camelon, community, Mental Health, Our Place, resilience, Support, tamfourhill

Don’t suffer in silence

Last weekend, another young life was ended too soon. What makes it worse, is that this local young person chose to end their life. No-one should feel so much without hope that they feel this is their only option. So what can we do about it for ourselves and for our community?

Firstly, let me remind you that it is okay not to feel okay. And as Vasundhara Sawhney, quoting Dr Jaime Zuckerman, says, “Not only is it okay to not feel ‘okay,’ it is essential. An abnormal emotional response to an abnormal situation IS normal. We cannot simply pick the emotions we want to have. It just does not work that way,” Dr. Zuckerman said. So feeling sad and scared about my parents after they contracted Covid was normal. Crying after you get into a fight with your partner is also normal, as is feeling anxious and scared about an uncertain future. When we think we might lose something we care about, that’s sad. When we don’t know what to expect next, that’s scary. We should let ourselves, and other people in our lives, feel these things as they come up — which may be more than usual right now.”

Secondly, (and I know this is easy for me to type here but not so easy in reality), there is no need to suffer in silence or alone. Whatever you are feeling – whatever has happened – no one will think so badly of you that they would leave you on your own to deal with suicidal feelings. Find a trusted friend to talk to. This would be better in person but if a text/messenger exchange would help you get started then go for that. But do something. If you’d prefer to talk with someone you don’t know who maybe won’t be connected with your situation, then link up with a local organisation or national service that is there for you no matter what. Contact details for some of these are further down this blog.

Thirdly, we all need to better understand who we are and help our minds focus on that. Now I know that’s a big statement to make, but I want to emphasise that speaking with others is an essential part of that. Not pretending to be someone we’re not. Not trying to be like someone else. But being our awesome potential-filled selves.

Matt Meher says “we live in a day and age where we are very distracted. There’s a million places to be in our minds and our hearts – anywhere except here, now, in the present moment. And usually when we’re in the present moment, a lot of us avoid it because what’s waiting there is sometimes grief, fear, anxiety, or suffering. In fact we kind of live in a day and age where we’re more and more tempted to escape suffering instead of embracing it. We need to be willing to embrace the reality of the human condition, and the reality of this life, even to the point that it moves us to tears, because you can cry from grief and you can also cry from laughter – both require a heart that is so present to the moment that it is willing to be moved to that place. If you’re not present and you’re not free, you can’t get moved. Not only that but fear and anxiety can actually choke off our emotions and so crying is actually a natural involuntary response of our body, our subconscious. We’re getting stuff off our mind, off our chest in a way. And if we’re willing to do that, it creates an environment where we’re more in touch with who we are, and more in touch with the reality our circumstances. When we do that we tend to be more likely to find and experience peace.”

You may have heard about the swan syndrome. This is where everyone looking at you will think you’re all calm, sorted, and just gliding gracefully through life! And yet, just like the swan who’s wee legs will be flapping away to keep it going, under the surface of your outer appearance, things are going absolutely crazy. Your mind is a blur of different things and really you’re just going through the motions. You might be involved in so many things but never really settling. You might be so busy that you’re not sleeping because you’re not having time to wind down. You might be drinking so many energy drinks that you just can’t switch off. This list could go on and on. Things need to change and you need to take time to assess what is most important in your life. Now that might mean some tough choices. I’ve had to make some choices over the last year and have given up some things that I really enjoyed. It was tough. I miss the things I was doing and the people involved in them. But to be honest, I don’t know how I had the time to do them before. Not because I’ve replaced with them other stuff, but because I’ve spent time for me and with my family and friends. Yes, I was happy doing the things I’ve given up, but that doesn’t mean I’m not happy now I’m not doing them!

Dan Gilbert says “Happiness is not a final destination – it is just somewhere you visit on the path of life.”

