So this is it. This is my final blog as your Community Coach.
I have mixed emotions as I write and I am not going to drag this out any longer than necessary. The last 2 years have been a rollercoaster of emotions as we’ve dealt with all the restrictions Covid threw at us, and here at OPCT there is so much we wanted to do but never got the chance to. Many things on my list remain untouched mostly due to Covid. But there have also been some surprise activities that we didn’t anticipate which has been great. I have spent so much time dealing with frustrations of not being able to do things, and as many of you will know, there’s only so much of that you can take. That’s not why I’m leaving though. Infact, as I come into land in this role, many fruits are forming from the seeds sown. Many things are coming to fruition from the foundations laid. As I’ve been trying to wrap things up for a handover to an as yet unappointed replacement, so much has been coming into my inbox in relation to really positive developments. That’s exciting and gives me hope for the future. All it needs now is for more of you, the lovely people of Camelon and Tamfourhill, to come out from behind the scenes and get involved – it’s the only way positive change is going to happen in our community.
I’ll not disappear completely – sorry! I live here. This is my community. You are my neighbours. Those who know me will know where to find me! (I also know where to find some of you!!!!) I will support local development as much as I’m able through various ways. So I simply encourage you to put your full effort behind John and my replacement when they’re in post. You have the power to be part of the change for good. You can be involved in positive developments. You can be part of a really exciting future for Camelon and Tamfourhill.
I leave you with a favourite song that I’ve performed many times before – don’t worry, this isn’t me singing though! I use it here as it sums things up from my time in this role as, whilst I know I haven’t got everything right or achieved everything that I wanted to, I can say with hand on heart that, right or wrong, I did it My Way. These words particularly stand out: “Regrets, I’ve had a few, but then again, too few to mention. I did what I had to do and saw it through without exemption. I planned each charted course, each careful step along the byway. And more, much more than this, I did it my way. Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew, when I bit off more than I could chew. But through it all, when there was doubt I ate it up and spit it out. I faced it all and I stood tall and did it my way.”
Over recent months, we’ve been working with Camelon Arts on a new exciting project that I’ve wanted to do for ages. With the help of local people, we’re bringing a Camelon and Tamfourhill Community Calendar to the market!
So what is this all about?
Regular readers will know how I love to celebrate our area – both the scenery and the people. There are many ways to do this – lots of which have been impacted by Covid of course. But a calendar has been on my mind for a while as a great way to showcase our area throughout a whole year and involve local people too. Thankfully, our friends at Camelon Arts agreed!
So a little while ago, a shout went out for you to submit photos of a location, view, group or anything else from Camelon or Tamfourhill. To be honest, we didn’t get a huge amount which is a little disappointing, however we’d already decided that everyone who sent photos in would get one of their entries included in the calendar. What we did get though was a brilliant selection of images and they fill the year really nicely with more than one for each month. A sincere thank you to the people and organisations that submitted photos for this project. (You’ll have all had an email from Aniela at Camelon Arts regarding the launch.)
A really special touch for the calendar is that one of the first entries submitted came from Joe Bruce (aka Joe fae Kemlin) who sadly passed away recently. Joe was very well known in the area and latterly ran the Camelon in Pictures and Memories Facebook group. So his entry is included with the addition of his life dates, and his relative is coming along to the launch to accept a copy of the calendar in his memory. For me, this makes this even more special.
To make things even better for a local project (is that even possible – yes, yes it is!), Camelon Arts discovered a recently graduated, Camelon based, Graphic Designer by the name of Jakub Bieganski who was brought in to pull this project together. I’ve seen a preview and it looks great. I can’t wait for you to see it.
So when can we get it, I hear you cry! Well, let me tell you!
It is being launched this coming Saturday – 11 December – with a mini tour across the area, followed by some local sale points. Camelon Arts have coordinated this and have also got some free hot chocolate for you, to soften the blow of having to do all this outdoors! Here’s the details:
We will launch the calendar in the car park of Camelon Community Centre between 11:30am and 12:30pm, then move to Camelon Juniors Social Club main entrance between 1:30pm and 2:30pm. Finally, we’ll be outside Tamfourhill Community Hub between 4pm and 5pm.
