This week’s short blog is a call out to all 11 -18-year-olds who live or are connected to Camelon and Tamfourhill. I have begun having street conservations with groups of local young people and I have been encouraging them to complete the young peoples community safety survey: Lets Make Camelon and Tamfourhill a safer and happier place to live. The main issues in the survey, include being safe outdoors in parks, MUGAS and the street, Social Media, travelling about the area and asking what topics or issues would be most useful to learn about through further information sessions and workshops. There is a prize of 4 cinema tickets for a lucky person who has submitted a completed survey, it only takes 5 minutes, and it is the starting point for involving local young people with the new community safety strategy. The strategy through listening to local young people can facilitate new opportunities, services, and activities for young people . The core of this approach is to promote young people’s wellbeing and to empower them to develop and organises the activities that would be best suited to their needs and aspirations. Here is the link :
Please pass this link onto any young people you know and who would be prepared to fill in the survey and there will be further opportunities ,if they are interested, to get more involved with and help design some new local community safety projects.
Last weeks blog focussed on the long summer holidays and how that can be a risky time for our young people as they push their own and other peoples boundaries. My watchwords were “Look out for your mates” After the tragic loss of life in Scotland over the last weekend due to drowning I felt it was appropriate to repeat some of the campaign materials that I published last week, these were: https://www.fearless.org/campaigns/Scotland-summer
The good mental health and wellbeing of our local youth population are critical in making our wider community a safe and enjoyable place to live, so over the coming months I will be highlighting some specific youthful issues that are raised by local young people as they reflect upon their own local community and personal safety.
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.
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?
Summer is here and its holiday time for many and off course the long weeks of the school holidays with what used to feel like endless days of running wild outside and having a whale of a time with your mates. Fond memories and probably a bit over romanticised and there were occasions where you would fall foul of the anger of adults and even the odd meeting with the local police. I was a bit nostalgic when I was speaking to some young people at the Mariner Street MUGA last week, they were off to continue building their den , they had a spade to help dig out their foundations, but they still had time for a kick about and a chat with this old timer. Summer holidays can be a time for young people to be taking risks and later that day I spoke to some lads who were diving into Lock 16 without any care or consideration for their own safety. I did stop for a chat and the guys were respectful and understanding but they were having too much fun to listen to my concerns or the ramblings of this old Fuddy Duddy.
We can easily get over sensitive about some of the risks that our young people put themselves through and I am part of the narrative that complains about cotton wool kids and them spending to much time on computers and with other digital screens. The community is often the best facilitator of our young peoples safety and the Summer Camp being run at Tamfourhill Community Hub is a great example of providing youngsters with challenges and exciting creative activities that are facilitated safely within a supporting nurturing environment. Local people with the commitment , enthusiasm, and skills to support a great summer community programme and this is a great template for the types of youth opportunities that I would like to see supported and developed throughout Camelon and Tamfourhill as part of the wider community safety strategy.
Summer activity programmes and play-schemes have been a solid, safe and reliable aspect for many communities throughout Scotland , however the usual issues have worked against their continued universal delivery; reduced funding, increased bureaucracy and a lack of staff and volunteers. In order to fill some of the community safety gaps that these play-schemes traditionally covered Fearless Scotlandhttps://www.fearless.org/campaigns/Scotland-summer have launched a brand-new summer campaign in partnership with Network Rail It was launched to coincide with the beginning of the school summer holidays. The campaign focuses on empowering young people to stay safe whether they are at home, travelling or away for the day or on holiday. This campaign will run for six weeks and covers a whole host of community safety topics for young people and each specific topic has its own campaign video. Please pass these links onto any young people you know who are out and about in the community through their school summer holidays
For some children and young people, the summer holidays when schools are closed can be a particularly dangerous time for them. Home might not be a safe place – they might be physically hurt there or be neglected.
