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

Coaching 1 to 1

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 29 April 2021

At our First Anniversary Celebration event on Monday, I officially launched a 1 to 1 coaching programme that is FREE for you, the lovely people of Camelon and Tamfourhill. This is not sports coaching, but personal development coaching to help you, the coachee, to fully live out your potential – whether that is personal or professional. The goal of coaching is for the coachee to discover insights about themselves, and to take action in reshaping their life.

The video below is my talk from the event where I explain what Coaching is and crucially, what coaching isn’t. This can really make a difference in your life and help you move into the potential that is within you – no matter what stage you’re at.

If you don’t fancy watching the video, then you can read things for yourself below that. Once you’ve watched or read, if you want to book in for a series of coaching sessions with me, or to find out more for yourself or someone you’d like to refer, then please email me at communitycoach@tamfourhilltro.co.uk and we’ll have a conversation. There’s also more information over at our dedicated 1 to 1 Coaching page.

What is 1 to 1 Coaching?

Coaching is an ongoing conversation that empowers a person to fully live out their potential – both personal and professional. The goal of coaching is for the coachee to discover insights about themselves, and to take action in reshaping their life.

The coaching relationship is expected to encourage insights, to facilitate greater personal awareness, to change behaviours, to initiate actions and, ultimately, to produce outcomes that satisfy the coachee.  Much is expected of them: it is their responsibility to imagine, reason, identify, plan, decide, and implement their goals.

What Coaching Is

Coaching is about the coachee – their goals, their learning, and their growth. Together, coach and coachee will discover the potential within them.

Coaching is about learning – rather than teaching. The coachee is the expert on their life. A coach uses coaching techniques such as deep listening, open questions, encouragement, feedback, and always remaining supportive.  The focus is on assisting the coachee in discovering insights and taking next steps in pursuing their calling.

Coaching is about action – the coachees action. Each session the coachee will determine 1-3 actions steps to take before the next session. It may be surprising how quickly the coachee will progress toward their goals.

Coaching is about all of the coachee – not just work or personal life.  We all know that altering old habits and thought patterns is difficult. A coach recognises these patterns and will support the coachee as they change and grow.

What Coaching Isn’t

It is not therapy.  Although many of the communication techniques are the same, like active listening, reflecting, use of questions, limited advice giving, etc., therapy focuses on the past to bring healing and unblock a person so they might move ahead. Coaching is future and action-oriented – for people who are basically free of debilitating psychological or emotional issues.

It is not mentoring. Mentors are experts in a particular field who seek to pass on their expertise to a person. Mentors provide knowledge, advice, guidance, correction, and encouragement to people who are newer and junior—by experience if not by position or age. Mentors usually play the roles of advisor and teacher to guide and impart knowledge and wisdom.

It is not training. In training, the trainer sets the agenda. Changes are imposed from outside the participant, via the trainer. In coaching, the coachee sets the agenda. Coaches use adult learning principles of self-discovery to motivate change from within their coachee.

It is not authoritarian. Did you have a tough sports coach who used to yell at you and make you do a million push-ups if you made a mistake? That’s not coaching. A coach will push a coachee beyond what they might think they can do, but will always be supportive. The coachee is in control. The desire and responsibility to choose and act belongs to the coachee – and them alone.

Why Does Coaching Work?

Coaching works because it brings out the best in the coachee; a coach believes that coachees can create their own best answers and is trained to support them in that process. During coaching sessions, a coach will:

  • Listen. The coachees story is central. A coach is fully engaged in what they are saying, encouraging them to discover what their potential is.
  • Ask questions. A coach uses questions to stimulate the coachees thinking and creativity. Questions are about possibilities and the future.
  • Encourage. Everyone needs encouragements, and usually we don’t get enough. A coach will hold and honour their coachees vision, progress, and efforts.
  • Facilitate while letting you lead. A coach facilitates learning and problem solving.

A coach is not in charge, nor do they set the agenda.  A coach is simply here to help the coachee to engineer their future.

Why Use a Coach?

The reasons people want coaching are endless, and as unique as the person. Here are a few examples that motivate people to use a coach.

