camelon, community, Our Place, tamfourhill

And now….

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 24 February 2022

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.”

Until we meet again…….

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

Past, Present, Future

Hi. Dan here, your Community Coach. Let me ask you, which of the following categories you fall into?

  1. 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?
  2. 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?
  3. 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 communitycoach@tamfourhilltro.co.uk or call 07444 873151.