It is important that if you have any concerns about someone you SPEAK UP. This can be to a trusted adult like your parent/carer, a social worker or youth worker or contact police directly. If you are worried about being at home or if you are being hurt, please call Childline on 0800 1111 or talk to an adult you trust. Or use this link: https://www.fearless.org/give-info
We have two busy railway lines going though Camelon and Tamfourhill, railway tracks, embankments and land around the railway track are common areas for young people to mischievously stray onto when they are playing, and not necessarily to do any harm as this clip illustrates: https://youtu.be/wk19PbCokHk
And finally, those long summer holidays and light nights are often when young people might start experimenting with alcohol and substances and we should not underestimate the pressure that inexperienced youngsters can be put under
Let’s not get matters out of proportion , summer holidays are the best, memories may be fading but they remain positive and to be cherished , lets support our young people to make the most of their local environment, enjoy their holidays and encourage the positive social learning that can be facilitated through running wild in our parks and open green spaces.
IF YOU NEED HELP:
Police Scotland can be contacted 24/7 – for non-emergencies call 101 or in an emergency call 999
If you are on a train and want to report a non-emergency incident you can text BTP on 61016 and tell them what has happened.
Childline can help you if you are worried or feeling low. You can call them on 0800 1111 or visit their website childline.org.uk
Whatever you are doing this summer, stay safe and remember to look outfor your mates.
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?
I want to pick up from last week’s blog review to focus upon some aspects of the community safety strategy that will be implemented over the next few weeks. I have begun going walkabout around the local area and although this is a fit and healthy pursuit at any time it does have a real purpose with some extremely specific aims. I am implementing a period of detached youth work along with volunteers from Tamfourhill Community Hub and this work is intended to be a good and effective way of getting to know some of the local young people whilst also gaining insight and an understanding of their perspectives and issues. This will be achieved through face-to-face contact on the streets and in the local parks. I have begun with a mapping and getting to know the area approach and in the last couple of weeks I have been accompanying a colleague from Falkirk Councils Community Housing Estates Team to show me around the community and understand their remit in terms of identifying and dealing with litter, fly tipping, dog pooh mess and anti-social behaviour. This builds on some sessions I had carried out after the first lockdown back in October and November last year. The main focus of this streetwork will be to establish contact with young people, get to know them and then listen to their views, perspectives, and issues around community safety. I have spent many previous years with managing detached and outreach youth work projects and that experience should prove beneficial to establishing some creditable and trusting relationships with the young people of this manor. This is not a quick fix approach, and it will take several weeks to establish some trust and rapport. The next stage will be to then begin to look at some of their main issues which the community safety plan can address whilst also facilitating new opportunities for our local young people to play a positive and constructive role with the wider development of their own community. Although my streetwork sessions will have a young person focusI also want to speak and listen to any local people , young , old and everything in-between who want to discuss community safety or any community issues that the feel are especially relevant. Please come and have a chat, I might not always have all the answers, but I should know where to get the information you require or who the best contact might be. I will initially be targeting the following locations: Easter Carmuirs Park and the Mariner Street MUGA, Towpath at the Forth & Clyde Canal, Carpark, and the surrounding streets at CJFC, Nailer park and Telford Square and Tamfourhill. My first priority will be in and around Easter Carmuirs Park so please come and say hello and there are specific projects that will be getting progressed and they include the provision of improved play facilities and a young people’s MUGA with associated youth facilities and asking if providing organised sports sessions based within the park would be a worthwhile and welcomed development.
Street A Week:
Some people may recall back in 2019, before my time, the street a week initiative that was operational in Camelon and Tamfourhill. It has been suggested to me that this would be a good type of Project to replicate or at least deliver some of the more successful aspects of the previous scheme. This would see the key agencies, including the Police, Falkirk Council, The Fire Service, local Drugs agencies and voluntary organisations coming into a few streets over a week to listen to local people’s concerns, issues, and priorities. This would be more than a listening exercise and as all the main agencies will be directly involved, we would therefore hope that effective and quick responses could be made to current or ongoing community safety matters and at a very localised level. I am currently meeting with the main partner agencies, but I would also welcome community input from the outset. The Key Outcomes that I hope to be able to move forward are: The community having an improved sense of security and reassurance about their homes and property, facilitate greater confidence in the local agencies and to improve partnership working between the community and the different agencies .Through this Project I am looking to establish a local community safety forum which would meet regularly, would involve all the key local agencies and which would be focused on problem solving and delivering positive change for the community. The current timeline is to try and start delivering this Project in the Autumn of this year.
