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

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

Easy as ABCD

Last week, I was lucky to share a powerful couple of hours on zoom with over 120 other people across the UK who are working with their communities to bring positive change. It was called the Asset Based Community Development Jamboree – hence the ABCD heading to this blog. Don’t get put off with fancy words there – what this really means is strengthening communities with what exists already – i.e. the people. To put it another way, as it says in our mission statement, empowering local people & organisations to bring about positive, lasting change. What this boils down to is a community revolution! It’s the time for communities to build on their own skills and be the authors of their own futures.

I was incredibly fired up from the morning in this session, as I was joined by others who are banging the same drum as I have throughout my time in this role and for years before that: stop doing stuff to communities – work with them. I could write forever on this subject but to save boring you (who said “too late”?!), I will just put this over a series of blogs in the coming weeks and months as the mood takes me and as circumstances dictate.

The above image is the graphic notes from the morning, captured by Visual Practitioner Anna Geyer. She has really caught the mood and you can see for yourself that there is so much in there which is why I need a series to bring some of this to a local level. In her twitter summary, this quote really stood out for me:

In every meeting I’ve been in over the last 10 months – especially the current Community Conversations that the Council are leading – I have pressed the point that the whole community needs to be spoken to. Anything dressed up as a conversation cannot fall short and become a place simply for providing information. The people of Camelon and Tamfourhill have some powerful opinions that can really help shape the future of our community. It’s time these opinions were taken seriously and my pledge to you is that I will do what I can to make this happen. But you need to work with me on this.

Back to the ABCD session, below are just some of the comments shared by participants that I managed to capture and feel are relevant to us here. The first 5 quotes come from Fatima El Guenuni, a family therapist in the Grenfell area of London who had family members in the tower that burned down (thankfully they survived). Her talk certainly set the tone for the day:

  • Communities have never been hard to reach, but they have been easy to ignore.
  • Voice is important at the centre of communities but action is more important.
  • Work alongside people and be brave enough to make decisions that benefit the community and not the system.
  • It’s the system that marginalises communities, not communities that make themselves hard to reach.
  • We need to be willing to step outside roles & be there for communities with love and support – a hug of compassion and humanity.
  • Be the “human bridge” between people and the community and the system.
  • It is time to stop the politicisation of community development.
  • This citizen centred movement is gathering massive momentum. I hope councils learn, recognise it & work generously with communities to share power & space.
  • We are hearing of rooted acts of kindness, and the tremendous steely courage of communities, to flourish forward fairly, whatever the challenges may be.
  • Stories are so important and then stimulating them with the right questions.
  • Inequalities have driven the change. Our aim was to listen. Serve the people. Unlock skills and talents. Change power.
  • We need jargon free community development. It’s about people. Local people. Leading local change.

There are so many more that I’ll save for another blog. But can you pick up the themes here? Are you excited by it? Everyone was completely on board with this revolution. This last year has actually been a defining moment for communities across the land, as many have really stepped up to meet their own needs. The challenge now is to build on that, with appropriate support and empowerment, to make this change in power permanent.

I’ll finish this week where I started, with the letters ABCD, standing for Asset Based Community Development. For a bit of fun following a challenge by a Community Builder from the Denny area, I extended this for the whole alphabet, so our A to Z of Community Development is now: Asset Based Community Driven Efforts For Growing Hope, Increasing Joy, Keeping Lives Motivated, Nurturing Others, Persevering, Quickly Reaffirming, Strengthening Talents, Unleashing Volunteers With eXtra Youthful Zest.

So who’s up for joining in on this community revolution? Let’s hear your voices – your comments, concerns, suggestions, hopes, plans. What do you need to help take you forward? Is it other people? Money? Training? Property? Equipment? Other resources? Let us know and we can then work with you to try to make it happen.

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