What that quote is saying is that sometimes you’ll be happy and sometimes you won’t. And as we started this blog, THAT’S OKAY! It’s sad to say that happiness may not last forever in your current setting, but it needs to be acknowledged. That doesn’t mean you should be expecting things to go pear shaped at any minute and so you stop enjoying where you’re at. Please enjoy the moment for what it is. What it does mean is that if that joyous situation does come to an end, you’re ready for it and can pick yourself up with the help of trusted friends, and move forwards.

What I want to do just now is give some key contacts for local and national organisations, but first, here are some key statements from two local organisations that we would recommend:

Falkirk’s Mental Health Association (FDAMH) say “You may feel that there is no hope, but our experience shows us there is. All lives are precious. Don’t feel alone with your thoughts or feel ashamed of struggling, we can all struggle at different times. We are here to listen, without judgement, and to help find a positive solution to what might seem an impossible situation. We offer a range of services that can and do help.”

Quiet Waters Listening and Counselling say: “Do you feel anxious, depressed, angry, sad, hurt, or any of the many difficult emotions that are part of the human experience? Emotions are not good or bad, but they are trying to tell us something. Do you have difficult thoughts whirling around in your head? Is life a struggle? Do you want an opportunity to explore your thoughts and feelings in confidence? We are here if you want to talk through your situation.”

Here are some recommended contact details for you to have for yourself or to pass on to someone who you know that is struggling right now.

FDAMH: 01324 671 600 (Monday to Thursday 10am to 4pm, Friday 10am to 3pm)
Quiet Waters: 01324 630643
The Spark Counselling Falkirk: 0808 802 2088 (Monday to Thursday 9am to 9pm, Friday 9am to 4pm)
Wellbeing Matters: 01324 630 100
Breathing Space: 0800 83 85 87
Samaritans: 116 123
The Campaign Against Living Miserably (support for men): 0800 58 58 58
Childline 0800 1111
Young Minds: text YM to 85258
NHS 24: 111
Emergency Ambulance 999

There is lots of help out there and they are ready and waiting to support you and those you love. Please, let’s ensure no one suffers in silence to the point of complete despair. As our friends at Camerados say, “The answer to our problems is each other”. We have an amazing community spirit across Camelon and Tamfourhill. Let’s continue to build on that and be there for each other.

To finish this week, I encourage you to watch the video below from the World Health Organisation. It’s well worth the 4 minutes it lasts. This was shown to me when I undertook Mental Health First Aid Training a couple of years ago, and I have used it many times since. If you’re struggling with your mental health just now, this may help you understand what is going on in your head. I’ll leave you with the best 5 words I could ever say or have said to me: “I’m here if you need”.

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…..

camelon, community, Our Place, tamfourhill

Friday Feature – One Year of OPCT

On Monday evening we celebrated (as best we could on Zoom) the first anniversary of Our Place Camelon and Tamfourhill. It’s been a strange year to say the least but there was plenty to celebrate and look ahead to as well. So today, we wanted to just share some of the highlights from the evening which began with a recap from Lynne Boslem of Tamfourhill Community Hub on how OPCT came to be. Then Dan and John took over to give a review of their highlights from the year. You can watch their presentation here:

John then went on to launch his Community Safety Strategy. You can watch his presentation and read the strategy for yourself at www.opcamelontamfourhill.co.uk/safetystrategy.

Dan then launched our impaCT 1 to 1 Coaching Programme. Again, you can watch his presentation and learn more about how coaching can help you or someone in your group/organisation/circle of friends at www.opcamelontamfourhill.co.uk/coaching1to1.

We then heard from local author Kev McPhee about how his writing has helped him through lockdown and how he wants to encourage people especially facing a life caught in addiction that there is hope and a better way to live with the right support. Watch this space for more on how OPCT will be assisting with this.

Our next speaker was Kevin Harrison of Artlink Scotland (Camelon Arts host) who spoke about the Our Connected Neighbourhoods local pilot to make Camelon and Tamfourhill a dementia friendly neighbourhood. Message us for more information on that.

Finally, we had some questions and comments from the gathered crowd including a word of thanks from Cllr Cecil Meiklejohn.

