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 email@example.com.
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.
I’m giving my blog this week over to tell you about a new training course that I’m pleased to be able to bring to you.
Following comments from some local residents and a couple of opportunities that arose through unplanned means, we have put together a Creative Writing Introductory Course. This is completely free for local residents.
Through 6 sessions that will be delivered with a mix of live ‘online via zoom’ and ‘work offline at your own pace’ learning, we will give you an overview of how to get started in Creative Writing, with hints and tips along the way to help you get into writing in its various forms.
Joining me to bring this course are 2 experts – Susan Marshall and Kev McPhee – local writers who want to inspire and help you on your own journey to writing. Additionally, our friends at Camelon Arts will be supporting in a variety of ways. During the course there will be various practical tasks for you to do along the way that will take you through different styles of writing which might help you decide (if you haven’t already), what kind of writer you think you want to be, or what writing style you will have. At the end of it, we’ve got something special planned – but we’ll keep that under wraps for now! What we can say is that as well as the surprise, we will have other learning options that will focus on specific types of writing so that you can continue in your chosen field.
Right now, as the 10 second clip below shows, I’m busy editing videos and tidying up the sessions to make this the best it can be for you. This would have been so much easier to get you in a room together but that’s obviously not to be at the moment.
For now, if you’re interested in being a part of this course, simply click the link below to be taken to a survey monkey page where you can insert your contact details and we’ll be in touch with more information. We aim to start the course in late February.
Before you ask, no, I haven’t just fallen on the keyboard to type the title of this blog, and nor am I writing about a new flat pack furniture shop!
Ikigai (pronounced ee-key-guy) is a Japanese concept that combines the terms iki, meaning “alive” or “life,” and gai, meaning“benefit” or “worth”. When put together, these terms talk about something that gives your life worth, meaning, or purpose. The concept of this idea comes from a larger and more inclusive philosophy used within the Japanese traditional health system called the Wuxing that was introduced into Japan in the early 6th century from China and embraced by local folk religion and culture.
It’s not a word I’ve come across before and I am often wary of these things from the Far East, but if it helps, it is similar to the French term “raison d’etre” that you may have heard – or “reason for being”. The diagram below might give you a bit more insight as to why I wanted to share this with you having read about this just the other day.
As you see, what the Japanese call Ikigai – we might call it contentment – lies at the intersection of what you love, what you are good at, what you can be paid for, and what the world needs. It is unique for everyone and can change in the course of life.
Ikigai is much more than a passion or profession. It is connecting those with a true vocation – not just a job – and something that really clicks for you. For me, it could easily be applied to my presence in this role as Community Coach. It’s what I love and I like to think I can be good at it (others viewpoint and results will ultimately judge that one!). Thanks to the National Lottery Community Fund I can be paid for it, and it is certainly a role that many communities across Scotland could benefit from, as is fed back to me when I speak in network meetings that I have attended over the last 9 months.
But what could it be for you? Are you living your dream life just now, whether that be in study, work or retirement, or is there something missing? What would the ‘future you’ be looking back and saying to you right now? Keep going? Fix something? Start something? Get involved in something? Learn a new skill? Stop doing something? What does that ‘future you’ look like? Or to put it another way, what is that you would really love to do but life – or maybe just a simple need to exist – has got in the way?
As your Community Coach, it’s my role to work alongside you to help you on this journey. If we’re strict to the theme of this blog, I can work within my Ikigai to help you find yours! But in terms we’ll all understand, how can I help you reach your potential – the thing that the ‘future you’ is willing you on to. Is it training? Is it the confidence to get involved in something? Is it helping with job skills? Is it help to start your own business? Is it gaining a better grasp on basic life skills? Or is it just having someone to talk with who can help spur you on to find a way forward?
Through my role and the partnerships/connections that I’ve developed, I can help with all of these things. So what is it for you?
Why not get in touch today to start the journey to find your Ikigai? Email me (Dan) on firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on 07444 873151. Let’s make this happen together.
Hi. Dan here, your Community Coach. Let me ask you, which of the following categories you fall into?
Do you look back on things that happened in the past and wish it was like it was again? Or maybe you’re stuck because of things that happened to you, or that you did, in the past and can’t move forwards?