  • To make significant life changes
  • To make better decisions
  • To set better goals and reach them faster
  • To address changes in location or employment
  • To reduce stress, isolation, or uncertainty
  • To progress personally
  • To improve your relationships
  • To make a bigger impact on the world
  • To be a better leader
  • To better understand who you are
  • To simplify or prioritize your life
  • To evaluate your pace of life

Our Coaching approach

  1. Leverages Strengths
  2. Provides Clarity and Focus
  3. Instils Confidence
  4. Catapults Learning
  5. Fosters Intentional Progress
  6. Rubs Off on Others
  7. Encourages achievable Goals/Dreams

You will never maximize your potential in any area without coaching. It is impossible. You may be good. You may even be better than everyone else. But without outside input you will never be as good as you could be.

Andy Stanley, The Next Generation Leader

So, does this sound like it could be of help to you or someone you know/work with? Then get in touch and let’s get started! Drop me an email at communitycoach@tamfourhilltro.co.uk to start the process.

Until next time…

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

Friday Feature – Let’s Celebrate

This is a reminder that on Monday next week (26th) we will be gathering on zoom at 6:30pm to celebrate the First Anniversary of Our Place Camelon and Tamfourhill.

Despite not being the first year any of us would have planned, our team have still managed to achieve great things with you in the community and are well set for so much more in year 2 and beyond.

We’re just sorry that restrictions don’t allow us to do this in person – hopefully next year! So for now, head over to Eventbrite (link below) to register your free place so you get the link, then on Monday evening, bring your own cake and join in the celebrations.

As well as reviewing what has happened so far, John will be speaking about the Community Safety Strategy and Dan will be speaking about our Development Coaching programme. Plus we’ll hear from local author Kev McPhee and others about some great opportunities for you in Camelon and Tamfourhill including how you can get involved and shape the way forward.

So please join us if you can. The link to register is https://opctgathering2021.eventbrite.co.uk

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

Keep the main thing the main thing

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 22 April 2021

As we begin to move towards more things opening up and less restrictions, this is a good time to take a look at why you do what you do. Whether you’re doing something in the community, or have been in a job for years, or are just starting out with something – knowing why you do it is crucial to your success and, more importantly, your inner happiness.

Way back in July of last year I wrote a blog entitled Why, How, What, that referred to the order you should plan anything. Always start with why you want to do something and only consider how you’ll go about it and even what you will do once the main purpose – the why – is set in your mind.

It’s a revolutionary mindset that isn’t really rocket science, but is something that Simon Sinek pioneered back in 2006 after a period of not just dissatisfaction in his work but an inability to even do what he was meant to be doing. He’d lost sight of his ‘why’. Once he found it, his life turned around completely. His passion was restored. His productivity increased. He was a happier person. Have a quick watch of this video in which Sinek explains more about this as part of the 10th anniversary of ‘Start with Why’.

So what about you? How are you feeling about whatever it is you are doing? If you’re responsible for something that is only just about to reopen after lockdown, do you still believe in why you’re doing it? Can you even remember what the ‘why’ is? I was recently chatting to a friend who has just left the corporate world and managed to enjoy the Easter break with her family before starting out in a new community focused role afterwards. She is enjoying her life again because she’s fulfilling her ‘why’.

Now, let me be very clear that this blog is not an instruction to just go and change what you’re doing! You may be living and working right at the heart of what you were put on this earth to do. You are living the ‘why’. If that’s you – allow me to celebrate with you. But if you feel a niggle inside you. If you struggle to get going with whatever it is you are doing. If you just feel there’s something else you’re meant to be doing, my advice is to look into that more. Don’t make any rash decisions. Think this through properly. Research things. Speak to your family and your close friends – those people who really know you. Really dig into the thing that makes your heart skip a beat.

If it will help, I can offer you some coaching sessions that will guide you to be able to come up with the answers within you. If that would be of interest, then please give me a shout at communitycoach@tamfourhilltro.co.uk or 07444 873151.

Finding your ‘why’ and living it out is the most liberating thing you can do in your life. I look forward to hearing your stories about this in the future.

