camelon, collaboration, community, development, growing, litter, Our Place, Support, Tidy Clean Green

Community Renewal

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 17 February 2022

We are so pleased to be able to reveal to you that a decent chunk of funding is coming into various projects and organisations in the Camelon and Tamfourhill area thanks to the UK Government Community Renewal Fund.

The UK Community Renewal Fund is a UK Government programme for 2021/22. This aims to support people and communities most in need across the UK to pilot programmes and new approaches to prepare for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. It invests in skills, community and place, local business, and supporting people into employment. For more information, visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-community-renewal-fundprospectus

John teased some of this news in his blog this week but here’s the full info.

The whole consortium was brought together initially by Scottish Canals, but is led by the Green Action Trust. As well as them and us, the other partners are Artlink Central, Go Forth and Clyde, Keep Scotland Beautiful/Canal College, Forth Valley College and Forth Environment Link. Things were initially meant to start in August/September time last year but delays from the funder mean we’re all only just able to get going now. This has been frustrating for all partners as many briefs have had to be amended or completely rewritten. But now we can get going with a total of over £700,000 coming in across the whole consortium – and we’ve only got until June to wrap things up!

Our involvement in this consortium is in two smaller projects totalling just under £40,000, supporting groups to work alongside you, the wider community, to vision how various spaces could look and become in the future, both short and long term. More on this is a sec, but for now, a little on what visioning really means. This quote from Simon Sinek says it nicely:

“Vision is the ability to see that which does not yet exist.  As we slowly bring that vision to life, more people will start to recognise the work we’re doing and join our crusade.  But, like an iceberg, there will always be much more waiting to be revealed underneath the surface.” Simon Sinek

For some time now, a small band of volunteers have been working on a number of projects and activities. Many of them are tired but still full of passion for what could be, which is why they keep going. So, the middle bit of Sinek’s quote is gold, and I think reflects where many people are. They want to be involved but prefer to wait until things have started, then they might consider jumping in once they’ve assessed the lay of the land. That’s totally understandable but, with the work that will happen over the next 4 months, now is the time to jump in. There will be a wide range of ways to get involved and have your say between now and June. Online, offline. Activity, discussion. Formal, informal. And more! So, I hope that many of you will take up the opportunities to do so, otherwise quite simply, if you don’t like what develops then you have little room for complaint if you haven’t had your say! And as Sinek says, more information, ideas, passions and skills will come out of hiding as more people get involved. That’s absolutely what we want to happen!

So, what is going to be funded? There are 2 projects.

Easter Carmuirs Park
The Green Action Trust (formerly known as the Central Scotland Green Network Trust) is back to work alongside the community on taking forward hopes, plans and visions for the park. A draft masterplan was prepared by them back in 2017 that led to the installation of paths, trees and some meadow areas in 2019. But what next? Many ideas were suggested back then, however people have used the park more and begun to understand it in a different way now that you can walk on paths across it and appreciate its scale more. The consultant will work with us and you to bring a meaningful plan together that satisfies community aspirations, attends to community safety matters that have been raised, and present a workable timeline for developments so that full clarity is there for all – something that was missing last time around. Crucially, this will be a chance for the Friends of Easter Carmuirs Park group to come together properly. We teased this back in the Fun in the Park event last October with the hope that this funding would have been in place before now. But now is the time for this group to form, with our support, and become the vehicle to apply for funding and take future developments forward. Watch out for all the ways you can get involved if you live around or use Easter Carmuirs Park in any way at all.

Carmuirs Area
Tidy Clean Green will be leading a range of activities and consultations assisted by us and with external help from The Conservation Volunteers. This is to build on the work that’s been happening over the last year or so with particular focus on the area next to Camelon Juniors car park, and the Brown Street Park. These next few months will give a chance to start pulling together all the strands of research, consultation and activity, and present a workable and fundable plan at the end of the process that can be taken forward either by Tidy Clean Green or another local group. As mentioned earlier, John’s blog this week talks more about this project and reflects on an event in the area last week that was bringing further ideas together from local people. Activities will include litter picks, planting, training sessions, pop up parks, community events and more! Plus this will link with the existing art work and climate action projects that are in process alongside this activity.