The Canal Clear up:
As you will be aware the canal clear ups have been remarkably successful, and this project has been made possible though funding that was provided by Great Places Falkirk Project through funding provided the Heritage Lottery Fund. There are 2 summer holiday sessions operating , one is for young people on the 21st of July, there are only a few places available for this, but we also have a family session scheduled for Saturday 14th August , this is the weekend before the schools return and it would be a really groovy[JH1] , interesting and special family day to finish of the school holiday . If you are interested in the concluding canal clear up sessions, then please get in touch with myself directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone me on 07391524528
I want to use this week’s community safety blog to provide an update of where we are in terms of delivering the recently agreed strategy and in terms of developing and supporting local community safety projects. Needles to say as lockdown restrictions ease the more, I have been able to get out and about and engage directly with the local community and various groups.
#tidycleangreen has been active throughout lockdown and the monthly community litter picks have been an especially useful way to get out and get some exercise and fresh air and indeed socialise with other folks. It has been very heartening to have worked closely with both local primary schools and Camelon Early learning and Childcare centre, all the young volunteers took part in community litter picks and in different workshops where they learnt about the importance of looking after the environment and keeping the local community tidy, clean, and green. We also worked jointly with the Discovering Antoine Wall Heritage Lottery Project on a historical themed litter pick and joined up with Forth Environment Link and Dan the Community Coach with the Veg Your ledge Workshops at the Brown Street and Nailer parks. The Canal Clear ups have made a significant difference to the water quality and the tow path, again we facilitated various learning sessions to accompany the paddle pick-ups and the funding provided by Great Place Falkirk has had an impact on the local environment and allowed local community groups and the schools to engage and learn about the importance of the canal to the local communities social history and industrial past. Future plans include the siting and construction of Pop -up Parks at some of our local notorious grot spots and to this end local volunteers have submitted a proposal to the community choices fund, and we positively await the outcome of the recent vote. The Tidy, Clean and Green Campaign will be constituted as a local community group who will then take the project, including the community growing, anti-littering and Pop-up Park facets of the campaign forward as a sustainable new local project. An important role for the Group will be liaising with services within Falkirk Council and other agencies with the view to making and keeping the local area much cleaner and to speak on behalf of the wider community on relevant issues. I am pleased to announce that this approach will see the introduction of bin sensors to the street bins around Camelon and Tamfourhill, and this should enable Cleansing to better schedule when they should be uplifted, identify the best and most effective locations for them to be placed and provide important details about what is causing problems at particular bin locations, e.g. why are particular bins being filled so quickly to overflowing, these sensors over time should contribute to keeping the local streets litter free and generally cleaner.
The Tamfourhill Recovery Community Drop-in and environmental programme: It was a pleasure to attend the recent launch of the Forth Valley Recovery Communities opening of their drop in facility based at Tamfourhill Community Hub. This initiative is a partnership which developed from the agreed local community safety priority of providing community-based responses to some of the difficulties and problems arising from substance and alcohol misuse. There was a visible gap in local provisions around recovery from addictions and dependencies and this is the first stage in beginning to address that situation. A key success to date has been the Recovery communities involvement with local clear ups and litter picks and this visibility has been highly praised by local tenants. An important part of their approach has been the positivise peer support which has encouraged members to get actively involved with their own local community. The environmental programme that operates from the Hub will be supported through the community safety strategy and the intention will be to develop this provision in partnership as we move forward. The drop-in is on every Monday from 10am, with the café facility opening at 1pm, everybody is very welcome so please either contact myself directly or speak to Forth Valley Recovery Community
Community Safety Projects at the Camelon Juniors Car Park area: I have really enjoyed being able to get out and meet with local people face to face and the engagement process at this location has been generally positive with lots of constructive suggestions as to how this space can be better used for community benefit and made to feel much safer. I have been working closely with Mark Bleakley of Camelon Arts who is also working on an All Games Allowed project which will contribute to the overall community safety themes that will be implemented around the car park. This Project will be about partnership at every level, and I hope to be able to coordinate several creative and landscaping inputs for the areas development involving several local community groups and organisations. We recently had a great mornings discussions when we attended the Love Falkirk Food Pantry inside the football ground, there were lots of positive engagements and a real willingness from local people to get involved with projects as they get confirmed, agreed, and developed. I would want to emphasise that there will be no developments at this location without the support of the local community and the tenants who live in the immediate vicinity of the car park and its surrounding area, and the long-term success of this project will be absolutely reliant on community support and involvement.