Until next time……

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

What do you see?

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 8 April 2021

When you look at other people in the community – what do you see?

It may seem a strange question, but it’s an important part of community development especially when we take time to focus on the real assets around here – the people. We need to see past any initial reaction and purely focus on the person within. That can be hard especially when we look at the different types of people we might come across and the labels we may attach to them, even subconsciously. But it’s really important. Here’s some categories that came to my mind:

Life Labels

  • Youth; Criminal; Addict; Troublemaker; Helper; Retired; Active/Inactive; Unemployed; Student; Safe; Community Activist; Deaf/Blind.

Nationality Labels

  • Local (Kemlin); Incomer (New/Recent Resident); Refugee; Scottish; People of Colour; ‘Foreign’.

Language Labels

  • Local; National; International; BSL; Digital.

Do any of those ring true for you? You may have thought them but have you even said them? Or have they been said to or about you? Some may be said in jest but have you really meant any of them in a less than positive way? Don’t worry – I’m not asking for feedback here! These are all questions for you to think about yourself or to reflect on any things that may have been said to you.

Everyone of these labels that will have been applied to someone locally at one stage in their life can cause people to act and speak differently towards them. Whether positive or negative, they can create a stigma that usually is unhelpful. It can weigh that person down and not make them feel part of the community or alternatively, can create an elite kind of group. Either way it’s not great.

We all have a label that is much more positive to use – our name. It’s how we’ve been addressed since birth and is who we are. That’s not to say we are not any of the things listed above, but they do not define who we are. Every person – yes even you! – was born to change the world and deserves to be seen as the individual that they are. Every person has the right to achieve the potential they were put on this earth to achieve. Whether the time you’ve had up to this point has been positive or negative, it is never too late to achieve that potential – and to help others achieve theirs.

One further question for you. If you’re looking to support someone to move forward, to grow, to achieve their potential – how do you approach that? Essentially, do you see a person or a project? (Okay, sorry, that was actually two questions!) However positive you may have been about the labels we explored above, if you simply see them as a project you can ‘do’, then you might as well have been negative with those labels. Whoever they are – whatever the journey they need to go on – they are still a person. Our role in supporting them is to do just that – support them. Have a look at this quote from my friend Maff Potts, who heads up a fantastic organisation called Camerados.

This is a perfect summary of how I see my role. But to be honest – I do struggle with this because I’m a fixer! I love to sort things. But I have learned over the years – and especially over this last year – that this doesn’t really help – not in the situation we’re in just now. I came across the use of the word ‘alongsider’ last year and it’s perfect. I have worked in this way before and I do love it. It is perfect again for what I do and how I want to encourage you to do as well. Come alongside people – just as they are and as who they are. Step out among the people who you might not even naturally go towards. Hey, you might be pleasantly surprised. And next time you’re walking around the area, don’t just see things – observe. Truly look at what you see. Look beyond the labels and see the people that live here. Everyone has a part to play in the development of our community and I look forward to more opportunities to play my part.

Until next time….

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

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

IRTDMN part 2

Hi – it’s Dan back again! Welcome to part 2 of our look at this strange word that actually stands for 6 different words which in turn help us in looking at Launching Leaders. In last week’s blog we identified the first three words: Identify, Recruit, Train. Have a look back at that blog to remind you of the detail behind those elements, but as an addition to what I wrote then, a key part across those three is the reasoning behind why you’re launching a new leader: never recruit from a need. What do I mean by that? Well it actually takes us back to an even earlier blog I wrote on the theme of “Start with Why“. If you’re just looking for someone to fill a gap, you might not get the person you actually need. You need a person who has a natural fit to your requirements and that is only discovered by asking why you need that role filled. What is the vision for your project/task/organisation/plan? Michael Gatlin says that “the currency of recruitment is vision” so go back to why you’re doing what you’re doing, then Identify, Recruit and Train someone from that point. ‘Selling’ the vision to someone will give them more of an idea of what’s ahead rather than just begging for them to get involved!

Okay, we’ve had our recap from last week, let’s get going with the next 3 words.

