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

The power of Collaboration

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 25 November 2021

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time….

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

community, development, employment, funding, Support, training

Falkirk’s Funded Job Scheme

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 18 November 2021

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

The Basics

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

Employee Eligibility

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

Scheme Details

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

Request to organisations

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

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

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

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

Until next time…

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

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

Fun in the Park – Easter Carmuirs

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 21 October 2021

I’ve mentioned a lot about the event this Sunday afternoon in Easter Carmuirs Park on our social media channels, but I just wanted to take time in this space to highlight one thing that we’ll be promoting.

Back in 2017, consultations took place about potential developments for Easter Carmuirs Park. This led to a draft masterplan being pulled together with support from the Central Scotland Green Network (now Green Action Trust) from which funding was sourced for a first phase of works. In 2019, that funding paid for the network of paths, trees, and other planting. Contrary to some peoples thinking (that we’ve tried so hard to correct), there was no left over funding from this. At that time, there was an attempt to set up a Tenants and Residents Association that gathered some good initial traction but sadly, due to lack of interest from locals, it fell to the wayside and has since been officially shut down by the council due to the lack of activity. The intention had been for that Association to take the lead on future developments in the park from the Masterplan but obviously that hasn’t happened.

So, it’s time to try something new.

We are keen to support the development of a Friends of Easter Carmuirs Park group. This would be a group for local residents and other park users who could take the lead in future developments of the park. It would have the full support from myself and John in getting established and accessing appropriate training as needed. It would be provided with all relevant contacts and information about the park, and would have the ability, with our support at least initially, to shape a prosperous community-focused future for the Park, including developing a wide range of regular community activities. It would be the route for shaping how the park looks and what facilities are available based on local needs and aspirations. This may be similar or different to the original masterplan as people have begun to understand and use the park differently, but it may still have some of the original elements that were thought necessary. In short though, if people want to see future developments in the Easter Carmuirs Park, then this is the group to get involved with otherwise very little, if anything, will happen.

So who will step up?

Previous editions of this blog have addressed the topics of “Why Bother” and “Why Not” to help people’s mindset on community development. This new group is just one opportunity for people to answer those Why? questions and get involved. This is a time to stop moaning that nothing happens or that there aren’t any suitable facilities (which we would agree with by the way) and actually get involved to make something happen.

If you don’t feel you have the necessary skills – we can sort that.
If you don’t feel you have the time – there will be roles and tasks at various levels. Even having someone supporting from the sidelines will be key for this new group.
If you think you’re too old or young – nonsense!
If you think it’s a waste of time – please speak to me to allow me to try to help you think otherwise.
If you don’t think anything will come of this – well it won’t unless people actually get involved.

So, if you can get down to the event on Sunday afternoon between 1 and 4pm, come and have a chat with me and add your name to the list of interested people. (Don’t worry if no-one else has put their name down – someone needs to be first!). If you can’t get to the event but are interested in finding out more, then please get in touch with me – contact details are at the foot of this blog – and we can have a chat. I’ll pull a meeting together for interested parties in the coming weeks. Putting your name on the list for attending the meeting does not mean you have to be involved. But it’s a start, to see what could be involved and whether or not you could be involved yourself. Remember my blog the other week talking about a Community Revolution? I repeat what I said then: Let’s stop just talking about community matters and remember that communities matter. Let’s change the emphasis – together.

I look forward to working with members of this new group to bring more positive change in the area. Hopefully see some of you at the event on Sunday!

Until next time….

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

coach, community, development, resilience, Support

Empowered?

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
communitycoach@tamfourhilltro.co.uk

coach, community, development, Our Place, Support

Legacy

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
communitycoach@tamfourhilltro.co.uk

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

Communities Matter

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 16 September 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time….

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

Image source: Scottish Community Development Centre website

community, development, resilience, Support

Need some inspiration?

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 9 September 2021

On Tuesday of this week, I was privileged to be part of the facilitation team for a Scottish focussed UK Jamboree for Asset Based Community Development, or ABCD as it’s easier to call it! I’ve spoken about this method of community work in a previous blog, and this online Jamboree was a chance to celebrate all that is good about communities.

