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, coach, community, development, Our Place, resilience, tamfourhill, training, Writing

New course – Creative Writing Introduction

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.

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/FLJL8C9

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

Ikigai

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 communitycoach@tamfourhilltro.co.uk or call me on 07444 873151. Let’s make this happen together.

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

Past, Present, Future

Hi. Dan here, your Community Coach. Let me ask you, which of the following categories you fall into?

  1. 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?
  2. 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?
  3. 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 communitycoach@tamfourhilltro.co.uk or call 07444 873151.

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

Festive Thoughts

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.
  • Create a Community Growing Group.
  • Host pop up Cycle Repair Workshops.
  • Prepare for a Recycle a Bicycle donation scheme for January.
  • 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.

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

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

Naughty or Nice

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?

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

Others

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 communitycoach@tamfourhilltro.co.uk

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

Falling over

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.

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

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

Looking Back to Move Forwards

This blog marks 6 months since John and I started in our posts and Our Place Camelon and Tamfourhill was reborn. For my part, as a local resident as well, I came with hopes and plans as to the things I could bring to this new and exciting role as Community Coach. However, starting a new job during a national pandemic and lockdown really threw most of those plans up in the air! But, undeterred, I have pushed on as much as possible through mainly online contact and phone calls and have been grateful to the willingness of local groups to get on board with what I can bring – especially those who came to me for help. That has been especially helpful during these restrictions as I don’t necessarily know what help is needed unless people tell me.

There is still a lot of work to do and I’ve in no way been able to give all the groups what they need or even make significant contact with some. That does not mean I won’t keep trying though! Contact with individuals has also been hard as I can’t get out to meet you! But I’m working on how I can do this through the restrictions we face just now and would just again encourage anyone who wants any support with training and personal development to do as some have already and give me a shout. Even if you’re not sure what you need – often chatting it through with someone else can be a big help. My contact details are below.

I’d also like to thank everyone who has got on board with what we’re trying to achieve here. Those who have supported me, shared our social media posts and blogs, informed others about what we’re doing and basically cheered us on. Sincerely – thank you.

For now, this seemed a good chance to review what I’ve been able to do so far. I record this not to show off in any way – that’s not my style. But simply to try to show how Our Place Camelon and Tamfourhill, and especially my role as a Community Coach, can be of benefit in this amazing community.

  • 26 Local Organisations have been supported with information, guidance or training on:
    • Funding
    • Governance
    • Marketing
    • Local Contacts
    • Covid Guidance
    • Development
    • Project Related
    • General Chat
  • 4 Individuals have been supported with:
    • Access to training
    • Idea development
    • Relevant Contacts
  • 34 External Organisations have been linked up with for:
    • Information and Support for Local Organisations
    • Networking
    • Training
    • General Links and Wider Support
    • Information and Guidance
    • Collaboration Opportunities
    • Project Support
  • 6 Organisations and 2 Individuals have been identified for delivering Free or Low Cost Training:
    • I am combining my search for various courses together with working to find out the kinds of courses people are needing.
    • The list is too long to put on this blog, and really is endless depending on what you, the people and organisations of this area, actually want and need.
    • Courses include Personal Development, Employability, Organisational Development and Skills Based subjects.
    • I have been building my own skills to enable me to deliver this training online as it looks like it might be a little while before we can have groups together for this.
  • I have taken part in 11 Training Sessions or Courses:
    • Managing Change
    • Rebuilding Income Streams
    • Wellbeing Economy
    • Asset Transfer
    • Community Right to Buy
    • Community Wealth Building
    • Asset Based Community Development
    • Digital Champion
    • Taking your Training Online
    • Delivering Effective Online Learning
    • Human Centred Design
  • Working on Developing 6 Projects in the area:
    • Creative Communities Fund – Behind the Labels Project
      • Collaborative funding application unsuccessful but working with groups involved to discuss alternative options.
    • Cycle Repair Pop Up Workshops
      • Thanks to work with Cycling UK, these are happening over the next 2 weeks.
    • Easter Carmuirs Park
      • Early work on planning for Phase 2 consultation which will include forming a new group of local people to help the process.
    • Community Growing/Gardening
      • Formation and support of new group to develop growing sites across the area.
    • Cycling Events
      • Potential partnership with Cycling Scotland and Falkirk Active Travel Hub to include the area in some events.
    • Coaching
      • I am developing a programme of 1-1 coaching for individuals to enable personal and organisational growth.

It’s been quite a fun and rewarding process putting this list together and I’m sure there’s things I’ve missed and there’s more in the pipeline as well. In any area of development – whether that is personal or organisational – it’s good to look back on where you’ve come from as, no matter how low we may feel on the odd occasion, recognising achievements to date is a real boost. This process can really help you move forwards. I hope to be able to help others do the same locally as we go through the next 6 months and beyond.

Look back to learn how to look forward

Joe Girard

If you want to know more about how I can support you or your organisation, please get in touch either by email to communitycoach@tamfourhilltro.co.uk or call 07444 873151.