Christmas, community, Mental Health, resilience

Tidings of Comfort and Joy?

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 16 December 2021

I love Christmas. But not everyone does. Infact, a YouGov survey in 2019 revealed that 1 in 7 people don’t like Christmas. And to be honest, I’ve probably had a love/hate relationship with it at different times in my life too.

I spent most of my life as part of the Salvation Army, including playing in the band. This of course meant copious amounts of playing of Christmas Carols on cold street corners or occasionally we got to go indoors. It was always fun at the start of the month but slowly waned as the month went on! One highlight back home in Canterbury though was the Christmas Eve Community Carol Singing in the town centre which, on a good night, would have around 5000 people in attendance. However I’d felt over the rest of the month, I always got lifted by this event. A little part of me still misses this workload – but I soon get over it!

In later life, I was running a Furniture ReUse Project linked to a Homeless Resettlement Unit. It was my privilege to give the team a couple of weeks off at Christmas. However, it became clear that whilst this seemed a great gesture, it was not well received. This project was a lifeline for my team and what I was sending them off to was usually 2 weeks of solitude. I felt bad that it never crossed my mind. So before long, I organised that if they wanted, they could go into the warehouse and do some cleaning and basic maintenance work. Christmas had become a negative time for them – reminding them often of what they had lost in their lives. They needed to keep busy and not be left to wallow in their own company.

During this time, my view of Christmas changed considerably. While understanding more about the team I was supporting, I also got married and became a dad. I had two opposite extremes of the season. Avoiding loneliness versus childhood amazement.

So, to quote from the carol God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, do you experience “tidings of comfort and joy” this Christmastime? Or do you take more inspiration from Charles Dickens’ creation of Ebeneezer Scrooge with a touch of Bah Humbug? Or maybe you’re just wavering somewhere in the middle. Wherever you are, it’s important to recognise that not everyone is in the same place as you.

I’ve mentioned Camerados in this blog before and for this week’s blog, I’m actually handing the rest of the space over to them. Their CEO Maff Potts, a former colleague of mine in Salvation Army homelessness work, has just written a fantastic blog entitled (in his usual mildly eccentric way) “Why we all need to be a little alien this Christmas”. Maff describes his “complicated relationship with Christmas”. He says “it’s a time of year when I remember witnessing the very best feeling of belonging – and yet all the noise, the Christmas fanfare everywhere you look, is rarely about that magic.” The blog is a fantastic read that focuses on the pressures on all our Mental Health this Christmas time and how we can get through it together by simply being more human. Please take the time to read what Maff has to say – I promise you won’t regret it. You can get to his blog by clicking on the image below.

Until next time…..

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

camelon, Christmas, community, Our Place, tamfourhill

Friday Feature – Camelon Winter Festival

This weekend, it’s the always amazing Camelon Winter Festival. Obviously things are very different this year so a lot of the usual things have had to be put to one side. But, this is Camelon so the show will always go on!

For 2020, the Festival is heading into the heart of the area, bringing a wonderful mixture of Christmas cheer to Kemlin, whilst being COVID secure. Yes, there will be rules, but the festival group volunteers and Camelon Arts will still be sprinkling the local communities with as many magical moments as possible! And this year, it’s not just one day – but TWO! Yes, this weekend, Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th December, the Winter Festival team are so pleased to present two activities thanks to support from the National Lottery Community Fund: ‘Here Come Santa Claus…’ and ‘The Big Screen…’.

Below is all the information you need as it stands, but you should keep an eye on the Facebook pages for the Winter Festival and Camelon Arts for any changes. It is important to stress that the organising committees have worked really hard to ensure this all complies with current restrictions and need your help in making sure that stays the case. Please do not gather in groups to watch either the Santa carriage or Big Screen, or try to go up close to see anything going on. We know it will be really tempting but you’ll get a good view from your own window or doorstep of everything going on and that way, everyone will stay safe and we won’t be the cause of any negative change from the current Level 2 status. Thanks for your help with this.


Here Comes Santa Claus will see Santa travelling in style in a horse drawn carriage while his elves (with gloves!) hand deliver (quarantined!) pre-ordered gifts to children. Here’s a very rough route that you can use to work out (with large margin either side) when we should be in your area:

Saturday 12 from 2pm to 6pm:
Starting at Nailer Road and weaving round the northerly section of Camelon before going south across Main Street to weave up and down the area bordering Carmuirs school, then the area near the southern/canal edge to Ochiltree turning circle. Next we’ll go around the cluster of ‘Mariner’ streets then, via the westerly section of Carmuirs Ave up to the streets around Easter Carmuirs primary school looping back around the grid of streets in the heart of Camelon onto Glasgow Road and back to our Nailer Road finish for 6pm.
Sunday 13 from 2pm to 6pm
Starting from the canal end, we’re weaving southwards through Bantaskin then back to Glenfuir Road and straight along into Tamfourhill starting from the Bonnyhill Road end and wending our way eastwards up the hill and back down Glenfuir Rd for a 6pm finish.


The Big Screen is quite simply a travelling video screen that will be touring the streets of Camelon and Tamfourhill, featuring the big voice of local singer Dionne Hickey, community contributions from local groups and three inspiring videos made with local creative residents as part of our ongoing project Camelon’s Got Talent.

TOURING TIMES:
Saturday 12
Carmuirs Area: 12-2pm; Easter Carmuirs Area: 2-5pm; Loch 16 and Union Road Area: 5-6pm
Sunday 13
Summerford & Bantaskin Area: 12-2pm; Tamfourhill Area: 2-5pm; Nailer Park Area: 5-6pm

Timings are subject to change. The full length film will also be available to watch online from this Saturday at http://www.camelonarts.co.uk


Thanks as always to the amazing Winter Festival committee for making this happen and to Camelon Arts for their always awesome involvement. Thanks to the volunteers who have stepped up to help as well. Enjoy this weekend and please stay safe. Happy Christmas to all!