It was great to celebrate but next year will be even better as, all being well, we can be in a room together with actual cake! Thank you to all who have supported, engaged, encouraged etc over the last year. Here’s to so much more in the next 12 months.

Dan Rous and John Hosie
Community Coach and Community Safety Engager
communitycoach@tamfourhilltro.co.uk and communitysafetyengager@tamfourhilltro.co.uk

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

Coaching 1 to 1

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 29 April 2021

At our First Anniversary Celebration event on Monday, I officially launched a 1 to 1 coaching programme that is FREE for you, the lovely people of Camelon and Tamfourhill. This is not sports coaching, but personal development coaching to help you, the coachee, to fully live out your potential – whether that is personal or professional. The goal of coaching is for the coachee to discover insights about themselves, and to take action in reshaping their life.

The video below is my talk from the event where I explain what Coaching is and crucially, what coaching isn’t. This can really make a difference in your life and help you move into the potential that is within you – no matter what stage you’re at.

If you don’t fancy watching the video, then you can read things for yourself below that. Once you’ve watched or read, if you want to book in for a series of coaching sessions with me, or to find out more for yourself or someone you’d like to refer, then please email me at communitycoach@tamfourhilltro.co.uk and we’ll have a conversation. There’s also more information over at our dedicated 1 to 1 Coaching page.

What is 1 to 1 Coaching?

Coaching is an ongoing conversation that empowers a person to fully live out their potential – both personal and professional. The goal of coaching is for the coachee to discover insights about themselves, and to take action in reshaping their life.

The coaching relationship is expected to encourage insights, to facilitate greater personal awareness, to change behaviours, to initiate actions and, ultimately, to produce outcomes that satisfy the coachee.  Much is expected of them: it is their responsibility to imagine, reason, identify, plan, decide, and implement their goals.

What Coaching Is

Coaching is about the coachee – their goals, their learning, and their growth. Together, coach and coachee will discover the potential within them.

Coaching is about learning – rather than teaching. The coachee is the expert on their life. A coach uses coaching techniques such as deep listening, open questions, encouragement, feedback, and always remaining supportive.  The focus is on assisting the coachee in discovering insights and taking next steps in pursuing their calling.

Coaching is about action – the coachees action. Each session the coachee will determine 1-3 actions steps to take before the next session. It may be surprising how quickly the coachee will progress toward their goals.

Coaching is about all of the coachee – not just work or personal life.  We all know that altering old habits and thought patterns is difficult. A coach recognises these patterns and will support the coachee as they change and grow.

What Coaching Isn’t

It is not therapy.  Although many of the communication techniques are the same, like active listening, reflecting, use of questions, limited advice giving, etc., therapy focuses on the past to bring healing and unblock a person so they might move ahead. Coaching is future and action-oriented – for people who are basically free of debilitating psychological or emotional issues.

It is not mentoring. Mentors are experts in a particular field who seek to pass on their expertise to a person. Mentors provide knowledge, advice, guidance, correction, and encouragement to people who are newer and junior—by experience if not by position or age. Mentors usually play the roles of advisor and teacher to guide and impart knowledge and wisdom.

It is not training. In training, the trainer sets the agenda. Changes are imposed from outside the participant, via the trainer. In coaching, the coachee sets the agenda. Coaches use adult learning principles of self-discovery to motivate change from within their coachee.

It is not authoritarian. Did you have a tough sports coach who used to yell at you and make you do a million push-ups if you made a mistake? That’s not coaching. A coach will push a coachee beyond what they might think they can do, but will always be supportive. The coachee is in control. The desire and responsibility to choose and act belongs to the coachee – and them alone.

Why Does Coaching Work?

Coaching works because it brings out the best in the coachee; a coach believes that coachees can create their own best answers and is trained to support them in that process. During coaching sessions, a coach will:

  • Listen. The coachees story is central. A coach is fully engaged in what they are saying, encouraging them to discover what their potential is.
  • Ask questions. A coach uses questions to stimulate the coachees thinking and creativity. Questions are about possibilities and the future.
  • Encourage. Everyone needs encouragements, and usually we don’t get enough. A coach will hold and honour their coachees vision, progress, and efforts.
  • Facilitate while letting you lead. A coach facilitates learning and problem solving.