Do you feel you’re fine as things are right now and no change is necessary, or do you feel restricted because of how things are now?
Do you long for a future that is so much different to what it is now? Or maybe you have a dream of something that you could do, or that could be happening in the area or in your life generally?
Past – Present – Future. Past is Experience. Present is Experiment. Future is Expectation. So we could say that we can use our experience in our experiments to achieve our expectations. All are relevant and should be embraced but they have to lead somewhere and that’s important as we look at what can be achieved in the Camelon and Tamfourhill area.
We have a proud heritage in this area and it is important to learn from that and build on it. However, times have changed and so there is no point in generally wishing things were as they were before. We have to move forwards – to evolve with the times – but still ensuring we remain distinctives as Mariners.
And that’s where we look to the future. What does that look like? I know that’s going to be different for everyone reading this, but the simple truth is that we have a future to work towards and we must make every effort to do that. Certainly myself and John are here to help that happen and are encouraged by those who have already stepped up to join with us on this quest.
For now though, we have many good things happening in the area at present that we should celebrate. That is not to say it is all perfect but if you’re honest, was it ever perfect? Our perception of life changes as we age and sometimes it’s difficult to see beyond that. But despite the issues around at present that do seriously need sorting (and together we can work on that), we still have much to celebrate and be proud of. A strong foundation to build on.
CS Lewis wrote that “the past is frozen and no longer flows, and the present is all lit up with eternal rays”. What’s he getting at? Nathan Blackaby describes himself in his book “Going against the Grain” as often having lived in the ‘frozen past, trying to defrost past moments, hurts, failures, and stuff that I did wrong (or the wrong that other people have done to me). All of these past events and moments are slowly defrosted so that I can re-experience that hurt – because, if I’m really honest, the hurt is real and comfortable at times, and easier to live with than without.” He goes on to say, “if I wasn’t defrosting stuff from the past, I could be found wandering in my head way off into the future somewhere. Future hopes, plans or dreams, future fears or points of anxiety and concern were all mapped out.” Blackaby, like Lewis, is not saying that past reflection or future thoughts are wrong – far from it. “But whether you are stuck in the past or lost in the future, consumed with health, wealth or family what-ifs, you are being robbed of the ‘now'”
So, what about now? 2021! It promised so much back in December last year but has started with renewed frustrations and restrictions. Some plans will have to be re-thought but that’s okay. Things will still happen. It may all still look different at least for the next few months, but there is still so much to be getting on with.
As well as working on the Community Growing activity with a new group of volunteers, there are many other exciting projects brewing away. A lot focuses around training and I am building a partnership with a training provider for a wide range of personal development courses that will come free of charge to local residents. I am also building my own bank of knowledge for sharing with others (individuals and organisations) and ensuring that Camelon and Tamfourhill are more widely represented and recognised in various networks both locally and nationally.
I am developing a Creative Writing programme and will have more on that in due course. We’ll pick up the Bicycle Recycling scheme once restrictions have lifted, and I have a draft plan for celebrating some of the historical nature of our area. Aside of that, I am facilitating more discussion between all the projects funded through the Our Place scheme, namely Camelon Arts, TCV and Cyrenians (Camelon Connect), so that we can work together more where needed and make each others lives easier which in turn will make the activities we all produce greater and even more beneficial to local people.
That last part is a key focus of my role, as I am here to help develop local people and organisations. All the projects we work on will be there to enable people to get involved at their level but with the intention to help them grow and become more involved in their community. This will also enhance the training programme options and additionally, I will shortly have a coaching programme to offer that will help individuals to move towards their potential whatever that may be.
To return to Nathan Blackaby’s book, he says “the ‘now’ is where we operate, where we impact and influence change, and it is where we are forged … with a ridiculous amount of potential, courage, hope, adventure and purpose.” I am genuinely excited about what is to come this year and hope you will hop on for the ride. As Blackaby again says, let’s “get busy living in the now and … we will see some action”.
As always, if you have any questions, suggestions, general comments or even complaints, please get in touch with me (Dan) via email at email@example.com or call 07444 873151.