Safer streets and active travel at Easter Carmuirs Primary School: I have been working closely with the school’s Parent Council and there are positive developments happening with the SUSTRANS Pocket Places Programme and I hope to be able to announce some incredibly good news about new innovative community safety projects which will hopefully be created around the streets and entrance to the school.
Youth engagement and giving local young people a voice in community safety: I am beginning the process of getting to know some of the local young people who are using the local parks and in particular the MUGA on Mariner Avenue and I want to involve them with various community development projects. This week I will be about Easter Carmuirs Park with a colleague form the Councils Estates Team and I am hoping to speak to park users about their aspirations for the park and their thoughts about the next phase of the parks development. I will also be about the Canal tow path and around Nailer Park so please if you see at any of these locations please do not hesitate to come over for a chat as I am very eager to hear first-hand what local people think and want to see in their community that can contribute to making the area a safer and happier place to live and play.
The Street a Week Scheme Some people may recall back in 2019, before my time, the street a week initiative that was operational in Camelon and Tamfourhill. It has been suggested to me that this would be a good type of Project to replicate or at least deliver some of the more successful aspects of the previous scheme. This would see the key agencies, including the Police, Falkirk Council, The Fire Service, local Drugs agencies and voluntary organisations coming into a few streets over a week to listen to local peoples concerns, issues and priorities This would be more than a listening exercise and as all the main agencies were actively involved, we would hope that effective and quick responses could be made to current or ongoing community safety matters and at a very localised level. I will keep the community updated with this initiative, currently I am meeting with the main partner agencies, but I would welcome community input from the outset, and I will therefore focus on this particular project in much greater detail in a future Community Safety Blog.
Community Safety Question of the Month: To end this week could you please take a minute to answer this months poll about whether the bins on Clarinda Street should stay or go: Click on the link to have your say. Full results will be published on the Our Place Social Media Platform
For my blog this week, I’d like to introduce you to Falkirk Council’s Employment Training Unit. They exist to help Falkirk residents who are unemployed or under-employed to gain the work experience and qualifications they need to compete in the job market. Here’s some images to help get to grips with who they are and what they can do (click on each image to make it larger):
So what does this mean for you as the good people of Camelon and Tamfourhill?
Basically, if you want to get into work for the first time, return to work after a break or a change in circumstances (whether forced or unforced), or a wanting a change in career, this is a place to get training, advice, support, guidance, etc to help you do just that. They also have a specific programme for Parents looking at their working options, plus the Fair Start Scotland programme for supporting getting into work generally. They can run a “Better off in work calculation” to let you understand how things could be better for you in work than on benefits. On top of all this, they also have a range of training courses for specific skills but also to help you gain more confidence and be able to manage yourself better.
The Employment and Training Unit (ETU) provides its services to all ages, whether leaving school, returning to work or changing career. While there are set programmes, the service is made relevant to each person in a way that works for you. You may need a more tailored training and support service due to your current circumstances and we can ensure you get all the specialist support and advice needed to move into the right job at the right time.
Also, for any employers reading this, there are incentives to employing people who are being supported by the ETU. It’s well worth checking this out if you’re looking for new staff at any time.