A coach is not in charge, nor do they set the agenda.  A coach is simply here to help the coachee to engineer their future.

Why Use a Coach?

The reasons people want coaching are endless, and as unique as the person. Here are a few examples that motivate people to use a coach.

  • To make significant life changes
  • To make better decisions
  • To set better goals and reach them faster
  • To address changes in location or employment
  • To reduce stress, isolation, or uncertainty
  • To progress personally
  • To improve your relationships
  • To make a bigger impact on the world
  • To be a better leader
  • To better understand who you are
  • To simplify or prioritize your life
  • To evaluate your pace of life

Our Coaching approach

  1. Leverages Strengths
  2. Provides Clarity and Focus
  3. Instils Confidence
  4. Catapults Learning
  5. Fosters Intentional Progress
  6. Rubs Off on Others
  7. Encourages achievable Goals/Dreams

You will never maximize your potential in any area without coaching. It is impossible. You may be good. You may even be better than everyone else. But without outside input you will never be as good as you could be.

Andy Stanley, The Next Generation Leader

So, does this sound like it could be of help to you or someone you know/work with? Then get in touch and let’s get started! Drop me an email at communitycoach@tamfourhilltro.co.uk to start the process.

Until next time…

camelon, coach, community, development, leadership, Our Place, resilience, Support, tamfourhill, training

What do you see?

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 8 April 2021

When you look at other people in the community – what do you see?

It may seem a strange question, but it’s an important part of community development especially when we take time to focus on the real assets around here – the people. We need to see past any initial reaction and purely focus on the person within. That can be hard especially when we look at the different types of people we might come across and the labels we may attach to them, even subconsciously. But it’s really important. Here’s some categories that came to my mind:

Life Labels

  • Youth; Criminal; Addict; Troublemaker; Helper; Retired; Active/Inactive; Unemployed; Student; Safe; Community Activist; Deaf/Blind.

Nationality Labels

  • Local (Kemlin); Incomer (New/Recent Resident); Refugee; Scottish; People of Colour; ‘Foreign’.

Language Labels

  • Local; National; International; BSL; Digital.

Do any of those ring true for you? You may have thought them but have you even said them? Or have they been said to or about you? Some may be said in jest but have you really meant any of them in a less than positive way? Don’t worry – I’m not asking for feedback here! These are all questions for you to think about yourself or to reflect on any things that may have been said to you.

Everyone of these labels that will have been applied to someone locally at one stage in their life can cause people to act and speak differently towards them. Whether positive or negative, they can create a stigma that usually is unhelpful. It can weigh that person down and not make them feel part of the community or alternatively, can create an elite kind of group. Either way it’s not great.

We all have a label that is much more positive to use – our name. It’s how we’ve been addressed since birth and is who we are. That’s not to say we are not any of the things listed above, but they do not define who we are. Every person – yes even you! – was born to change the world and deserves to be seen as the individual that they are. Every person has the right to achieve the potential they were put on this earth to achieve. Whether the time you’ve had up to this point has been positive or negative, it is never too late to achieve that potential – and to help others achieve theirs.

One further question for you. If you’re looking to support someone to move forward, to grow, to achieve their potential – how do you approach that? Essentially, do you see a person or a project? (Okay, sorry, that was actually two questions!) However positive you may have been about the labels we explored above, if you simply see them as a project you can ‘do’, then you might as well have been negative with those labels. Whoever they are – whatever the journey they need to go on – they are still a person. Our role in supporting them is to do just that – support them. Have a look at this quote from my friend Maff Potts, who heads up a fantastic organisation called Camerados.