We are delighted to be able to officially tell you that we have received some funding to help develop our Community Growing projects in the area. Here’s the official bit…
Our Place Camelon and Tamfourhill are tackling climate change and contributing to a green recovery thanks to Community Tool Sheds and raised beds which will be helping the Camelon and Tamfourhill communities to reduce local carbon emissions through development of community growing spaces that are localised and accessible to all. The Community Tool Sheds and raised beds are funded through the Scottish Government’s Community Climate Asset Fund (CCAF) with Our Place Camelon and Tamfourhill (via Tamfourhill Tenants and Residents Association) awarded a CCAF grant totalling £3,358.44 in January 2021. The CCAF is Scottish Government fund, administered by Keep Scotland Beautiful, and it was announced on 8 January 2021 that 279 community-based organisations from across Scotland had been awarded more than £3.2 million of funding to tackle climate change.
That’s the official speak done. What is means is that we will set up 2 Community Gardening Tool Sheds – one in each of Camelon and Tamfourhill. These will contain basic hand tools to be used on local community growing projects. We then also have some funding for a few raised beds to be constructed.
This is a really exciting boost for our fledgling project. We’ll give you more information when we progress this funding and let you know how the tool sheds can be accessed, but for now would like to thank The Scottish Government and Keep Scotland Beautiful for approving this funding for us. You can read their full official press release, and see the full list of awardees, at https://www.keepscotlandbeautiful.org/news/jan-2021/delivering-scotland-s-green-recovery/
To keep up to date with all our Growing activities, to sign up to receive news straight to your inbox, or to get involved, head to our dedicated Growing page.
When you read this blog I’ll have signed off for 2020. And what a year it has been! I may have started in this role during lockdown, but back then in May, none of us would have thought we’d still be in this situation with so much restriction on our lives.
The pandemic and subsequent limitation on movement and activity have certainly had a massive negative impact on my plans within this role but I know that is nothing to how it has negatively impacted everyone’s lives and actually, it’s not been all bad – there has actually been some positivity. Here’s a couple of lists:
Things I’ve not been able to do:
Deliver training courses.
Have groups come together to network, share expertise and learn from each other.
Run information and planning sessions.
Deliver 1-1 coaching.
Run big events.
Meet with many people in real life.
Things I have been able to do:
Develop training courses including partnerships with training providers.
Understand more about the actual community needs.
Support 32 local organisations with various information and guidance.
Develop valuable contacts for future local benefit across various projects.
Begin to put Camelon and Tamfourhill back on the map for positive reasons.
There’s probably more for both lists but that will do for now! Essentially what I’m trying to say as much to myself as everyone else is that it’s not been all bad. In fact, the opposite is true – there has been a lot of good going on in the community. Groups have responded to a growth of need. Plans have been quickly put into place for new or enhanced projects. People have looked to how they can strengthen their own futures through learning new skills. Others have gained a new understanding about what actually happens in this community by the fact they have actually spent time in the area during the day. Foundations have been laid for so much more in the new year.
So despite the heartache, difficulty, stress and loss that many have faced in this area over 2020 (for which my thoughts and sympathies are freely given), I am full of hope for 2021 and beyond. More than that, I am excited for the possibilities of what is ahead. I hope that you will come with us on this journey.
I wish you and yours a very happy and safe Christmas, and look forward to working with you all in what will hopefully be a peaceful and more positive 2021.
Apparently this year there is no naughty list! Or so some advertisers would have you think. It seems that because of everything we’ve been through, Santa doesn’t have a naughty list!
Okay, it’s just a cheap marketing line but rather than thinking about whether we’re going to get presents from Santa or not this year (I hope you do!), I thought about how we see things around us – naughty or nice? Or in other words, do you focus on the negative stuff around you, or the positive?
For many years, I have been accused of being too positive! Firstly, let me tell you that this is not always true and my family and closest friends will agree wholeheartedly with that! In fact I started writing this on a day when I wasn’t feeling as positive as normal. But actually, whether I’m feeling positive or negative, I am wired up so that I want to encourage others which often comes across as being positive. Whatever way round you want to take that, it’s just how I see life. I just choose to see the good around and focus on that, rather than being sucked down by the bad things around. And I make no apologies for that. It’s actually hard work, but it’s who I am.