So there you have it. We are absolutely thrilled that these areas will get a much needed step forward over these next 4 months. It won’t deliver anything large or secure all the funding needed. But it will take us a massive step forward, importantly, with you the community absolutely engaged. There’s obviously a lot more to what I’ve highlighted here, and we’ll keep you posted as time progresses. This is simply a summary to get your minds whirring. We look forward to working with the consultants, Green Action Trust, Tidy Clean Green, and of course, you, to make further positive change in our community.

Until next time….

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

community, development, employment, funding, Our Place, Support

Apply here…

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 10 February 2022

It’s another news update for you in my blog this week, specifically regarding funding and funded job opportunities.


Funded Job Opportunities
I reported back in November that the Scottish Government had awarded funding to encourage third sector organisations to offer paid work opportunities to people aged over 25 years, who have been unemployed for over 12 months and have additional barriers to employment. This is channelled through local Councils.

This was a great opportunity to get a fully funded member of staff to support a need in your organisation. But we were informed this week that so far only 2 out of a possible 57 posts available in Falkirk have been filled. So if you didn’t think this would work for you first time around, or you missed it completely, now is the time to get an application. Below is the bullet point information, but if you want to discuss this further or be supported to apply to host a job, then give me a shout in the usual way.

  • Start dates must be before 31st March 2022.  The first start can be 22nd November 2021.
  • The jobs will be fixed term for 26 weeks.
  • Terms & Conditions will align with your organisation (including annual leave, sick pay, holiday pay etc).
  • These can be entry level positions.
  • Jobs will be a maximum of 30 hours per week but can be flexible to meet the needs of the individual, i.e. term time, less hours for longer
  • Each opportunity attracts a notional unit cost to a maximum of £10,000. This notional unit cost is made up of salary costs plus additional costs and is based on 30 hours x 26 weeks (£384.60 per week or an hourly rate of £12.82). The costs will vary against number of hours/weeks/additional costs associated with delivery/support offeredThese costs support certificated training and there is an expectation that all participants will undertake a certificated training course prior to or during the LTU job placement.
  • The wage costs are met by Falkirk Council (You will pay the wages and reclaim in full from Falkirk Council).  If payment in arrears is going to be barrier please speak to us.
  • Jobs must be supported by a nominated staff member (mentor) who, in turn, will be supported by a named contact from Falkirk Council’s Employment and Training Unit.
  • You will be responsible for induction and day-to-day management of the participant.
  • Progress will be reviewed regularly with participant and mentor and can be stopped if not working out.
  • Where the placement is successful, additional funding may be available after the 26-week period.  Your named contact will help you to investigate this.

Funding Option – Bank of Scotland Foundation “Reach”
Revenue funding for one year of up to £25,000 can be claimed by established charities from this fund that opens again very shortly.

The Reach programme is suitable for charities that can demonstrate they address disadvantage or social exclusion and will reach the most vulnerable people across Scotland, to provide them with opportunity and equality and making positive, sustainable change.

For disadvantage, examples include charities addressing primary disadvantage such as homelessness, abuse, mental health or poverty, or secondary disadvantage such as debt issues, learning disabilities, illiteracy, lack of employability skills or health issues.

For social exclusion, examples include charities addressing exclusionary challenges for minorities, people with disabilities, LGBT people, drug users, institutional care leavers, the elderly or the young.

The next round opens at 12 noon on 7 March 2022 and closes at 12 noon on 17 March 2022. Grants will be awarded at the end of May 2022. All the rest of the information you need is at https://bankofscotlandfoundation.org/funding-programmes/reach


Funding Option – People’s Postcode Trust
The People’s Postcode Trust supports smaller charities and good causes in the Scotland to make a difference to their community for the benefit of people and planet.

This year, funding rounds will open each month from February to October. They will accept a limited number of applications in line with the amount of funds available for that round. If they do not reach this limit the round will close on the 10th of the month. Rounds will open at the start of each month but may close quickly so you need to get prepared!