The calendar costs just £5 and for ease on the day, we ask you to bring cash only please. All profits will go towards a new community fund that we will manage, to support local groups in the future. All the info on that will come in the new year. But that really immerses this project into the local community as it’s designed by a local person with input from local people to be sold in the local area to benefit local projects. (Did I say local enough there?!)
If you can’t make it to any of the launch locations on Saturday, the calendar will also be available to purchase from Saturday until early January (or earlier if they sell out!) at:
Graeme Pharmacy, 275 Main Street
The Falkirk Wheel, Visitor Centre Gift Shop
Thank you to these locations for taking this local calendar into their stores to widen the reach. But if you can’t get there either, do message me so we can help you get a copy.
So there you have it. Our first Camelon and Tamfourhill Community Calendar. Hopefully not the last either, so get taking more photos ready to submit for the 2023 edition! I look forward to seeing some of you this Saturday.
Earlier this year, Falkirk Council launched Community Choices, where they have taken a percentage of their budget and opened it up to communities to apply for things in their area, and then to vote on what gets the money.
Now it’s back for what they’re calling “Pilot Phase 2” and the Small Grant fund is now open for your votes. Projects or activities have been able to apply for up to a maximum of £5,000. Once again, voting is per local authority ward (so Camelon is in Ward 6 and Tamfourhill is in Ward 7) and your vote will only count if you live in the specific area (this will be verified by your postcode). Also, because of continuing restrictions, everything is being done online and I’ve provided the relevant links below. However, if you know anyone who can’t do this, you or they can contact us to get a paper ballot or to receive support to vote online. Voting is open until 17 December and then early in the new year it will be the turn of the larger capital fund projects, but I’ll be back with info on those at the appropriate time.
For now, here’s information on the projects seeking your vote right here in our area (in alphabetical order). There are others listed in each ward as the boundaries extend beyond our area, but I have just highlighted the ones either in Camelon or Tamfourhill for obvious reasons. You can vote for up to 3 projects with each vote carrying equal weighting. The project(s) with the most votes will receive the funding they have requested.
Love Falkirk – Pantry Garden – £4,380 Love Falkirk are looking for funding to develop an outside space for our food pantry members and local residents. This space will be used for growing fresh produce for our pantry members to supplement the weekly shopping, along with creating a space where people can come to learn and share gardening knowledge. Alongside the growing space will be an outside seating area where we get together with the local community and offer support and plan for the future.
Tidy Clean and Green – Rubbish Service – £5,000 To operate a free Rubbish Service in Camelon and Tamfourhill as a free service for residents who don’t have a car and can’t get to the dump. People will book by text to have smallish amounts of rubbish picked up by electric cargo bike (light stuff) and electric van (heavier stuff) over two weeks, 4 times a year, during 2022. The volunteer service is green and non-polluting and is designed to get rid of those occasional small mountains of rubbish that everyone has to deal with at some point, when the bins just don’t cut it. This service makes it fairer, cleaner and greener for the many people on low incomes in Camelon to chuck out unwanted junk when the service is operating in February, May, August and November next year.
Tamfourhill Tenants and Residents Association – Outreach Youth Work – £4,050 The proposal is to equip a pod to be utilised for outreach and detached youthwork to use with our local young people across Tamfourhill, Camelon and Bantaskine. The container currently sits at the local park in Tamfourhill. The aim is to engage with young people, whether that is on the street, in a park, in the well-used wooded area or anywhere else. We aim to pilot sessions throughout Tamfourhill, targeted at 10–16-year-olds, the funds will be utilised for equipment and resources including the promotion of the sessions. The sessions will take place at times where local young people can be at risk of engaging in Anti- social behaviour and in turn negatively impacting on an array of community safety issues. The aim is to engage local young people in recreational activities and help support and signpost at an early stage.