You see, the more we focus on the naughty/bad/negative stuff around us, the more we get sucked into a naughty/bad/negative way of thinking. Yet a nice/good/positive focus can help us to shift the thought process, to ways through whatever you are seeing. If it helps, John highlighted some of the recent positive things in the community in his blog this week.
This is not to deny that bad stuff is around. It is not to pretend there are no issues. It is not to avoid dealing with difficult things. But it is to attempt to focus on your own life, your own opportunities and by living a better way, attempt to show those who focus on the negativity just how they can do the same. So if I say that we live in a great place, I genuinely mean that, because there are some amazing people in our community who want to make positive change for themselves and others. That doesn’t make the issues go away. But it’s a start.
Nick Vujicic is an Australian motivational speaker who was born with tetra-amelia syndrome which basically means he has no arms or legs. He made the choice to be positive in his life, not despite his physical issues but because of them. He said this:
You can be angry for what you don’t have or be thankful for what you do have
This positive thinking is not being naïve. It is not ignoring issues or circumstances whether personal to you or things around you. It is not believing that any bad stuff around you will just vanish if you’re positive. No. But it is a step to making your life and your community better because of the way you choose to focus. As Nick Vujicic says, being thankful for what you do have.
Lets take a few moments away from my writings and have a listen to this from another motivational speaker, American Steve Harvey.
So yes, we have many issues in our community that need dealing with. Crime. Drugs. Poverty. Unemployment. That’s just four. We cannot and will not ignore them. But there is one element of community that can help us move forwards and drive positive change. That element is YOU!
There’s a fancy title for this way of working called Asset Based Community Development – we’ll talk about this more in the new year. We have many assets in our community and the biggest asset is the people. I may have only lived in the area since the summer of 2016, but I have met a lot of people who are amazing and have so much to offer to this community. Many of them are doing that already to great effect, but some are just on the first rung of the ladder and that’s okay because you have to start somewhere. The journey will be different for every resident but as long as we all keep moving forward and focusing on the good things around, then we will make a positive difference.
So who’s going to join me on this journey towards positive change? Will you focus on the naughty or nice?
Is it the place where you live? A group of people you hang out with? A club you attend? An online group? A sports club? A feeling?
The Dictionary describes community as:
the people living in one particular area or people who are considered as a unit because of their common interests, social group, or nationality
Cambridge English Dictionary
Okay, that doesn’t really help us pin this down much does it! The reality is, community can be a wide range of things and can be something different to everyone. But really, I would say it comes down to one thing: people.
Before I go on to ask you some important questions about what things you would want to see in our community, have a look at this short (1min45) video that takes this thought a little further:
Camelon and Tamfourhill is a Community and it is made up of lots of little Communities. No matter what is said about us or what statistics are put out there, we are a strong community because we have strong people. Whilst we have a lot of needs, we also have a wide range of activities, groups, organisations and facilities – an enviable amount really.
Falkirk Council are in the process of developing what they call the Falkirk Plan which will really be a collection of plans from around the area joined together as one. (The work John and I are doing around Community Skills and Community Safety will be included in this). Alongside this, they are reviewing everything they do and have – that’s nothing new especially as they prepare for next years budget. This includes reviewing what properties they have and seeing how effective they are in terms of meeting community needs while not draining budgets especially in terms of upkeep (light, heat, maintenance etc).
As we’ve made clear before, we here at Our Place Camelon and Tamfourhill are not Falkirk Council! But we do work with them as needed, and as part of this community of people – that’s you – we can help to ensure that your voice is heard in these discussions. We can’t get any of you together in a room just now and there isn’t a zoom server big enough to allow you all to join together at once, but we can join together your thoughts and opinions. So a couple of quick questions for you:
What activities do you or your family normally (before restrictions) attend in Camelon and Tamfourhill or that is run from here?
Where do you go to do this?
Is there anything new you would like to see happen in the area?
Would you go a little further but still within the Camelon and Tamfourhill area to access activities if necessary?