First up this week, the D is for Deploy.

This is important but is also tricky, because knowing when to deploy someone fully into a role on their own depends on the person! Michael Gatlin says this is “more of an art than a science” and won’t work every time. That may not sound very helpful in the grand scheme of things however he goes on to say that “the best time [to deploy them] is when they still have things to learn so that they are not unduly confident”. A key point here is that whoever you deploy will still need support. Deployment doesn’t pass the buck. Without interfering, you will still need to be around for them. Whether that’s providing an important insight, a key contact, or just a sounding board – it is all really important in the whole IRTDMN process and actually, leads us nicely onto the next letter.

So next up, the M is for Monitor.

This is not a kind of big brother type eaves dropping, but a managed evaluation and support of them. Look at it in terms of checking in with them to keep them healthy or if your want a soundbite, try this one: “you don’t get what you expect, you get what you inspect.”

The person you have identified, recruited, trained and deployed, will need some accountability because this will increase their personal resilience to whatever the role will throw at them, and also build their effectiveness in that role. So set clear parameters for them to work within and help them along the way. How exactly do you help them? Let’s check the next letter!

Our final section then brings us to N which is for Nurture.

You want this person to succeed – I mean, you wouldn’t have brought them through the whole IRTDM parts to now watch them fail at N! To truly help them grow as a leader, there needs to be an environment that fosters that feeling. A set up that only wants the best for them in the role.

It’s important to pick up on what leads them to really flourish in their tasks and also, what drains the very life from them! You won’t be able to shield them from those draining tasks – and neither should you – but you can maybe focus your nurturing support on those areas. Nurturing is so important. Because in order for you to be able to move on to whatever it is you’re moving on to, you need to know that the person you’ve IRTDMN’d is actually going to be able to carry on with the very thing you need to let go of.

Let me summarise. Through the I and R stages, you connect with the other person. Through the T and D stages you release them. Then through the M and N stages you stay connected but always pointing them towards the goal. Through it all, be genuine. Know your stuff. Share what you know. And never ever feel bad about asking someone to rearrange their lives to fulfil what they were put on this earth to do.

I love this process and in some way or another have been doing it for many years. I hope it is helpful to you in your setting. I’m also fully aware that if I’m talking with you now, you may be wondering what I’m Identifying and Recruiting you for! Well, guilty as charged!!

If you’d like to chat more about this, then don’t hesitate to give me (Dan) a shout on communitycoach@tamfourhilltro.co.uk or phone 07444 873151.

Credit to Michael Gatlin, Launching Leaders, Vineyard Training and subsequent webinar for the basis of this training.

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

IRTDMN

No I haven’t fallen asleep on the keyboard and neither am I making up words again! These letters each stand for a word that has come up in some other training I’m doing. The theme of the training was ‘Launching Leaders’ and it fits wonderfully with my task to uncover the next generation of leaders and community engagers right here in Camelon and Tamfourhill. It gave so much insight especially in respect of working with groups of people and how you help individuals grow. It also involves looking at leadership differently. It is thought that leadership is not a gift for an individual, but a gift for the community/organisation through the individual. This then becomes about identifying leaders within a community, for a community.

So, to this IRTDMN thing. There’s a lot to unpack in these 6 letters/words so I’ll take 2 weeks to cover this to save having a really lengthy blog post.

First up, the I is for Identify.

This is the point where we start to build relationships by getting to know people. That is the best way to start because only with a working relationship with them can you start to identify what they can have the potential to get involved in. Crucially, as the inner potential becomes clear, it is not my role to tell people what to do, but to help them discover it for themselves and walk alongside them as they make that journey.

It is said that a true leader is not one who passes decrees, but who lives and walks with others. This makes so much sense but involves dropping the idea of a true leader as being like the traditional view of a Chief Exec of a big corporate business (no offence to any corporate CEO’s!). Leadership is about naturally influencing others so that they can become the person they are meant to be. Identifying the potential within only comes with that process and by walking alongside them for as long as needed.

