I know days and dates don’t necessarily mean much at the moment, but apparently we have entered a new month! So it’s as good a time as any to give you a brief update on how some of the projects I’m working on with and for the people of Camelon and Tamfourhill are coming on.
Community Growing We continue to make plans for various growing projects. One particular one in the old Brown Street Park, Camelon, will move to a consultation stage for surrounding residents later this month. We are also about to spend the Community Climate Action Funding received from Keep Scotland Beautiful / The Scottish Government that will see 2 Community Gardening Tool Libraries installed in the area. Those will be in place by the end of March. Keep up to speed with all Growing information, and join our team, over on our dedicated Growing page
Community Supporting I have continued to work with organisations and individuals across the area with various different needs. Next month I will bring you full information of how you can access 1 to 1 coaching sessions to help you make the right choices and bring clarity and confidence to life’s opportunities. It’ll be worth the wait but if you want to get on my list for receiving coaching sessions before I’ve even launched this, then drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Community Training This is the one that has taken most of my time lately and rightly so. Firstly, I can tease the news that we have partnered with a relatively new local charitable company to bring a wide range of personal development courses to you. More on that later this month but it’s an exciting step forward for us. For now though, let me remind you that we launched our Creative Writing Introductory course last week and have had a good response already. Thanks to those who have signed up but there’s still room for more. I’m also pleased to introduce one of the experts that is supporting this course. It’s Camelon’s own Kev McPhee. And to save me going on about things, here’s a video from Kev to give you a bit more information on the course and to encourage you to get involved. It may be 8 minutes long but it’s worth the watch, especially as he gives away some information about our hopes for those who come on the course! Enjoy this video and I’ll update you with more in due course.
I’m giving my blog this week over to tell you about a new training course that I’m pleased to be able to bring to you.
Following comments from some local residents and a couple of opportunities that arose through unplanned means, we have put together a Creative Writing Introductory Course. This is completely free for local residents.
Through 6 sessions that will be delivered with a mix of live ‘online via zoom’ and ‘work offline at your own pace’ learning, we will give you an overview of how to get started in Creative Writing, with hints and tips along the way to help you get into writing in its various forms.
Joining me to bring this course are 2 experts – Susan Marshall and Kev McPhee – local writers who want to inspire and help you on your own journey to writing. Additionally, our friends at Camelon Arts will be supporting in a variety of ways. During the course there will be various practical tasks for you to do along the way that will take you through different styles of writing which might help you decide (if you haven’t already), what kind of writer you think you want to be, or what writing style you will have. At the end of it, we’ve got something special planned – but we’ll keep that under wraps for now! What we can say is that as well as the surprise, we will have other learning options that will focus on specific types of writing so that you can continue in your chosen field.
Right now, as the 10 second clip below shows, I’m busy editing videos and tidying up the sessions to make this the best it can be for you. This would have been so much easier to get you in a room together but that’s obviously not to be at the moment.
For now, if you’re interested in being a part of this course, simply click the link below to be taken to a survey monkey page where you can insert your contact details and we’ll be in touch with more information. We aim to start the course in late February.
Hi. Dan here, your Community Coach. Let me ask you, which of the following categories you fall into?
Do you look back on things that happened in the past and wish it was like it was again? Or maybe you’re stuck because of things that happened to you, or that you did, in the past and can’t move forwards?
Do you feel you’re fine as things are right now and no change is necessary, or do you feel restricted because of how things are now?
Do you long for a future that is so much different to what it is now? Or maybe you have a dream of something that you could do, or that could be happening in the area or in your life generally?
Past – Present – Future. Past is Experience. Present is Experiment. Future is Expectation. So we could say that we can use our experience in our experiments to achieve our expectations. All are relevant and should be embraced but they have to lead somewhere and that’s important as we look at what can be achieved in the Camelon and Tamfourhill area.
We have a proud heritage in this area and it is important to learn from that and build on it. However, times have changed and so there is no point in generally wishing things were as they were before. We have to move forwards – to evolve with the times – but still ensuring we remain distinctives as Mariners.
And that’s where we look to the future. What does that look like? I know that’s going to be different for everyone reading this, but the simple truth is that we have a future to work towards and we must make every effort to do that. Certainly myself and John are here to help that happen and are encouraged by those who have already stepped up to join with us on this quest.
For now though, we have many good things happening in the area at present that we should celebrate. That is not to say it is all perfect but if you’re honest, was it ever perfect? Our perception of life changes as we age and sometimes it’s difficult to see beyond that. But despite the issues around at present that do seriously need sorting (and together we can work on that), we still have much to celebrate and be proud of. A strong foundation to build on.