The first UK gathering happened around 6 months ago and an outcome from that was to have regionally run gatherings, showcasing all that was great and good in different areas to a wider audience. A Scottish team was quickly established and together we set about to plan an event that would be the first one in the baton passing format. So I joined a team that included Community Development workers from the Strathcarron Hospice Compassionate Communities team, a Community Coordinator from Corra Foundation based in the West of Scotland, and the founder of Village in the City in Edinburgh. We quickly assembled a plan with some speakers, 2 of whom would do 20 minutes and 4 would do 5 minutes. This meant we could squeeze as much great stuff into the half day session as possible.

Just short of 100 people gathered for the event from around the whole UK and beyond – including from Bulgaria, Poland, Portugal and South Africa! All of them gathered for a good time of celebration but I don’t think any of us were prepared for just how inspired and enthused we were going to be. So here’s some highlights from each of the speakers that I picked up and hopefully they’ll inspire and enthuse you as well.

Cormac Russell, Nurture Development
Cormac is the go to guy for all things ABCD and pulled the first UK Jamboree together. He kicked things off with a few words of welcome. He spoke about the power of people and reminded us that it’s all about the process, not just the product. This all relates wonderfully to how you just engage with and work alongside people towards a goal, but how because of the strengths and ideas people bring, the end goal may be different to what was first thought out. The journey to get there strengthens the community to sustain whatever the outcome was. He also encouraged us to stay “in trouble” and quoted from the Leonard Cohen song, Anthem: “Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget the perfect offering. There is a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” (I’ll put the full song video at the end of the blog). As always, simply brilliant from Cormac.

Fiona McKenzie, CentreStage
This is an arts project in Kilmarnock but really is so much more than that. Fiona spoke of creating a Welcoming Happy Place where people write their own stories. They even received some funding from a regular funder to “do something” and the outcomes were worked out later. The aim being that the Centre users had the say in what developed. The key quote here being that “choice brings empowerment”. How often have I mentioned about stopping doing stuff to people but just work alongside them and let them lead the way? This project is a shining example of that.

Tamsin Ferrier, Denny Poppies
Tamsin is a resident in Denny who, during Lockdown, had the idea of creating a Remembrance Day project that was similar to something achieved in her original home town. She admitted she has lots of ideas but struggles to keep quiet! (we know a few people like that too!) The amazing thing about this project was the ripple effect created by such a simple idea to make poppies to decorate the town. Tamsin spoke of how the project overcame negativity (you know the type – don’t do that because it’ll get wrecked), by simply focusing on the positives. Oh yeah, and not one poppy got wrecked. The takeaway message was this: “By everyone doing a little bit, we can make a huge, huge difference to where we live”. Brilliant.

Frances Park, Carbrain & Hillcrest Community Council
We heard about how real support for people in this area of Cumbernauld grew out of a frustration that every other support process was a referral system. Frances told us how they needed to support each other – they needed a voice – so they just started a swap shop. And from what started out as covid support, they now have a funded Development Worker and a Community Hub!

Lynne Boslem, Tamfourhill Community Hub
We heard of the journey from a group of 8 parents wanting a club for their children, to the amazing community resource that exists now and is still growing. Lynne spoke of the desire to truly meet the needs of the community but also about the challenges to learn things really quickly especially when it comes to asset transfer. Many were impressed with the Play Park, so an influx of visitors is to be expected! Although with many asking if adults can use the zip wire, they may have to supervise things closely!!

Leah Davcheva, Dragalevtsi, Sofia, Bulgaria
Reflecting the true European nature of Scotland, this project was highlighted as it is an outpost of the Edinburgh based “Village in the City” project. Leah spoke of “sparkling moments” from their project called The Triangle, where a community garden project has created so many opportunities for the people in the area. One resident said that they “spoke with people I had previously seen only behind car windows”. Leah added that the very fact that we know each others names is, I think, an achievement.

Sam Green / Mia McGregor, Creative Stirling / The Cube Project
Mia told us how her creative arts project was born out of frustration. She was fed up with always having to tick boxes, so decided to turn a box into something positive. From the grand total of £400 that she scraped together, 3 years later over 23,000 have engaged with the project and have had creativity sparked within them. She added that the cube works better if there’s no specific question and people can just take part and connect. Sam added that when we get to know each other, we treat each other better. Enough said!