Our aim here at OPCT is to bring the support available from the ETU, right here to the local area. This will be in the form of training courses at one of our local Centres, and drop-in local information sessions where you can find out what support or training you can access that is relevant to you, without having to go too far to get the information you need. We’re currently working through making this safe and compliant with restrictions, but wanted to make you aware that this will be happening as soon as possible. As they say … watch this space! This will also be a great add on to our own impaCT 1 to 1 Coaching service.
For now though, why not have a look at what is on offer from our new friends at the Employment Training Unit, or get in touch with them direct. All the contact details are below
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 Club – Full 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 Club – Transformation 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’s – Barnardo’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 Park – Renovation 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 Organisation – outdoor 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.
Although my primary focus is local and community based it is also useful and important to be aware of national developments, trends and ongoing research and insights, I often ask the question: how do we as a community fit with wider national concerns and issues?
A major piece of community safety research was published last month, carried out by Mainstreet Consulting, and commissioned by SCSN. There are 4 separate but overlapping research projects which have now been concluded and it was Project (2) that I felt was of most interest: What makes a community safe? And related to that mapping out how the relationships across the partners can support safer communities.
Community safety is complex and involves an extensive array of interconnected factors, some local some national and in this high-tech age some are virtual and online. These factors all interact with each other, and it is therefore a massive challenge to identify absolute certainties or present any type of template for making our community safer.
The research involved focus groups, a questionnaire, and the direct involvement of members of the Scottish Community Safety Network (SCSN) it was therefore national and detailed. A safer community was found to be based upon the principle of personal safety and safety within the public realm. This is explained as a person being at risk of harm due to the risks they encounter within the community where they live, it is about their personal relationships, their personal circumstances, their behaviour, and stage of life. A safer community will then have to deal with these micro issues and localised concerns, these can even be online. Community safety was found to be complex and was impacted by national, local, and specific neighbourhood-based factors.
The research confirmed that safety means different things to different people but there was three generally identifiable components:
Seen to be safe: – quality of the environment is a big factor, this is about the appearance of local areas: in particular; dark streets, graffiti, dog fouling, derelict property and neglected green spaces, these are especially important factors for making people feel safe. When applying this to our own local community safety strategy that fits well with our Keeping Camelon and Tamfourhill Tidy, clean, and Green. #tidycleangreen
Felt to be safe: This is about the fear of crime and the need for reassurance, it’s very difficult to make people feel safer by explaining the actual nature of the risks when that is being negated by the mass media and social media amplifying particular issues like crime and public disorder. Our local strategy highlights the community having an improved sense of security and reassurance.
Understood to be safe. the importance of basic information about safety within communities was noted frequently and it was found that communities valued knowing where to go to get support and advice and knowing that something will get done. This is a great fit with the local strategies key outcome of Local people having greater confidence in the agencies that deliver relevant services and in particular the local intention to re-establish the successful street a week multi-agency project.
Other significant factors that were found to impact upon a community’s safety is its sense of place, where a positive sense of identify and pride in the area were massive factors, this relates well with our own Key Outcome of Improving community cohesion and a theme crossing several of these outcomes is to support various community development projects which will facilitate further local ownership and improved responsibility and pride in our local areas, parks, and community facilities.
The final factor highlighted by some of the respondents was poverty and inequality and how this can badly damage a community’s sense of safety through exasperating local criminality and anti-social behaviour and undermining mental health and wellbeing. This is a social structural challenge and requires macro political interventions however we should also be aware of strategies and projects that tackle poverty as being necessary and absolutely fundamental to improving the sense of safety and wellbeing within a community.
Finally, this research project looked at how best to engage with communities, there was an acknowledgment that this was a basic and necessary part of any community safety strategy, but there were clear warning signs articulated about the dangerous and destructive tendency of tokenism, it is well worth quoting directly from the summary report:
There is the danger of community consultation’ being tokenistic, the risk of giving attention to
those that shout the loudest rather than those in the greatest
need, lack of the resources required to involve communities
using the imaginative and sustained approaches required to
achieve the greatest success and relatively low levels of
confidence and experience in digital communication as a
tool to support community engagement
I hope and believe that our own strategy has avoided this pitfall and is inclusive and representative of the actual circumstances in Camelon and Tamfourhill, the success of our approach will be through participation and local people taking ownership of the projects and initiatives. I believe we are moving in the right direction and the underpinning of the community safety strategy is empowerment and local ownership.