CS Lewis wrote that “the past is frozen and no longer flows, and the present is all lit up with eternal rays”. What’s he getting at? Nathan Blackaby describes himself in his book “Going against the Grain” as often having lived in the ‘frozen past, trying to defrost past moments, hurts, failures, and stuff that I did wrong (or the wrong that other people have done to me). All of these past events and moments are slowly defrosted so that I can re-experience that hurt – because, if I’m really honest, the hurt is real and comfortable at times, and easier to live with than without.” He goes on to say, “if I wasn’t defrosting stuff from the past, I could be found wandering in my head way off into the future somewhere. Future hopes, plans or dreams, future fears or points of anxiety and concern were all mapped out.” Blackaby, like Lewis, is not saying that past reflection or future thoughts are wrong – far from it. “But whether you are stuck in the past or lost in the future, consumed with health, wealth or family what-ifs, you are being robbed of the ‘now'”
So, what about now? 2021! It promised so much back in December last year but has started with renewed frustrations and restrictions. Some plans will have to be re-thought but that’s okay. Things will still happen. It may all still look different at least for the next few months, but there is still so much to be getting on with.
As well as working on the Community Growing activity with a new group of volunteers, there are many other exciting projects brewing away. A lot focuses around training and I am building a partnership with a training provider for a wide range of personal development courses that will come free of charge to local residents. I am also building my own bank of knowledge for sharing with others (individuals and organisations) and ensuring that Camelon and Tamfourhill are more widely represented and recognised in various networks both locally and nationally.
I am developing a Creative Writing programme and will have more on that in due course. We’ll pick up the Bicycle Recycling scheme once restrictions have lifted, and I have a draft plan for celebrating some of the historical nature of our area. Aside of that, I am facilitating more discussion between all the projects funded through the Our Place scheme, namely Camelon Arts, TCV and Cyrenians (Camelon Connect), so that we can work together more where needed and make each others lives easier which in turn will make the activities we all produce greater and even more beneficial to local people.
That last part is a key focus of my role, as I am here to help develop local people and organisations. All the projects we work on will be there to enable people to get involved at their level but with the intention to help them grow and become more involved in their community. This will also enhance the training programme options and additionally, I will shortly have a coaching programme to offer that will help individuals to move towards their potential whatever that may be.
To return to Nathan Blackaby’s book, he says “the ‘now’ is where we operate, where we impact and influence change, and it is where we are forged … with a ridiculous amount of potential, courage, hope, adventure and purpose.” I am genuinely excited about what is to come this year and hope you will hop on for the ride. As Blackaby again says, let’s “get busy living in the now and … we will see some action”.
As always, if you have any questions, suggestions, general comments or even complaints, please get in touch with me (Dan) via email at email@example.com or call 07444 873151.
Welcome to the first of an occasional series where we will highlight something that we feel is of special interest to you, the lovely people of Camelon and Tamfourhill (and others too if you’re looking in!) We might feature an organisation, an activity, an individual, an opportunity or any number of things. If you feel you have something worth including here, then please get in touch with Dan, our Community Coach.
For today, we’re going to feature an opportunity that pretty much everyone could get involved in and benefit from. And it comes from the Compassionate Communities Team at Strathcarron Hospice.
Here’s a couple of quick questions:
Can you talk or write? Would you like to be connected with someone with similar interests? Would you like to offer friendship and a listening ear?
If the answer to any or all of those questions is “yes”, then this could be the opportunity for you. 2020 has been unexpected to say the least! And it has been tough for many especially in terms of keeping in touch with others. If you’re not great on a computer and stuck in your house, conversation for many has become a distant memory.
The Compassionate Communities Team at Strathcarron Hospice have seen and understood this, as have we here at OPCT. So they have have set up this opportunity that is open to all. It will enable you to connect with someone of like mind either by phone or through the good old art of writing letters – it’ll be like having a penpal as used to be a norm for lots of people many years ago.
As well as helping people remain connected, this could even bring out a creative spirit within you. Maybe you’ve always wanted to get into creative writing and didn’t have an outlet for it? Here at OPCT we’re looking at doing something with the writing skills of local people in 2021 so this scheme could be a good way to start warming those skills up in readiness. We’ve got a local author willing to help us, and a few ideas for putting your skills on show. All we can say is, watch this space!
For now though, to get more information on the Connecting People scheme in addition to the flyer below, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07881 511961. Alternatively you can contact us and we’ll help you do the necessary.
***Please share especially with those you know who are not online.***