I’m not going to hit you with another survey monkey link or formal questionnaire, so please just either comment on this blog or on the social media post you accessed it from, or email a response to me (Dan) at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also give me a call if you want to discuss anything further on 07444 873151
These questions are not leading anywhere. They are simply getting an idea of what local people do, where they do it, anything that’s missing and if there’s any different way of doing things. Essentially, we want to ensure the area is flooded with activities and opportunities for everyone to engage in either by taking part in them or volunteering with them. As we begin to look towards the end of restrictions, this is a perfect time to ensure we have as much as possible to benefit us all and that it is right here on our doorstep. And your input is essential to make that happen. I look forward to receiving your responses.
Do you look out for others? Would you help someone else in the community?
If so, why would you do that? Is it so you can look good? Because you are encouraged to? Or simply because it feels right?
Many people in our community need some kind of help. Some of that help is obvious and actually quite easy to give. But a lot of the help they need may not even be known to them!
Confused?! Well again, that’s half the point! Let me quickly explain and then I’ll leave the rest to Simon Sinek again in this week’s video (see below).
Not knowing what help you actually need can be a sign of a lack of self belief or self confidence. But as Sinek explains in the video, a bizarre way to help your own lack of confidence is actually to step out and help someone else – possibly even someone in a similar situation to yourself. Helping others to help yourself to grow – and maybe for you to grow together – is a powerful thing in any community.
The danger comes when you help someone or do something good, just so you can look good. This is completely counter productive and can actually damage any self belief the person being helped has in the first place.
Where we all need to start is by celebrating who we are and what we have. No matter what that point is, it is still a starting point and something to build on. Lots of people are not happy with where they are in life but rather than settle for the status quo, there is always an opportunity to grow and develop. Even a small step forward is still a step forward.
I’m not going to labour this point today. As a coach, it’s my job to help people take these steps and even to help them find people to take those steps with. I don’t do that to make myself look good but I’ll be honest and say it feels good when I see people take even the smallest step towards their full potential. I make no apologies for taking pleasure from seeing others grow because in return it helps me to grow. I learn so much from working with people and I would love to work with you in 2021.
Have a think about where you are and then think about where you’d like to be. Don’t despair at that, but take a step forwards. If you want to know more, then please give me (Dan) a shout on 07444 873151 or email@example.com
Show me someone who has never made a mistake in their lives and I’ll show you someone who isn’t telling the full story! Not one of us can honestly say we’ve never messed up at something either in education, work or just life in general. Okay, there is a scale of mistake but even the smallest one has the power to trip you up or allow others to try to trip you up. Why is that? Because we often see those mistakes as failure.
There was a joke years ago referring to people having letters after their name for qualifications they’ve earned, and someone said he had 7 letters after his name: F-A-I-L-U-R-E. It was tongue in cheek but the reality is that there are people out there – maybe even you as you read this – that have been labelled, or labelled themselves, as a failure because of something that didn’t go right earlier in their life.
In the video below, Simon Sinek (yes, I’m back to his wisdom again!), tries to help us to move on from this way of thinking, especially by dropping the use of the word ‘failure’ and using the word ‘falling’ instead. This gives a natural thought journey that if someone falls, you help them up. You don’t leave them there. Sinek says:
The language of “falling” vs “failure” matters because it changes our mindset. Falling happens naturally. As leaders, we have to encourage our teams to take risks and help them get up when they fall – not instill fear that they could lose their job.
This is a hugely important not just in business, but in community life as well. People around us will fall in many ways. It is up to those around them to pick them up, dust them off, and set them going again in whatever form of action that takes. I’m a huge fan of this suggestion and it forms a large part of what I have the opportunity to do as a Community Coach. This also comes back to what I spoke about in this blog a couple of weeks ago, about finding the gold in this community. That ‘gold’ could be stored within someone who is known as a failure. My job – my privilege – is to help that person stand up again and continue to be what they were designed to be and not leave them as society has labelled them.
Thomas Edison, described as America’s greatest inventor, is best known for inventing the lightbulb but also invented an electronic voting recorder, the phonograph, talking dolls and tattoo guns. His most famous quote was the cover image for this week’s blog, but he also said this:
Failure is not just falling down, it is refusing to get up. Failure is not a dead-end street, it is just a detour. Failure is not a tattoo, it is just a bruise. Many of life’s failures are people who did not realise how close they were to success when they gave up.
So who do you know who needs a hand up? Maybe it’s you? Why not give me a shout and see how I can help.