Next, the R is for Recruit

Once the specific needs are known and the potential within individuals is identified, we move to the recruiting stage. This is not recruitment in the usual sense of putting an advert out for a role, receiving applications, interviewing and appointing someone. This is not even about recruiting to fill a gap. Following on from the Identifying stage, this is about bringing people into a role that they have been made to do, through a gentle nurturing/coaching process, so what actually happens is that the potential within them does the recruiting!

People will move at different speeds through this process and that is okay. Some will need more time with someone walking alongside them as they build their own self belief. Others will be able to be released quicker. It’s important to get this speed right and that is only known by properly setting the foundations through the Identify stage and building a good understanding relationship. Moving someone into a role too soon – even if it is what they were designed to do – could cause more harm than good. The last thing I want to do is set someone up to fail.

Finally for this week, the T is for Train

This is a very key stage as, in the same way that putting someone into a role too soon can do untold harm, not training people properly for the role can do equal damage. There’s a process to follow here:

  1. Do it yourself – this is the stage many projects will be in because it seems easier that way.
  2. Invite others to watch – this links to the Identify and Recruit stages and is where you allow yourself to be as open as possible with those who are looking in.
  3. Do it together – this is where you really allow others to walk alongside you so you can encourage and teach them. This can take time and it may be tempting to move back to point 1 and just get on with it. However, it is said that if you can find someone who can do things 70% as well as you, then step back and let them get on with it. You will not find a clone of you!
  4. Be intentionally absent. Give the other person the chance to get on and do things because an appointment has ‘just come up’ or you’re not feeling 100%. But make sure you check in with them afterwards. This is a step that needs to be managed very carefully otherwise you could damage the whole process of bringing the other person into their fullest potential and giving yourself some breathing space.
  5. Release them into the role. Give them the permission to do the role in the way they have been designed to do. But be prepared for them to maybe do things differently and, as long as it works and brings the desired results in the community, that is okay.
  6. Allow them to train others. You’ve made them a leader so allow them now to fulfil that role to the full by training others. They’ve been through this process so are well equipped to do it with someone else now.

This is such a rewarding process. Yes, it takes time. How long? Well, as long as needed for each individual. But it is worth every moment in order to widen the spread of people achieving their own goals and becoming the people they were designed to be. How amazing would that community look? I don’t know about you, but I love it!

So there we have it. The first three letters explained of this IRTDMN thing. Come back next week to find out what the D, M, and N relate to.

If you have any questions, comments, suggestions or just want a chat, drop me a line at communitycoach@tamfourhilltro.co.uk or call 07444 873151. Whether you’re the person wanting to find out what you’re meant to be doing, or the person who could do with having someone to share the load with, I’d love to hear from you.

Credit to Michael Gatlin, Launching Leaders, Vineyard Training for the basis of this training.

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

Easy as ABCD

Last week, I was lucky to share a powerful couple of hours on zoom with over 120 other people across the UK who are working with their communities to bring positive change. It was called the Asset Based Community Development Jamboree – hence the ABCD heading to this blog. Don’t get put off with fancy words there – what this really means is strengthening communities with what exists already – i.e. the people. To put it another way, as it says in our mission statement, empowering local people & organisations to bring about positive, lasting change. What this boils down to is a community revolution! It’s the time for communities to build on their own skills and be the authors of their own futures.

I was incredibly fired up from the morning in this session, as I was joined by others who are banging the same drum as I have throughout my time in this role and for years before that: stop doing stuff to communities – work with them. I could write forever on this subject but to save boring you (who said “too late”?!), I will just put this over a series of blogs in the coming weeks and months as the mood takes me and as circumstances dictate.

The above image is the graphic notes from the morning, captured by Visual Practitioner Anna Geyer. She has really caught the mood and you can see for yourself that there is so much in there which is why I need a series to bring some of this to a local level. In her twitter summary, this quote really stood out for me:

In every meeting I’ve been in over the last 10 months – especially the current Community Conversations that the Council are leading – I have pressed the point that the whole community needs to be spoken to. Anything dressed up as a conversation cannot fall short and become a place simply for providing information. The people of Camelon and Tamfourhill have some powerful opinions that can really help shape the future of our community. It’s time these opinions were taken seriously and my pledge to you is that I will do what I can to make this happen. But you need to work with me on this.

