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, community, development, Our Place, resilience, Support, tamfourhill

THRIVE to Keep Well

Community Coach blog, Dan Rous, 3 June 2021

I am so pleased to be able to introduce an exciting programme that is new to Falkirk. We’re excited that NHS Forth Valley have come to us with the opportunity to pilot this programme that has run elsewhere but never before in Falkirk. So Camelon and Tamfourhill are ground breakers!

So “what is this programme” I hear you cry! Well, specifically this is for the ladies of Camelon and Tamfourhill. I realise that means I’ll lose half of the readers of this blog today and I’m sorry about that, but I’ll balance that back up at a later date. Guys, feel free to read on though as you may have a female in your life to whom this might be relevant so you can let them know.

So ladies, here’s a couple of questions for you, to see if you would be eligible for this programme.

  • Do you live in Camelon and Tamfourhill area?
  • Are you aged 16 upwards?
  • Do you find it difficult at times to deal with day to day stresses?
  • Are you looking for help to improve your confidence, motivation and/or self esteem?

If you can answer YES to those questions then this programme is potentially for you. If any of those do not apply to you then I’m sorry that the rest of this blog won’t be relevant for you. However, as for the guys, feel free to keep reading as you may know someone who would benefit and you could encourage them to get involved.

The programme is called THRIVE to Keep Well and each letter of the word THRIVE stands for another word. Each participant will have the opportunity to be Transformational in their journey to making positive Health and wellbeing changes, by being a Responsive Individual, to feeling Valued and Empowered by improving knowledge, skills and opportunities in a variety of ways to move towards a positive destination.

The programme is delivered over 16 weeks through one 4.5 hour session per week in a local Centre. The sessions run during the day in school hours. We have space for up to 12 participants so it will also be a great way of meeting some new friends.

The THRIVE to Keep Well programme will help you to:

  • Increase your knowledge and ability to manage day to day stress and anxiety.
  • Improve your self-esteem and confidence through self-development and reflection techniques.
  • Improve your knowledge and skills around motivational goal setting to enable a change in your health behaviour.
  • Increase your knowledge of your current health. (As part of the programme you can have a NHS Forth Valley Keep Well health assessment)
  • Increase your confidence and motivation to improve on your life skills, especially when looking towards further learning, volunteering and employment.
  • Increase your knowledge and develop skills and confidence that will improve family relationships, support your children’s learning, behaviour and attainment (if you are a parent), and enhance the wider wellbeing of you and your family.

Through the programme, participants will learn about stress, anxiety and how to make positive changes through a variety of group and self-reflection activities. Participants also take part in relaxation, creative, health, safety, and community awareness sessions. There will also be a chance to meet with training and employability support providers.

It’s a bit of fun but is also a seriously helpful programme that has benefited so many people to better understand themselves and to progress in life, including moving on to training, volunteering or even a paid job. What’s more, it’s all FREE, plus all resources, drinks, snacks and lunch are included.

So here’s the detail:

  • The programme starts at the end of August (Preliminary session Friday 20, then Wednesdays from 26 August)
  • Sessions happen once a week for 16 weeks (breaking for the October school holiday).
  • Sessions commence at 9:30/10am and finish at 2:30pm, so if you have children at school there’s time to drop them off and pick them up and still benefit from the programme.
  • This pilot is just for females in the local area aged 16+
  • Most sessions will be at Tamfourhill Community Hub but some will be at Camelon Community Centre.

If you would like further information, you can get in touch with me (Dan Rous, Community Coach) on 07444 873151 or communitycoach@tamfourhilltro.co.uk or better still, you can contact Jackie Turnbull, who is the NHS Keep Well Forth Valley coordinator and is also local! Jackie is on 07909 002795 or jackie.turnbull@nhs.scot. If you’re linked with a support worker, they may speak to you about referring you to this programme as we have also contacted local agencies and schools about this.

If you would like to support the development of this programme in the local area so we can run it for more groups, male and female, in the future, or if you want to get involved in any way with any of the craft, food, pamper or other elements, then please get in touch with me as well.

So, over to you. Have a think if you would benefit from this, or if you know someone close to you who would. We’re really looking forward to bringing this programme to you this Autumn.

Until next time…..