Click the links above and follow the instructions. Again, if you have any difficulties or know someone without digital access, please get in touch so we can make sure everyone’s vote can still be registered. Good luck to everyone who has put in an application.
It is great news that the Falkirk Council Community Choices funding programme is back for Pilot Phase 2. This is where groups can submit applications for funding that the local public vote on to get the cash.
Here’s the summary info, then I’ll give you a bit more info below: Community Choices aims to help clubs, organisations, community groups, and individuals make their local area fairer, healthier, more connected and more inclusive. It gives you the chance to secure public funding to improve your local area and vote to decide how public money is spent. You can apply for up to £5,000 for smaller projects and over £5,000 to get larger projects off the ground.
Small Grants programme (up to £5,000) This is open for applications now until 19 November. This is a very quick turnaround for this programme but it’s a much easier process than before. It can fund “revenue” items which is things like activity costs, equipment and supplies. This might include but is not limited to:
The purchase of small items of furniture or equipment, for example a shelving unit or disabled toilet seat or fridge
Signs and display boards
Equipment for a sport activity
Supplies and materials to deliver an activity
Food and supplies as part of an activity
Transport costs to enable people to attend
If you received a grant in phase one and would like to apply again for the same project, you can apply for £5,000 LESS what you got first time round. However, if it is a new project then you can go for the full amount. It’s important to note a key change from last time round is that if you’re a new group, you must have your constitution and bank account in place before applying.
The public vote for the Small Grants Programme will launch online on 26 November and close on 17 December. Once the votes have been checked and verified, successful bids will be notified on 14 January with the funds being paid out shortly after that date.
Place-Based Capital Programme This is also open for applications now but has a closing date of 7 January. The close proximity of this date to the festive break has been pointed out so this date may be changed. This is a key factor as quotes for work and information from council departments may be required for your application and of course, many places and staff will not be available over the break. I’ll update you on this as I know more.
The programme can be applied to for projects costing a minimum of £5,000. Proposals should outline a clear vision and ambition for a positive future, and should align to the programme’s aims to make your area fairer, healthier, more connected and more inclusive.
There is a budget allocation for each ward as before, but a key change is that a cap has been put in place for applications to avoid projects taking up the whole ward allocation meaning smaller projects miss out. Here are the numbers:
Maximum application level (60%)
With reference to the 60% maximum application, it has been said that just because you can apply for up to 60%, it does not mean you should as the Council are keen to be able to fund as many projects as possible. Of course, at the end of the day, it all comes down to the public vote.
There was a bit of an issue in Phase 1 where projects or organisations that had an impact wider than just one ward could only be voted on by people from an individual ward. Many votes were removed as a result. So this time, a new Falkirk wide category has been added. There is a total of £200,000 in this pot so the maximum grant for any one project would be £120,000.
The Capital funds programme can be used to invest in resources and facilities for the benefit of the community and must be able to continue to offer public benefit throughout their lifetime. This means that the funds cannot be spent where only an organisation or individual would gain a personal benefit. Capital spend is expected to create something new (an asset) or improve an existing asset such as a structural improvement to a building, for example.
There are 3 main types of capital expenditure:
Building something new – a house, or an office for example. Not all the costs of a new build can be treated as capital but the majority can. The costs of looking after the building after it has been built (revenue costs) are not covered.
Improving an asset – money spent on an existing building, for example, can be called capital if it substantially increases:
the useful life of the asset or
the market value of the asset or
the extent to which the asset can or will be used.
Normal day-to-day running costs – for example, painting rooms, changing carpets, fixing windows – are not capital costs, and are not covered. Money spent on improving other assets, for example a road or a park, may be capital depending on what the money is spent on. For example, re-turfing and planting in an existing park will not be capital spending. However, turning a piece of waste land into a children’s playpark may be capital spending.
Purchasing equipment – money spent on buying, for example, a minibus. The equipment, which should cost more than £5k, should reasonably be expected to last for more than a year. As an example, undertaking repairs in a broken playpark will not be capital spending but buying new equipment may be. However, looking after that equipment in the future will not be capital spending.