Astoundingly, while the speakers were just selected because they were great, a couple of clear themes were picked up by people in the zoom chat and on twitter. Firstly that you only need a tiny spark of inspiration to make a huge difference. Secondly, getting to know people for who they are can really change a community. In fact one quote on the chat was “the more people in a community know each other by their first name, the safer that community is”. And that’s how simple developing a community can be – bring people together, help them to get to know each other properly and talk about their strengths. It’s about genuine relationships and connection.

There are many challenges within this way of thinking to those that think they hold the power and are perhaps perceived to be the ones who can make a difference. Nothing can happen without people so why don’t we turn things around and come together properly as local people and show them how it’s done. You have the real power. At the risk of repeating myself yet again, let’s stop looking for the negative and focus on the positive by creating even more new positives. (And for the record, all 20 trees are still growing nicely in the ground where the Tidy Clean Green volunteers planted them almost a month ago).

The tide is turning for the better but there is still so much to do – still more of you to meet – still more names we all need to get to know. Those who are getting involved already need some wing men/women. Who’s up for it? Come and join the growing Camelon and Tamfourhill community revolution.

Until next time, as promised, I’ll leave you with that Leonard Cohen song I mentioned above.

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

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

Busy busy busy

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 2 September 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time

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

community, development, Mental Health, Our Place, resilience, Support, training

Hakuna Matata

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 26 August 2021

Have you ever had times when despite the best planning, things just don’t work out as you hope? Those days when life throws you a few curve balls?

What do you do when that happens? How do you cope? Do you plough on through, or stick your head in the sand?

For me, this week has been one of those weeks. I won’t bore you with the details but it’s mainly been things to do with family (mostly the children), injuries, Test and Protect, and various unplanned journeys. Life stuff coming thick and fast at the same time that working here as a Community Coach is getting busier! Juggling has become harder. Stress has tried to disrupt things.

Now I’m not typing this to get sympathy (unless you want to!). I’m mentioning it to try to be of help!

I have the privilege of being one of the facilitators for the NHS THRIVE to Keep Well Programme being run for the first time in Falkirk. Colleagues from Community Learning and Development are joining me, plus support and input will come from Artlink Central, Forth Environment Link and others. The programme supports local adults who are experiencing mild to moderate mental health and wellbeing challenges. It was developed to assist individuals to rebuild their lives by increasing their skills, knowledge and awareness of their own personal health and wellbeing and aims to support participants to feel more integrated into their community by helping build positive social networks, improve personal development, and support participants to develop their own social and economic lives.

Through this programme, amongst other things, we introduce relaxation and try to understand what triggers stress within each individual. We will help each individual to move towards whatever a positive destination looks like for them.

So far, having had the intro and first full session, stuff has happened outside of the group to try to throw stress at us. In part it’s worked in distracting one or other of the facilitators. But overall, with the strength the group has found already, it has not brought us down! Bizarrely, Session 2 has sessions on the causes and triggers of stress! It will be good to have some practical examples to deliver to the group!

So what do we do? How do we get through this? Honestly, I don’t know! But this blog is meant to be of help so let me try. In reality, the answer is going to be different for each individual but let me throw out one solution. This might seem a little simplistic, but I believe this is a destination to work towards for all of us. Here goes…

Have you watched The Lion King? I love it and we’ve been lucky enough to see it at the theatre too where it takes on a whole new perspective. But I want to pull out one song from the show. It is sung to us by Timon and Pumbaa who befriended Simba when he ran away from his family. They taught him to enjoy life no matter how tough it gets. And so they sung “Hakuna Matata” – a phrase that means “no worries”. Through this light hearted song, they encourage us to discover ourselves freely and to not worry about the past, as dwelling over the past can easily ruin the present and future. It is a philosophy that can really transform your life.

I’m told that Hakuna Matata is basically a combination of Swahili words which means “there are no troubles” (Hakuna means “there is not here” and Matata means “problems or troubles”). Or we can also say that everything is okay, all is well.

Now I know that this is so much easier to say than to do. But I’m going to try to do this more. Will you join me? Here’s the song to help us out!

Until next time……

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

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

ABCD, easy as 1234

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 19 August 2021

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

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

So why am I returning to this now?

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

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

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

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

Until next time…

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