Community Safety activities this October Holidays.

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

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

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

The October Paddle Pick up with the Tamfourfhill Youth Group

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

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

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

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

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

Community safety workshop with local young people

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

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


Gather and Play: A Community Safety Event:

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

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

Food & Drink will be provided free of charge.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In addition

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

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

coach, community, development, resilience, Support


Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 7 October 2021

What does it mean to be empowered?

Is it something that is done to you? Something you can learn to do? Or something you grow within yourself, for yourself?

Your view on those questions could determine whether or not you’re going to like this blog!

Empowerment has become a real buzz word of late. It’s the new big thing in so many circles of life but especially in community work. But have we all understood it properly or are some of us using it as a way around things? Will it make your project look better if you talk about empowerment. If you give this opportunity/activity/programme/facility/building to the community you’ll be empowering them. It’s time to think again.

I promised myself that this blog would not become a rant and I will stick to that, but you’ll maybe pick up the sentiment in that last paragraph as a sense of my feelings. So let me be very clear. Just passing something on to a community or individual is not empowering them. It is passing the buck and potentially, setting them up to fail.

So what really is this empowerment thing. Quite simply, it can only be done to you, by you. No one else can empower you and while we’re on it, no else has the right to dis-empower you. You, as an individual have to feel empowered. And that comes by increasing the control you have over your own life. People can help you to do that, but ultimately you are the only person who can empower you. So, if you’re sitting there waiting to be empowered – STOP! Start working at feeling empowered.

It has been said that this empowerment thing is about what matters to you, not what is the matter with you. Can you hear the difference there? This is about your desires, not your issues. Cormac Russell, Managing Director of Nurture Development and the oracle on Asset Based Community Development that I’ve spoken of many times before, says it is about “what you have, rather than what you don’t have – what you can contribute rather than what you can receive.” He says this is about individuals using their head, hearts, hands etc – their talents, skills and passions. So in other words, rather than sitting back and waiting for others to do things around you, what can you do to contribute? It may not be huge and it doesn’t have to be, but as a place you probably know well says regularly: “Every little helps”.

One crucial point I need to make here. We often see government – both local council and national government – doing what communities can do. Cormac Russell simply says “get out of the way and let [the community] do it, but resource them where necessary – don’t just pull out without checking they can actually do it sustainably.” So this brings me back to my point earlier. Those who think they are in positions of authority (Maff Potts of Camerados reminds me that we are all in authority) should not just think they can walk away and leave communities to get on with stuff. They need to check that the skills exist in the community. That the desire, longevity and sustainability can be found in the community. Where support is needed – provide it, whether that be in person or financially. Where guidance is needed – supply it either directly or through signposting and partnership. Where things are needed to be brought up to a workable standard before they can be passed on – do whatever is needed.

This all centres around stuff I’ve been banging on about for ages. Work with communities. Work alongside individuals. Involve people.

So how can you begin to feel this empowerment for yourself? Well that’s a very good question and one that I would love to help you answer because the process and destination will be very different for each one of you. Would you let me have the honour of sitting with you to help you find answers to the questions you are posing, and help you to begin to feel empowered within yourself and move further towards your potential? How do we do this? I’m glad you asked! Contact me about 1 to 1 coaching sessions and I will tell you all you need to know. For now, there’s some info through that link and on the flyer below. I look forward to working alongside you in this.

Until next time…..

Dan Rous
Community Coach
07444 873151


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

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

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

The full community safety strategy can be found here:

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Partners  who will be there:

Local Community organisations will also be in attendance including:

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

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

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 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


National #CarFreeDay

Reallocation of Street Space and safer use of our neighbourhoods

not a car to be seen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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coach, community, development, Our Place, Support


Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 23 September 2021

What will people think of you when you’re gone? Okay, that’s maybe not a cheerful question to ask you so let me put it another way. What impact are you having on those around you right now? If asked, how would people describe you? Now I know the answer to the last one will probably be “it depends on who you’re asking”! But think generally. How would people describe you based on your contribution to your family, the community or even the wider society?