Back to the ABCD session, below are just some of the comments shared by participants that I managed to capture and feel are relevant to us here. The first 5 quotes come from Fatima El Guenuni, a family therapist in the Grenfell area of London who had family members in the tower that burned down (thankfully they survived). Her talk certainly set the tone for the day:

  • Communities have never been hard to reach, but they have been easy to ignore.
  • Voice is important at the centre of communities but action is more important.
  • Work alongside people and be brave enough to make decisions that benefit the community and not the system.
  • It’s the system that marginalises communities, not communities that make themselves hard to reach.
  • We need to be willing to step outside roles & be there for communities with love and support – a hug of compassion and humanity.
  • Be the “human bridge” between people and the community and the system.
  • It is time to stop the politicisation of community development.
  • This citizen centred movement is gathering massive momentum. I hope councils learn, recognise it & work generously with communities to share power & space.
  • We are hearing of rooted acts of kindness, and the tremendous steely courage of communities, to flourish forward fairly, whatever the challenges may be.
  • Stories are so important and then stimulating them with the right questions.
  • Inequalities have driven the change. Our aim was to listen. Serve the people. Unlock skills and talents. Change power.
  • We need jargon free community development. It’s about people. Local people. Leading local change.

There are so many more that I’ll save for another blog. But can you pick up the themes here? Are you excited by it? Everyone was completely on board with this revolution. This last year has actually been a defining moment for communities across the land, as many have really stepped up to meet their own needs. The challenge now is to build on that, with appropriate support and empowerment, to make this change in power permanent.

I’ll finish this week where I started, with the letters ABCD, standing for Asset Based Community Development. For a bit of fun following a challenge by a Community Builder from the Denny area, I extended this for the whole alphabet, so our A to Z of Community Development is now: Asset Based Community Driven Efforts For Growing Hope, Increasing Joy, Keeping Lives Motivated, Nurturing Others, Persevering, Quickly Reaffirming, Strengthening Talents, Unleashing Volunteers With eXtra Youthful Zest.

So who’s up for joining in on this community revolution? Let’s hear your voices – your comments, concerns, suggestions, hopes, plans. What do you need to help take you forward? Is it other people? Money? Training? Property? Equipment? Other resources? Let us know and we can then work with you to try to make it happen.

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

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

What’s your story?

We all have a story to tell don’t we? The difference is what kind of story it is. Does it tell of a life where everything has gone fine for you with no issues? Does it tell of a battle against everything that life has thrown at you over the years? Or is it somewhere in the middle?

Wherever your story lands in that range, it is equally important because it’s about who you are, where you’ve been and hopefully what you’ve learned along the way. All of that can help you understand more about yourself and help you move forwards, but it’s also important to capture these stories as part of the ongoing history of our area. When people hear or read them, they may not be surprised at some parts but the joy is when you can surprise them with tales of positivity in spite of everything that has been thrown at you.

The image below was shared on twitter recently. It is an image of notes captured from a talk given at a conference a few years back by Cormac Russell, who is a leading force in the world of Community Development especially when it is focussed on building upon the assets (the people etc) within those communities. I am learning loads from his writings as he speaks so much sense about not over complicating our work with communities. (You can follow him on Twitter here). The key word in that last sentence – as I’ve emphasised from the start of my work here – is ‘with’. We at OPCT are not here to do things to you or without you as has happened in many cases in the past. We are here to work alongside you and with you and as part of that, we love hearing and learning from your stories. Have a look at the image and see what jumps out for you:

So what did you spot in there? Feel free to message me with any key points especially if you want more information or even to push a particular line for something we should be doing better. For me, the following stood out.