Whatever you choose, the deadline as I said is currently 7 January. The vote opens on 24 January and closes on 11 February. Once votes have been checked and verified, successful projects will be notified on 28 February, with funds being paid out shortly after.
No doubt you will have questions about all this so please give me a shout and I’ll guide you through things. You can also request a support session from council staff for the capital programme. If you would benefit from one of these sessions, or if you want to get an application form, you need to email the team on firstname.lastname@example.org and they’ll be in touch.
This is a great opportunity to get some much needed funding into your organisation and have it endorsed by the local public through their voting. So don’t miss out!
Until next time
Dan Rous, Community Coach, 07444 873151, email@example.com
Would you like to have a calendar that highlights all that is great about Camelon and Tamfourhill?
Would you like to have a photo that you have taken featured in a calendar?
If you answered yes to either of those questions then have I got something to interest you?! Yes I have!
In collaboration with our good friends at Camelon Arts and as part of their autumn season programme – Together Now!, I am so pleased to be able to introduce to you, the Camelon and Tamfourhill 2022 Community Calendar project. If you enjoyed our previous #WednesdayWalkabout social media series, then this could be for you. Here’s all you need to know to get involved:
What is the Community Calendar project? The Community Calendar project is the chance for local people from Camelon and Tamfourhill to submit their photos to be showcased in your 2022 calendar.
Who is it for? Anyone and everyone from Camelon and Tamfourhill who wishes to submit their photo!
What is the theme? Our theme is ‘local wonders’ and we are looking for photos that capture some of the amazing things, people, and nature that can be found in the area. Show us what you love about living here.
Technical Details We accept digital submissions of iPhone, camera and scanned analogue photos in jpeg format to a maximum size of 10mb.
How do I submit my photo? By sending an email with your photo attached to it (max one photo per person) to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please don’t forget to add your name to your email so we can credit you with your submission. For anyone under 18, please check with your parent or carer first. All submissions will be accepted and featured provided they meet the technical requirements and content is appropriate.
When is the deadline? To be included in the calendar, your photo must be submitted by Friday 12 November.
When will I be able to buy a community calendar? With Camelon Arts, we are hoping to organise a launch event in December so you can purchase as many as you want for Christmas presents! You will be warmly invited to join us so keep an eye out for updates!
So there you have it. I am so excited to see this project launched and am grateful to Camelon Arts for running with it. This is a really great way to celebrate what is great and good in this area. And what’s more, the calendar will be put together by a young graphic designer who is based right here in Camelon. So this is a totally local project. A true Community Calendar. Let’s all get involved!
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.
Now that we can do more things, it seems everyone is wanting to do everything in the next few months! Patience is key especially as some of you may still be a bit wary of going out to events at this time. We too have that air of caution around our planning but still, there is a lot going on. So here’s a quick summary of events and happenings that I’m involved in or am supporting. There’s much more than is contained in this blog, and many ideas are just in the formation stages, but this will give you an idea of how things are going:
Tidy Clean Green This resident led group has officially launched, office bearers appointed, the constitution signed, and a bank account is currently being set up. They received £1,500 from the Community Choices Small Grants programme towards developing Pop Up Parks and have just received some other funding that will further raise their profile but I can’t tell you about that yet! One of their first actions of planting trees in Brown Street Park has gone well as all of them are still in the ground where they left them! There are also monthly community litter picks plus other adhoc activity. If you’re not on the mailing list for this group and would like to be kept informed, then head to our mailing subscription link, fill in your details, and select #tidycleangreen in the options (along with anything else you’d like to be kept informed about.
Canal Based Activities This is another resident led group that is developing it’s offering in the background and will be launching very soon. There are some very exciting projects forming under one banner including canoeing, and I’m pleased to be able to support them in their aims. It’s great to see other local residents already benefiting from access to specific training around some of this too. Watch this space!