I was relaxing the other evening watching “Later… with Jools Holland” when he introduced a song from UK jazz musician Emma-Jean Thackray. She’s quite a talent, being listed as a composer, producer, multi-instrumentalist, singer, bandleader and DJ! The style of music hooked me in and I was really taken by the use of a sousaphone by one of the musicians – not something you see every day! But it was the title that really got me thinking and became the seed for this week’s blog (not what you really want at 1030 on a Friday evening but that’s my commitment to you!).
Just think about the song title for a second – Don’t just speak … say something.
I wonder what thoughts that has brought to your mind. Feel free to share either in the comments or by messaging me directly. But for me, its about making sure that whatever comes out of my mouth is worthwhile, helpful, and not just said for the sake of it – that the language I use is to build up not to knock down. I could also apply that to this blog, where I try to put out useful material that will be of interest to you. I’m really grateful for the positive feedback I’ve received from readers which is helpful in knowing this blog is not just reaching people but is having the desired results. I accept that the subject each week will not be for everyone, and the same can be said for some of the things we generally want to say in life. Is this really something that everyone around you needs to hear or is this us just voicing a thought in our head that we really just need to work through ourselves or in a specific conversation directly with someone?
So, let’s look at this in relation to our daily lives. What are we speaking or saying generally? As we’re chatting to people at the school gate, in the shops, on the bus? What about when we’re ‘chatting’ to people on line or making a social media status update? Are we just speaking for the sake of it or are we actually saying something?
While we ponder all that, here’s the lyrics from Emma-Jean Thackray’s song:
Open your eyes before you open your mouth. Stick out your tongue and let me look inside. I want to find what’s down your throat. Open your heart to open up your mind.
Those pearly whites do they really shine? Are they even real? They look too bright. I want to find what’s deep inside. If you must speak, show us your mind.
Don’t just speak… Say something.
Blogger Reno Omokri says “Don’t speak because you want to say something. Speak because you have something to say. The more you talk just to say something, the more your listeners lose respect for you. The more you talk because you have something to say, the more they gain respect for you. And when listening to people, don’t focus only on their words, or you may miss out on what they‘re really communicating. Pay attention to their demeanour, their eye contact, or lack of it, etc. People lie with their spoken language, but hardly with their body language.”
I’d say that really sums it up, so you’ll be pleased to know I don’t have a lot more to add!! But I think the timing of this is really important as we’re beginning to move back to higher levels of activity and therefore more interaction with people. For those who haven’t necessarily had much direct human interaction over the last year, conversations may have been extremely limited, so this is a good time to remember even how to interact with others.
And the other side of this is actually looking at the person you’re talking to. As Emma-Jean says in the opening line of her song “open your eyes before you open your mouth”. What can you tell about the other person before you speak? Are they actually in the right frame of mind to hear what you feel you want to say?
It’s also important to understand that this doesn’t just refer to the general statements you say, but also the questions you ask. By that I mean asking the right kind of questions that will help you get the answers you need – and bear in mind they might not be the answers you’d like! Business advisor Belinda Lui says “The problem is, most of us ask terrible questions. We talk too much and accept bad answers (or worse, no answers). We’re too embarrassed to be direct, or we’re afraid of revealing our ignorance, so we throw softballs and miss out on opportunities to grow.”
This is a key part of our impaCT coaching programme during which our coaches will actually help you to ask the right questions of yourself and then to work towards finding and understanding the answers for yourself. It will help you to move towards your potential which includes how to interact better with others. There’s more information on all of this on our coaching page.
So as I close for this week, let’s all just think more about what we say, how we say it, and why we are saying it – both in person and online. And let’s give as much value to listening as we do to speaking. These are huge parts of community life that will further build on our community spirit as we regain the art of truly meaningful conversation.
Until next time, if you want, here’s Emma-Jean’s song for you to listen to!