  • Studies or Stories. This was the headline from the talk and is worth highlighting and clarifying. In one sense, both are important. I’ve already said how much we love stories and there is so much to be learned from them. However, each story is one person’s viewpoint and it is highly likely that there will be another story that will give a completely different view of a similar situation. So with that in mind, studies also have an importance because that gives us an overview of all points of view in a coordinated way. This is why we have already carried out a few surveys – not just to gather more data for the sake of it, but to help us understand what people want, what can be done to move things forward and to use it to make changes and access funding. We are determined to not let any of the consultations sit idly on a shelf with no action. Neither are we going to use them simply to point out what is wrong in the area. All findings from the studies will be used to ensure the stories we tell in the future will be ones of action and positive steps forward. How great would it be for someone in years to come to tell a story of how they made a comment in a study that led to a positive change right here? That’s our wish so please stick with us when we do a survey and feel free to remind us that there needs to be action in the end.
  • Focus on what’s strong not on what’s wrong. This is so important. I’ve mentioned this in previous blogs and have been accused by some people of ignoring the problems around us by only looking at the good stuff. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yes there are issues and yes they need sorting. No one is denying that. But we are not going to be weighed down by them or avoid any opportunity to grow because they exist. We solve them best by building up what is good – what is strong – what is positive – so that in part, we can tackle what is wrong head on because we have the chance to show people a better way.
  • No hierarchies but networks. This is about bringing everyone along on the journey (forgive my use of that word!). It’s not about building up committees but communities. Yes, there will be people that need to step up to lead and coordinate things, but the clue in the meaning of the word ‘lead’ is that they bring others along with them – networks of people with a good mix of skills relevant to each project or activity. This is not about raising up just a few people, but everyone who wants to come along for the ride. And within that, we will work with everyone at their individual level to help them gain the skills they need to strengthen their part in the network.
  • Power of communities to solve problems. You might have missed this one as it’s quite small on the image but I don’t think this represents the strength of the statement. Camelon and Tamfourhill is an amazing community made up of smaller communities that are full of people who have a passion to grow the community they live in. That combined positive passion is where the power comes from. And it’s a power that should never be underestimated by others as it is built on real experiences and real understanding of what makes this community really tick. And as I mentioned earlier on in this blog, that power can and will solve the problems that we face.

I could go on but I won’t bore you any further – for now! Just know that this is really important to me as your Community Coach – as a local resident – and even just as a fellow human being! I believe that everyone has the right to achieve their potential and want to do all I can to help in that goal.

We will no doubt return to this matter again but I want to just focus on the aspect of story telling as I finish off for this week. You have a unique opportunity to tell your story in a written format, and if you want, to have that shared as part of a book that will celebrate this area. That comes via our Creative Writing Introduction Course with the help of Kev McPhee, Susan Marshall and Camelon Arts. We’ve had a great response to this so far but there is still room for a few more to sign up. Join us and be part of something special. All information at www.opcamelontamfourhill.co.uk/creativewriting.

Until next week, keep making and sharing stories and building local power.

camelon, community, development, funding, Our Place, Support, tamfourhill

Want some free money?!

Well if that headline hasn’t grabbed your attention I don’t know what will!

When I’ve put up blogs about funding before, they’ve been mainly directed at organisations and admittedly not relevant to everyone, but this one is different and is worth reading on – I promise!

Falkirk Council have released over £3m of funding that is available for local communities to apply for to bring about the changes that can make a difference in their community. There are different allocations for each local authority ward and ultimately, you, the council tax paying public, will get to vote on which projects get the money. It is released under the banner of “Community Choices” and all the information is on the council website but I’ll summarise the main points for you here.

Before I get into the funding specifics, let me remind you about how the Council Wards are structured. Our work actually covers two Wards, with the Forth and Clyde canal essentially being the dividing line: Camelon is in Ward 6 (Falkirk North) that also includes Langlees, Bainsford, Bankside, Middlefield, Merchiston, West Mains and Grahamston. Tamfourhill is in Ward 7 (Falkirk South) that also includes Bantaskine, Summerford, Arnothill, Woodlands, Callendar Park, Glen Village, Lionthorn and Hallglen. I list all these areas to let you know what you’re up against as every area will feel it deserves its fair share of the funding and will undoubtedly have worthy projects to put forward.