Mens Shed A couple of local guys are working up plans for a multi-faceted mens shed project that is really exciting and much needed. There’s a big mental health focus within this as well as tackling some practical activities too. They’ll need a few more guys to help move this on though so if you’re interested, let me know and I’ll link you up.
THRIVE to Keep Well This programme is well underway and is supporting 10 local ladies between now and the end of the year to understand themselves better, learn how to tackle what life throws at them, and move towards whatever potential looks like for them. We’re proud to be working with NHS Forth Valley, Falkirk Council Community Learning and Development, and the Health and Social Care Partnership to facilitate this pilot programme, and are grateful for the additional support of Artlink Central and Forth Environment Link. We’re having a really good time and are looking forward to everything else that this programme has to offer.
Training for you We have partnered with 4 The Benefit of All in Grangemouth, and Falkirk Council’s Employment Training Unit, to bring training to you in many areas. But rather than just put courses on randomly, we will shortly be bringing drop in information sessions to the community so you can speak with staff and find out what is out there for you. You’ll also be able to have a Better off in Work calculation carried out for you and find out about what support is there for you to get back into training, volunteering or employment.
Development Coaching I have been provided my impaCT 1to1 coaching for a few people and have got a lot of interest from others. This is where I will work with you over 6 sessions to help you find the answers to the questions you will be asking, as you move towards your potential.
Existing Groups I’m providing a range of support to some existing groups to build their strengths as well as helping with the development of their activities or offerings. Support with funding, governance, property, business planning, marketing and more is available either through me or through our partners. There’s room in my diary for more though so if there’s anything your group needs that you don’t know how to tackle, give me a shout!
Resident Engagement John has a couple of activities happening during the October week that he’ll tell you about, but we will also be having an event in Easter Carmuirs Park on the afternoon of Sunday 24 October. All details will be confirmed very soon but save the date for now. As well as lots of fun and food at these events, you will have the chance to chat with us about local developments, make your comments/suggestions, and see how you can get involved to make a positive difference right here.
Final Words Remember, there is no pot of money or magic money tree. Whether things have been discussed before or not, there is no cash sitting waiting to be spent. But, if you, the community, can pull together properly and effectively, forming groups where necessary and coordinating ideas, skills and talents (plus taking on learning where needed with our support), then amazing things can and will happen. We can’t sit back anymore and wait for things to happen or for others to do it. We’ve got a good momentum going with the things I’ve mentioned here plus other things that John has told you about. These things have got going because people have stepped up, put their head above the parapet, and refused to accept the status quo. Now they need your help.
Okay, that title doesn’t scan as well as the Jackson 5 hit “ABC” but there’s a reason for the strange title to the blog this week.
Back in February I introduced you to a thing called Asset Based Community Development – ABCD for short. It’s a fancy title for working with who and what you have in your community and recognising them not as random statistics, but as people. People who have skills, talents, passions, needs, desires. People who can be the change in their community. People who, with the right encouragement, can be even more amazing. People who can make a positive difference in their lives, in their families lives, in the organisation their part of, and in the whole community. In short, what my job is here to do.
So why am I returning to this now?
Well, apart from the fact that I live by this every day, specifically, in a couple of weeks time I am part of a team hosting the second UK ABCD Jamboree that this time has a Scottish theme. Basically, this is an online get together for people delivering some kind of Community Development but also crucially, for those who are actually in communities – those who are being the change already. Practitioners at all levels. This is the first of a series of ‘regional’ gatherings where projects can be showcased from Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland. It’s been one of the positives of using online platforms to meet, as there is the chance to hear and learn from others across a wider field than we would ever have met with before. We’re so pleased to be involved in the first one of these and give the chance for people to see the opportunities that are being grabbed here in Camelon and Tamfourhill amongst other areas.
So this is an open invitation to you. Whether you’re reading this as someone in a position of authority, someone who is getting their hands dirty by doing the every day community stuff, or anyone in between those extremes, this is the gathering for you. It’s not a dry, policy led set of PowerPoint presentations. This is going to be full of living, breathing stories of communities making a difference. We want to flood this online gathering with people who are actively involved in community activity at all levels.