This is a perfect summary of how I see my role. But to be honest – I do struggle with this because I’m a fixer! I love to sort things. But I have learned over the years – and especially over this last year – that this doesn’t really help – not in the situation we’re in just now. I came across the use of the word ‘alongsider’ last year and it’s perfect. I have worked in this way before and I do love it. It is perfect again for what I do and how I want to encourage you to do as well. Come alongside people – just as they are and as who they are. Step out among the people who you might not even naturally go towards. Hey, you might be pleasantly surprised. And next time you’re walking around the area, don’t just see things – observe. Truly look at what you see. Look beyond the labels and see the people that live here. Everyone has a part to play in the development of our community and I look forward to more opportunities to play my part.

Until next time….

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

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

Looking Back to Move Forwards

This blog marks 6 months since John and I started in our posts and Our Place Camelon and Tamfourhill was reborn. For my part, as a local resident as well, I came with hopes and plans as to the things I could bring to this new and exciting role as Community Coach. However, starting a new job during a national pandemic and lockdown really threw most of those plans up in the air! But, undeterred, I have pushed on as much as possible through mainly online contact and phone calls and have been grateful to the willingness of local groups to get on board with what I can bring – especially those who came to me for help. That has been especially helpful during these restrictions as I don’t necessarily know what help is needed unless people tell me.

There is still a lot of work to do and I’ve in no way been able to give all the groups what they need or even make significant contact with some. That does not mean I won’t keep trying though! Contact with individuals has also been hard as I can’t get out to meet you! But I’m working on how I can do this through the restrictions we face just now and would just again encourage anyone who wants any support with training and personal development to do as some have already and give me a shout. Even if you’re not sure what you need – often chatting it through with someone else can be a big help. My contact details are below.

I’d also like to thank everyone who has got on board with what we’re trying to achieve here. Those who have supported me, shared our social media posts and blogs, informed others about what we’re doing and basically cheered us on. Sincerely – thank you.

For now, this seemed a good chance to review what I’ve been able to do so far. I record this not to show off in any way – that’s not my style. But simply to try to show how Our Place Camelon and Tamfourhill, and especially my role as a Community Coach, can be of benefit in this amazing community.

  • 26 Local Organisations have been supported with information, guidance or training on:
    • Funding
    • Governance
    • Marketing
    • Local Contacts
    • Covid Guidance
    • Development
    • Project Related
    • General Chat
  • 4 Individuals have been supported with:
    • Access to training
    • Idea development
    • Relevant Contacts
  • 34 External Organisations have been linked up with for:
    • Information and Support for Local Organisations
    • Networking
    • Training
    • General Links and Wider Support
    • Information and Guidance
    • Collaboration Opportunities
    • Project Support
  • 6 Organisations and 2 Individuals have been identified for delivering Free or Low Cost Training:
    • I am combining my search for various courses together with working to find out the kinds of courses people are needing.
    • The list is too long to put on this blog, and really is endless depending on what you, the people and organisations of this area, actually want and need.
    • Courses include Personal Development, Employability, Organisational Development and Skills Based subjects.
    • I have been building my own skills to enable me to deliver this training online as it looks like it might be a little while before we can have groups together for this.
  • I have taken part in 11 Training Sessions or Courses:
    • Managing Change
    • Rebuilding Income Streams
    • Wellbeing Economy
    • Asset Transfer
    • Community Right to Buy
    • Community Wealth Building
    • Asset Based Community Development
    • Digital Champion
    • Taking your Training Online
    • Delivering Effective Online Learning
    • Human Centred Design
  • Working on Developing 6 Projects in the area:
    • Creative Communities Fund – Behind the Labels Project
      • Collaborative funding application unsuccessful but working with groups involved to discuss alternative options.
    • Cycle Repair Pop Up Workshops
      • Thanks to work with Cycling UK, these are happening over the next 2 weeks.
    • Easter Carmuirs Park
      • Early work on planning for Phase 2 consultation which will include forming a new group of local people to help the process.
    • Community Growing/Gardening
      • Formation and support of new group to develop growing sites across the area.
    • Cycling Events
      • Potential partnership with Cycling Scotland and Falkirk Active Travel Hub to include the area in some events.
    • Coaching
      • I am developing a programme of 1-1 coaching for individuals to enable personal and organisational growth.