So, do you have an idea that will improve the quality of life in our community? Do you have a proposal that will make a positive and lasting difference to our area? I know of quite a few options and this fund could be the way to make it happen. Essentially, here at OPCT, we will support you as much as possible to help make your application as strong and relevant as it can be. You don’t have to come through us but if you do need assistance, we can help with application wording, background information, or anything else you need. Importantly, we may also know of a project that is similar to what you are thinking about and so could provide relevant advice and, if appropriate, we could link you up to double the strength of your application.

So, who can apply?

Clubs, organisations, community groups and even individuals can apply for funding to make these changes happen. Applicants do not need to have a formal constitution but if you’re an individual or group of friends/residents considering putting a bid in for something, the Community Choices team will aim to link you up with a recognised organisation that could hold the funds for the project.

What can you apply for?

Firstly, let me say that this funding will not solve everything we’d want to do locally and is unlikely to help with large projects – but it’s a start. The public vote system will at least bring visibility to what you want to do which might even attract others to join in with you.

There are two separate funds on offer. The first is a small grants programme with a maximum of £1,500 per proposal. There is around £10,000 for each Council Ward in year 1. The second fund is a Capital programme where £3m is available over two years. Proposals for this fund must be for a minimum of £5,000, and can be used for building something new, improving an asset, and purchasing equipment. Remember that £3m is across all 9 Wards so even though there is no upper limit on application, large projects are unlikely to be successful. However, the Community Choices team will also aim to provide additional support including signposting to other suitable funding if possible.

What do we need to do?

At this stage, the council just require an Expression of Interest form to be completed. This is not a full application and needs a couple of hundred words to explain what the project is, who it would benefit and who would be involved in making it happen. It does not require full financial information but a broad indication of costs would be helpful. The form is on the website.

The important thing to note is that Expressions of Interest are due by Friday 5 March with final applications due by 9 April. This is a very tight timeline but that’s what we have to work with and, with the right support, the right applications can be submitted. The final stage is a public vote that will take place between 26 April and 14 May. We will keep you posted as we hear how that vote will operate.

So, over to you?

What do you think could be applied for? Can I help you get that application in? Get in touch with me (Dan) in the usual way via email to communitycoach@tamfourhilltro.co.uk, call on 07444 873151, or message via social media. Let’s make this happen!

camelon, coach, community, development, growing, Our Place, Support, tamfourhill, training, Writing

Coach Update: Growing / Supporting / Training

I know days and dates don’t necessarily mean much at the moment, but apparently we have entered a new month! So it’s as good a time as any to give you a brief update on how some of the projects I’m working on with and for the people of Camelon and Tamfourhill are coming on.

Community Growing
We continue to make plans for various growing projects. One particular one in the old Brown Street Park, Camelon, will move to a consultation stage for surrounding residents later this month. We are also about to spend the Community Climate Action Funding received from Keep Scotland Beautiful / The Scottish Government that will see 2 Community Gardening Tool Libraries installed in the area. Those will be in place by the end of March. Keep up to speed with all Growing information, and join our team, over on our dedicated Growing page

Community Supporting
I have continued to work with organisations and individuals across the area with various different needs. Next month I will bring you full information of how you can access 1 to 1 coaching sessions to help you make the right choices and bring clarity and confidence to life’s opportunities. It’ll be worth the wait but if you want to get on my list for receiving coaching sessions before I’ve even launched this, then drop me an email at communitycoach@tamfourhilltro.co.uk.

Community Training
This is the one that has taken most of my time lately and rightly so. Firstly, I can tease the news that we have partnered with a relatively new local charitable company to bring a wide range of personal development courses to you. More on that later this month but it’s an exciting step forward for us. For now though, let me remind you that we launched our Creative Writing Introductory course last week and have had a good response already. Thanks to those who have signed up but there’s still room for more. I’m also pleased to introduce one of the experts that is supporting this course. It’s Camelon’s own Kev McPhee. And to save me going on about things, here’s a video from Kev to give you a bit more information on the course and to encourage you to get involved. It may be 8 minutes long but it’s worth the watch, especially as he gives away some information about our hopes for those who come on the course! Enjoy this video and I’ll update you with more in due course.