Regular readers of this blog will know I have often focussed on how people are getting involved in the community – or rather, how I can support them to do so. You will also know that I mention that not just for the fun of it, but because I genuinely want to support people to grow and in turn, for the community, and the activities within it, to grow. My personal mission statement has for some time been “developing projects that enable people and communities to be developed” and I have been personally blessed over the years to see so many people get involved and move into whatever a positive destination looks like for them.

So, back to the question I started with but in another different way – what will your legacy be? What impact are you having now, that will be remembered by others in years to come? What project are you involved with that is creating positive memories for others? In the video below, Simon Sinek talks about this and reminds us that often we won’t even know the impact we’re having on people in our lifetime. That leads me to another angle on this. If someone is having a positive impact on your life right now or has in the past and you’re still in touch, please go and tell them now! Don’t wait until you’re at their funeral to share your memories. Its so wonderful when people tell you how you’ve impacted their lives and will actually make you feel great too for doing so. We did an exercise in the THRIVE to Keep Well session this week where everyone got a Self Esteem Tree filled with comments that the other group members wrote about them. It was amazing to see the reactions from the members as they heard such lovely comments about themselves – some of which they may not have thought was true or certainly hadn’t heard said to them for a while. The power of that moment was immense so please, make any impact known to those who are helping you, or even just say something nice and encouraging to someone you come into contact with today.

But back to how we actually create a positive legacy. You can watch the video below but I’ll also pull out some key points as I see them. Sinek talks about how we play what he refers to as the “game of life” and what impact we will have depending on what rules we set to playing this game. He talks about our choice of having a finite or infinite mindset to life. Okay, fancy words here, but quite simply, finite means being pretty much closed off within your own world with your own needs in mind, whereas infinite means you have a wider outlook on things. He says, if we choose to have a finite mindset, our focus is “I’m going to be number one. I’m going to make every decision as to what will pay me more, what will get me more power and what will get me more influence.” If that is all we focus on, we can very easily end up lonely, stressed and having various health related issues. Our circle of friends is likely to be very very small.

I know I’ve made wrong decisions before about jobs, but I’ve also made some really good ones based on what impact the job can have and not at all on how much it pays me. What that is about is, to return to Sinek’s wording, playing the game of life with an infinite mindset. This means, he says, “we live our lives with the knowledge that we will die, and we want to leave this world, our families our friends, in better shape than when we found them.” This all might sound a bit morbid, but really, deep down, we want people to have good things to say about us when we’re gone. To enable that to happen, we need to start building the legacy right now.

Sinek goes on to say that “so many people think about their legacies at their end of their lives, when they face their own mortality – that’s the problem. Only when they face their mortality do they start thinking about legacy and giving it all away. … Why not live your entire life thinking about your legacy, meaning what impact will we have on the lives of others. No one wants to be remembered for the amount of money they made. No one wants on their tombstone the last balance on their bank account or the title on their business card. We want to be remembered for the impact we had on the lives of others.” (Have a watch of the short video below.)

So what can you be involved in that will help create that amazing legacy? You may already be doing it which is great – let me thank you right now for what you’re doing. But for those of you reading this who aren’t sure what legacy you’re creating or even how you can create something, then give me a shout. I would love to be able to coach you so that you find the answers to the questions you’re asking – and even to those questions you don’t know you need to be asking! Get in touch, and let’s create some amazing legacies for ourselves and for this community of ours.

Until next time.. ..

Dan Rous
Community Coach
07444 873151


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

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

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

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

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

Easter Hill a children’s wilderness amongst the houses

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

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

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

Image source: Scottish Community Development Centre website


Creating safer spaces in Camelon and Tamfourhill

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

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

As I have described  in my recent community safety blog: ,

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

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

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

An alcohol snapshot for young people

The Plan going forward:

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

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

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