It’s been quite a fun and rewarding process putting this list together and I’m sure there’s things I’ve missed and there’s more in the pipeline as well. In any area of development – whether that is personal or organisational – it’s good to look back on where you’ve come from as, no matter how low we may feel on the odd occasion, recognising achievements to date is a real boost. This process can really help you move forwards. I hope to be able to help others do the same locally as we go through the next 6 months and beyond.

Look back to learn how to look forward

Joe Girard

If you want to know more about how I can support you or your organisation, please get in touch either by email to communitycoach@tamfourhilltro.co.uk or call 07444 873151.

coach, community, development, resilience, Support, training

Passion, Wiring and Fruit

Last week I wrote about finding your strengths and suggested ways to identify yours if you didn’t know.  Check back on last week’s blog if you need a memory jog here.

For this week’s blog, I wanted to build on that a little, as I look to work alongside local residents to help them achieve what they were designed to be and do.  After Christmas we’ll be able to do this through coaching sessions (probably online to start with unfortunately) but this blog will help a little for now with getting a better understanding.  For reference, some of the content here is influenced by the book Mining for Gold by Tom Camacho.

You don’t need me to tell you that everyone is different.  If ever there was a sentence that stated the obvious, that is a strong contender!  But it’s something we often forget especially when people don’t see things as we do.  If you’ve ever been in a discussion, on or offline (but usually on Facebook!), where someone completely went against your point of view, in the main they didn’t do so just to annoy you or to start an argument, but they simply saw the subject differently because of the way they are designed.  Where strength comes in a community is when people of different viewpoints, skills and abilities can come together, harness their unique differences, and work towards a common goal.  That doesn’t mean being something we are not – it simply means recognising who we are as individuals, allowing others to do the same, and using the mix of skills to achieve whatever is needed.  I know that is far from easy – but it can be done.

We all have what is often called a ‘sweet spot’.  It is the key to being who you were designed to be and will show up when quite simply, everything you do reaches a point of success.  It’s a bit like what is often called the Midas touch – when everything we do, or get involved in, turns to gold (not literally – sadly!!).  There are three parts to this:

  1. Our Passion – what really drives you.  What do you absolutely love doing that means however tired you are, you’ll always find that extra energy to get it done? What activity or issue really strikes a chord with you and gives you determination to tackle it head on?
  2. Our Wiring – how your mind works.  Some of us excel at numbers, some at words, some at getting their hands dirty.  But what is it that just comes naturally to you so that whatever you do around this is successful and effective? 
  3. Our Fruit, or our Positive Output if you prefer.  What do you do that brings the greatest impact around you for the least amount of effort?  What do you do that people near to you say is really helpful?  That may be an activity you’re involved in, or something you do in your street, or something you do to help out?

If we take the time and effort to deeply understand how we are wired, what we are passionate about and what we do naturally that helps others, we are discovering our sweet spot.

Doing this is not a quick or easy process and takes effort, but can be incredibly rewarding for you and those around you.  It also doesn’t mean that you’ll never have to do things that you don’t necessarily enjoy! There is always going to be something to do where you really have to push yourself to do it.  The problem comes when that is taking up the majority of your life – that is when you start to feel pressed down all the time because you are trapped working outside how you are designed.  Some have even said it feels like a punishment.  Believe me, I’ve had to lead personnel meetings or budget reviews (to name just 2 examples) that have made me want to run for the hills – but they were a necessary part of what I had to do at the time.  Where I’m happiest is when I’m coming alongside people to make a difference either for them or with them for the benefit of others.  Happily, that is a huge part of this job!