As well as hearing from some great projects from across Scotland (including a 5 minute piece from Lynne at Tamfourhill Community Hub in the quick fire talks section), there will be lots of chances to chat with people from other communities who are there to share and learn in equal measure. This is a place for ideas to be shared, connections to be made, and communities to be celebrated. And it’s all free!
So why not book in. It would be great to see you there and to truly celebrate our area on this UK platform. It’s being held on Zoom on Tuesday 7 September from 10am to 1230pm. More details are on the image below but you can book at celebratingcommunities.eventbrite.co.uk. I look forward to celebrating with you at that event.
Our Place Camelon and Tamfourhill is pleased to announce the official arrival of the Tidy Clean Green group and want to invite you to join in the celebrations and activities.
This group is a coming together of the Community Growing and Litter Picking groups who have both been gathering pace over recent months. With both of them covering parts of our #tidycleangreen campaign, it made sense to bring them together into a constituted group that will be able access their own funding. Existing members have approved the plan and are forming an operating committee, but there is still room to get involved. Myself and John will continue to support the group and its members especially in these early days, but for as long as they need.
It’s really exciting to see this resident-led group come into being and to see the potential for them. This is just a small part of my role to support the establishment of groups like this but it is a really important part. I’m supporting a couple of other aspiring groups at the moment but have room for more, so if you have an idea you want to explore further, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with me. Contact details are below.
So, back to Tidy Clean Green. On the weekend of 14/15 August, we have a couple of events for you to get involved in.
Firstly, on Saturday 14, John is hosting the last in the series of the Our Place Camelon & Tamfourhill (Great Place Falkirk funded) community canal clear ups from 10am to 4pm. This one is a family activity and includes a clean up of the canal using canoes, plus by walking along the tow path, followed by a fun and interactive workshop. If would like to take part then please get in touch with John on 07391524528 or email email@example.com. Please note that places are extremely limited, so don’t leave it too late to get in touch. You can come along as 1 adult/parent/carer with up to 2 children who must be 8 years and older for the canoe part of the day, however there are no age or numbers restrictions for the canal towpath litter pick and the workshop session. This is a great way to end the school holidays and enjoy a day out and about around Lock 16, the Forth and Clyde Canal and the Falkirk Wheel. There is no cost to taking part and you will be making a valuable contribution to keeping our community tidy clean and green.
Secondly, on Sunday 15, I am hosting a tree planting session in the Brown Street Park, Camelon. This is following a community consultation in the surrounding area in response to resident suggestions to develop this space. The main plans are on going but this reinstatement of trees was high on peoples list, with 82% of respondents to the consultation agreeing to this going ahead. So from 1pm, we will plant 20 trees that have been kindly donated by The Woodland Trust. These saplings will be regularly checked and as they get bigger, will be maintained to no more than 3m in height to stop them becoming unwieldly and a nuisance. Just prior to that at 12pm, John will facilitate a community litter pick in the park and surrounding streets. All the info is on the flyer below, but there’s plenty to get involved in on what will hopefully be a fun couple of hours. I’ll also be on hand for any enquiries about the park or any other thoughts you might have for the area.
We hope you’ll be able to join us over this weekend of celebration as restrictions ease and as we mark a big step forward in the community.
For my blog this week, to finish off the series where I’ve asked “Why Bother” and “Why Not“, I am revisiting a blog I originally wrote back in July of last year, where I encouraged us to focus on Why we do things. What’s our motivation, our reason, our passion, our purpose? When we start with Why, everything else becomes clearer and falls into place. Now that we’ve explored why we should bother and helped you to address the “why not’s” in life, it seems appropriate to share that blog again to remind us all. So here it is….
Over the years that I’ve had the pleasure of working with community based activities, projects, organisations or enterprises, one thing always stands out for me. Those who know why they are doing whatever it is they are doing, survive longer and better than those who just focus on what they are doing.