They support projects under the following categories:

  • Improving mental wellbeing
  • Enabling community participation in the arts
  • Preventing or reducing the impact of poverty
  • Supporting marginalised groups and promoting equality
  • Improving biodiversity & green spaces
  • Enabling participation in physical activity
  • Responding to the climate emergency & promoting sustainability
  • Increasing community access to outdoor space

You can apply for either project or unrestricted funding. Charities and Community Interest Companies can apply for up to £25,000. Other non profit organisations can apply for up to £2,500. For more information on what is eligible under each category, see the funding guidelines on the Trust’s website.


Virtual Falkirk Funders Fayre 2022
Our friends at CVS Falkirk are once again hosting an online Funders Fayre, over three days next month. This will give you a chance to hear direct from funders about their latest funds and priorities, and how you can make the best application possible. It all happens from Tuesday 8 to Thursday 10 March and the funders you’ll hear from are:

  • Tesco Community Grants
  • Falkirk Health and Social Care Partnership
  • The Clothworkers Foundation
  • The Foyle Foundation
  • Henry Smith Charity
  • People’s Postcode Lottery
  • Foundation Scotland
  • National Lottery Community Fund
  • Corra Foundation

Sessions take place at 11am, 1pm and 3pm each day. All the info and registration form can be found on the CVS Falkirk website. It’s well worth taking the time to attend if you can.


And finally…
Just a reminder that you can apply for my job! I’m away at the end of this month and we’re looking for someone to come and continue the momentum and even do the job better! Closing date is next Friday (18th) so head over to the EVH Recruitment website for all the info.

That’s all for this week. Until next time…

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

community, Mental Health, Support, training

THRIVE is back!

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 30 January 2022

You may remember that we piloted the NHS THRIVE to Keep Well programme at the end of last year. This went well and produced some great results with most of the participants. We’ll publish a report once it has been finalised from all the relevant authorities, but the positive change reported and clearly seen in many of the participants was a joy to be a part of. So, I’m so pleased to say that that programme is back, this time in collaboration with Carmuirs Primary School and to be held at Camelon Community Centre. (I’m only sorry that I won’t be around to be a part of it.)

To remind you, the THRIVE to Keep Well programme supports adults who are experiencing mild to moderate mental health and wellbeing challenges. Participants are brought together in individual male and female adult groups within their local communities. The programme was developed to assist individuals to rebuild their lives by increasing their skills, knowledge and awareness of their own personal health and wellbeing, and aims to support participants to feel more integrated into their community by helping build positive social networks, improve personal development, and support participants to develop their own social and economic lives.  It is a life-changing programme for participants that attend, helping them to feel empowered with skills, insights, confidence and tools in order to take control of their life; it brings out the very best of them to embark on a new journey to making a change.

This community asset-based programme reaches parents and adults aged 16+ within their own community, to encourage social connectedness and increase peoples control over their health and lives

The programme is delivered over 16 weeks through one session of 4½ hours per week within a community setting using a three-stage model that has been designed and developed with structured learning outcome sessions which has enabled the integrity and continuity of its delivery. During the sessions, participants learn about stress, anxiety and how to make positive changes through a variety of group and self-reflection activities. Participants also take part in relaxation, creative, health, safety, and community awareness sessions.

The THRIVE to Keep Well programme uses the acronym THRIVE to demonstrate a participant will have the opportunity to be Transformational in their journey to making positive Health and wellbeing changes, by being a Responsive Individual, to feeling Valued and Empowered by improving knowledge, skills and opportunities in a variety of ways to move towards a positive destination.

The programme aims to improve participant’s:

  • knowledge and management of day to day stress and anxiety.
  • self-esteem and confidence through self-development and reflection techniques.
  • motivational goal setting techniques to enable health behaviour change.
  • awareness of the NHS Keep Well programme and promote higher uptake of the health assessment.
  • confidence and motivation to improve on life skills to further learning, volunteering and employment.
  • role as a parent to further develop the skills and confidence that will improve family relationships, support children’s learning, behaviour and attainment and enhance wider wellbeing.

