. Don’t feel alone with your thoughts or feel ashamed of struggling, we can all struggle at different times. We are here to listen, without judgement, and to help find a positive solution to what might seem an impossible situation. We offer a range of services that can and do help.”

Quiet Waters Listening and Counselling say: “Do you feel anxious, depressed, angry, sad, hurt, or any of the many difficult emotions that are part of the human experience? Emotions are not good or bad, but they are trying to tell us something. Do you have difficult thoughts whirling around in your head? Is life a struggle? Do you want an opportunity to explore your thoughts and feelings in confidence? We are here if you want to talk through your situation.”

Here are some recommended contact details for you to have for yourself or to pass on to someone who you know that is struggling right now.

FDAMH: 01324 671 600 (Monday to Thursday 10am to 4pm, Friday 10am to 3pm)
Quiet Waters: 01324 630643
The Spark Counselling Falkirk: 0808 802 2088 (Monday to Thursday 9am to 9pm, Friday 9am to 4pm)
Wellbeing Matters: 01324 630 100
Breathing Space: 0800 83 85 87
Samaritans: 116 123
The Campaign Against Living Miserably (support for men): 0800 58 58 58
Childline 0800 1111
Young Minds: text YM to 85258
NHS 24: 111
Emergency Ambulance 999

There is lots of help out there and they are ready and waiting to support you and those you love. Please, let’s ensure no one suffers in silence to the point of complete despair. As our friends at Camerados say, “The answer to our problems is each other”. We have an amazing community spirit across Camelon and Tamfourhill. Let’s continue to build on that and be there for each other.

To finish this week, I encourage you to watch the video below from the World Health Organisation. It’s well worth the 4 minutes it lasts. This was shown to me when I undertook Mental Health First Aid Training a couple of years ago, and I have used it many times since. If you’re struggling with your mental health just now, this may help you understand what is going on in your head. I’ll leave you with the best 5 words I could ever say or have said to me: “I’m here if you need”.

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