Coaches often talk about the 80/20 principle, where people will thrive when they spend 80% of their time working in what is their sweet spot.  That means they are doing what they do best for the majority of the time.  Work is no longer a chore but brings real excitement and success.  To get to this point takes hard work though and might mean stopping doing some of the things that aren’t within our sweet spot.  (Sorry, housework and ironing are exempt from this!!)  The 20% section is often called the challenge spot.  Some things just can’t be avoided at home or work and might mean learning some new skills, but when your life is taken up with more than 20% of challenging things, it becomes an uphill struggle.  And that is where coaching can help.  What amongst those challenging things could you let go of, or what do you need training on? 

A key part of working within your sweet spot is when you realise you have the power to make the changes that can make a positive difference in your life. You are not trapped in this life and where you live certainly does not define your future.

The short (3 mins) video below takes this a bit further by looking at our individual character strengths.  This is a great place to start by first understanding your inner self which then helps to move on to identify your passion, wiring and fruit/output.  I’d love to work with you more on this.  If you want to as well, then give me a shout.

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

coach, community, development, Our Place, resilience, Support, training

Where are we going?

I’m away this week and as well as switching off and enjoying family time, I will be spending some time thinking over where I’m going and where the work I do is going. None of us probably get anywhere near enough time to think about stuff like that. Life happens and we react – even more so in current times. We can sometimes see the destination or have an idea of where we want to go, but the route we take is not always the one we would want. However, having a clear idea of where we are going is important always.

That’s called ‘vision’ and its really important to have this personally and with any work you’re involved in. You could say that the tag line of “Empowering local people & organisations to bring about positive, lasting change” is the vision of Our Place Camelon and Tamfourhill. But what does that look like and how do we get there?

I’m not going to answer those questions. In time, you are! That’s not me passing the buck. For sure, I have an idea where I can see Our Place going and of what it can be with the community alongside, guiding its route. But this is about the destination that the community want and need. My job is to walk with you and help you get there.

I’ve quoted Simon Sinek before in this blog and he may seem a bit deep at times – sorry about that. But he speaks a lot of sense. To finish this week I’ll share a short video (less than 2 minutes) of him talking about vision and how that develops. An even shorter summary of the talk is this: “Vision is the ability to see that which does not yet exist.  As we slowly bring that vision to life, more people will start to recognise the work we’re doing and join our crusade.  But, like an iceberg, there will always be much more waiting to be revealed underneath the surface.”

I love that and it might help you understand a little of how my mind works!

Yes, John and I are starting to make progress with the vision of Our Place Camelon and Tamfourhill and people are starting to see that. But as more people jump on board, there is so much more to come. I look forward to that journey with you.

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

Community Funding Support

Getting funding for projects can be a nightmare! Where do you look? When can you apply? What can you apply for? How do you write the application? Just some of the many questions that will go through people’s minds when thinking about getting funding. But whilst it is true that there are so many different options it can be a very confusing landscape, at the same time there is a lot of help and support available for people whether looking to get funding for something completely new, or to continue/develop something that is already happening. I am part of that pipeline of help for you and am here to give you confidence in your own abilities as you learn how best to navigate the world of funding, and to support you in completing applications according to need.

I often share posts on our social media about funds that are available – and there are many! So for this week’s blog, I thought it would handy to group some of the recent posts together in one place for you. There are countless more funders out there – these are literally just some of the recent ones we’ve shared news on. For more, you can get information in a various different ways but we will highlight:


Community and Third Sector Recovery Programme

https://scvo.scot/support/coronavirus/funding/scottish-government/community-recovery

This is a new programme from the Scottish Government that aims to support charities, community groups, social enterprises and voluntary organisations that are supporting people and communities through the shift from lockdown to recovery. As well as providing ongoing crisis support, they will be planning and implementing changes to adapt and thrive in a very different social and economic climate.