So, for the next running of this programme, have a look at the poster below, that gives all the information about when and where the programme is running, and who to get in touch with to get involved. I really hope that this programme will continue to grow and provide more fantastic support to local people.

coach, Our Place, Support

Community Coach Announcement

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 20 January 2022

This is a transcript of the video shared on social media today. If you’ve landed here and would rather listen in, the video is also inserted at the foot of this blog.


Hi there.  Dan here, your Community Coach.  I’m bringing you a very different blog this week as it’s me talking directly to you.  I have something important to share so wanted to do it personally rather than just type it out.  (Although you’ve chosen to read this instead so ignore that bit!! To be honest, I wouldn’t listen to me either!!)

So what is this important piece of news? Well, quite simply, I am here to announce that, with regret, the time has come for me to move on from this role with Our Place Camelon and Tamfourhill.  An opportunity has presented itself to me which I pressed into and found it to be of interest to me on many levels.  So I will be finishing up as your Community Coach at the end of February.

I have genuinely loved every second of the last 21 months as I’ve walked alongside you, the lovely people of Camelon and Tamfourhill.  The time will come to review things properly but for now, the highlights have been:

  • the creation of some new resident led organisations, especially Tidy Clean Green,
  • helping bring the THRIVE to Keep Well programme to the area, supporting and encouraging local women through that,
  • Supporting community growing activities in collaboration with residents and organisations in the area, including securing funding for community tool sheds and planting trees and bulbs in the area,
  • Bringing a bicycle repair scheme to the area that will be kicking off again soon with a new local group,
  • Helping existing local groups access relevant funding and other development support,
  • Facilitating the Fun in the Park event in Easter Carmuirs Park,
  • Bringing new training opportunities to local people,
  • Helping people with CVs and Job Applications and now seeing them in work,
  • Raising the profile of the area both with local authorities and organisations, but also nationally, to help a move towards bringing positive change.

There has been so much more but those stand out for me just now. 

Of course, there are disappointments as well.  Many things are left undone (either not started or paused midway through) and some groups have not moved forwards. With a quick scan around, many will say that nothing has changed and you could be forgiven for thinking that way.  But in collaboration with John as we work alongside you, so much foundational change has happened and the future does look brighter – it just might take longer to get there than anyone hoped.  Of course, Covid hasn’t helped us and it’s been frustrating to say the least not to be able to do many of the things we wanted to.  But we must not be downhearted.  There is so much to celebrate and, because I live here, I will continue to celebrate all that is good around here. 

After the end of February I’m not going to disappear completely – it’s not in my nature to do so. (Sorry!!)  There’s a couple of things that I’ll put my weight behind as a community volunteer but more on that at the appropriate time.  I cannot remain in this community and not get involved.  Hopefully others of you will continue to step forward and get involved in being the change.  We cannot sit back and wait for things to happen.  Unless we throw our collective skills and experiences together into the ring, the area will just stand still.  

So there you have it.  That’s the news for now.  We’ll update you on what the plans are for a replacement for me in due course.  Maybe there’s an opportunity for one of you to get involved?  In the meantime, I will continue at pace to fulfil what is required of me.  If you have any suggestions, questions, or need some support or guidance with something for you or your organisation to develop, then get in touch in the usual ways. 

Take care.  Stay safe.  And keep getting involved.

Until next time…….

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

Video version of the above text


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

The power of Collaboration

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 25 November 2021

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time….

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

community, development, employment, funding, Support, training

Falkirk’s Funded Job Scheme

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 18 November 2021

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

The Basics

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

Employee Eligibility

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

Scheme Details

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

Request to organisations

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

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

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

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

Until next time…

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

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

Fun in the Park – Easter Carmuirs

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 21 October 2021

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

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

So, it’s time to try something new.

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

So who will step up?

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

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

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

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

Until next time….

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

coach, community, development, resilience, Support

Empowered?

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 7 October 2021

What does it mean to be empowered?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time…..

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

coach, community, development, Our Place, Support

Legacy

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 23 September 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time.. ..

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

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

Communities Matter

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 16 September 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time….

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

Image source: Scottish Community Development Centre website