This is not just something to put in a funding application form, but something that defines you as an organisation. It will help local people understand why they should get involved. If you’re trading, it could make the difference between someone choosing to buy from your socially benefiting enterprise, or a standard company up the road. If you’re fundraising, it could make the difference between a donors money coming to you or something else.
I’m sure you all know what you do: you hire rooms out; you run a sports activity; you coordinate events; you run a music group; etc etc.
You also probably know how its done: you have a price list and people book in; you have coaches, equipment, and training sessions; you book entertainment and advertise; you have instruments, rehearsals, tutors; etc etc
But the key to success is why you do it: to provide facilities and activities for the betterment of the local community; to improve health, fitness and wellbeing; to celebrate local identity and success; to encourage the development of talent; etc etc
So what is your starting point? Why, how, or what? Author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek writes in his book “Start with Why” about what he calls the “Golden Circle”.
This is one of the most simplistic but powerful ways of looking at what it is that you do – or wish to do. We can so easily get bogged down in ideas, processes, procedures etc that we can forget what is at the heart of our mission. Sinek explains further:
“When most organisations or people think, act or communicate they do so from the outside in, from WHAT to WHY. And for good reason — they go from clearest thing to the fuzziest thing. We say WHAT we do, we sometimes say HOW we do it, but we rarely say WHY we do WHAT we do.” “When communicating from the inside out, however, the WHY is offered as the reason to buy and the WHATs serve as the tangible proof of that belief.”
Simon Sinek: “Start with Why”
This change of thinking could really make the difference for you and your activity / organisation. Before I say more, let’s hear from the Simon Sinek himself in this short TED talk:
In my last development role, I produced a marketing booklet entitled What we do and Why we do it. It was pretty evident what the place did, but not everyone fully understood why. Producing that booklet helped secure a major collaboration that will now be bringing increased support for people in that area. All because we highlighted the ‘why’.
It’s crucial to focus on why your organisations exists and emphasise this. Anything you do (what) and the process to make it happen (how) will fall into place if the why is solid. This is true for any activity, organisation or business but especially so when it is for community benefit. It will give your followers, service users or customers a way to identify with you on a personal level. If your ‘why’ matches their ‘why’, they will be willing to stand with you through thick and thin. Without a clear ‘why’, people default to the ‘what’. Then you are caught in the struggle to stand out in the ever growing sea of ‘what’ and are forced to differentiate yourself with features, or worse, with price. The end result is your reason for being – your ‘why’ – is lost.
Let’s take a hall or meeting space as an example – its easy for me as I’ve run one! You know how big it is, how many people it can hold and the kind of activities you’d be happy to see within it. You know how much it costs to run the hall (light, heat etc) and any staffing costs, so you can work out a rental price. If you stop there, you are just the same as any hall or meeting space and people will choose on location, availability or price – the ‘what’ and ‘how’. However, if you decide to run some activities yourself, or support a group to use the space for less than advertised rates, in order to provide something of direct benefit to the community, you can use this as a reason for other groups or companies renting your space – the ‘why’. “Use our space and we’ll use surplus funds to run this other activity for community benefit” or “have your meeting here and we’ll be able to allow a community benefit activity to use the space at a reduced price or for free”. See the difference? Suddenly there’s a reason for people to use your service – the ‘why’ has come to the fore and in this scenario, your ‘how’ (processes) and ‘what’ (activities) have become consistent with your ‘why’ (beliefs). And that’s the key as all three work together in harmony. To do that, you need to ensure the clarity of why, the discipline of how, and the consistency of what.
Remember that “People don’t buy WHAT you do; they buy WHY you do it.” The most effective leaders always win the heart first, and then the mind. And the only chance you have to win the heart is if you start with WHY.
Simon Sinek: “Start with Why”
I’ll leave you with a terribly misquoted song lyric that might help you remember this Golden Circle that we’ve looked at today: “It ain’t what you do its WHY YOU DO IT”. Until next week…….