It has two strands to the programme:

  • Adapt and Thrive: This part is more about support to adapt rather than just funding your project. It offers tailored, specialist advice, but can also provide grants and loans. It is delivered in partnership by Firstport, Corra Foundation, SCVO, Just Enterprise, Community Enterprise and Social Investment Scotland.
  • Communities Recovery Fund: This is funding to implement changes to reintroduce the delivery of existing services and activities that have been suspended or severely reduced because of COVID-19 and/or deliver new services identified as a priority by the community as a result of COVID-19.  The funding will consider grants for individual organisation applications between £5,000 – £25,000 to implement changes to facilities, services and activities. It will also consider grants for partnership applications up to £75,000. There will be a 21 day turnaround for a response to your application which is really welcome.

This programme just opened this week and will be open until March 2021 when any funding should be spent. However, as this fund was prepared ahead of the latest restrictions, I can see changes being made to this in time. As always though, the sooner an application is submitted, the better. If you need support, guidance, or just another pair of eyes to read over something, then please get in touch.


The National Lottery Community Fund

https://www.cvsfalkirk.org.uk/tnl-community-fund-scotland-funding-programmes-update/

Nothing new here from this stream of funding, but because of Covid-19, they have lifted their plans to pause and redevelop their funding as they reached the end of its 5 year cycle. Instead, all current funding programmes will remain open for an extra 18 – 24 months, though they will be adapted as needed. By remaining open for applications, they hope they can better support the third sector through COVID-19 and recovery.

There is more information in the link above that will take you to CVS Falkirk’s website, but the headlines for now are:

  • the National Lottery Awards for All and Young Start funds will remain open and unchanged
  • the Improving Lives grants remain open, but will be shorter, quicker to access, and will fund a wider range of work focused on recovery from COVID-19
    • from Thursday 1st October, the maximum grant will be £200,000, from on year up to 3 years, with a single stage application.
  • Community-Led Activity grants remain open; the team are reviewing these now to make sure they are relevant to the current situation, and will make any changes before the end of 2020.
  • COVID-19 responses are still prioritised across all funds, but they remain open to non-COVID-19 related work too.

This fund is always a popular source for people searching for funding and as our own project is funded by them, we have a good relationship with them so can be an extra strong source of support for you as a result.


Aviva Community Fund

https://www.avivacommunityfund.co.uk/start-crowdfunding

This fund is always very busy but rather than just giving direct funding, this is a form of CrowdFunding but as well as wider public funding possibilities, Aviva employees will be able to view projects and between them will share out £250,000 of funding.

The current round of applications, for fresh ideas looking to secure up to £50,000, is open until 13 October. Those approved to go forward will have crowdfunding pages created for them that will be live from 11 November to 10 December and can be shared as widely as you wish.

So this could be as much about raising awareness of your project as well as generating funding. And as before, if you want some guidance on submitting an application here then get in touch.


The Robertson Trust

http://www.therobertsontrust.org.uk/news/strategy-update-what-to-expect-from-our-funds

At the point of writing, Scotland is eagerly awaiting the new funding strategy from this well respected funder. The link above gives some insight from their Head of Giving as to what we can expect from the new look strategy which is due to be launched any day now. They have extensively consulted on what organisations required, and then extended that consultation once we were hit by Covid-19 to see how they can respond to that. So, the main points we can expect to see are:

  • More core, unrestricted and longer-term funding
  • Less emphasis on match-funding
  • Less emphasis on financial independence post-grant
  • More shared learning
  • To continue funding a breadth of topics – although their top focus remains on tackling the causes of, and solutions to, poverty and trauma.

All these headline points are very welcome news but will undoubtedly mean the funds could be even more competitive, so we need to ensure applications are as strong as possible. Whilst I will keep you updated and will of course be here to support any application you choose to make, at the bottom of the page linked above is a chance to sign up to the mailing list for the Trust so you can get information first hand.


I want everyone to feel special and valued and they will see what they can aspire to.

Ethel Robertson, Co-Founder of The Robertson Trust

I love these words from one of the Robertson sisters which sum up why I do this job, so it is a fitting place to end this week. And if helping you understand and navigate the world of grant funding is part of that journey for you, then please get in touch.

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

camelon, collaboration, community, development, gardening, growing, litter, Our Place, Support, tamfourhill

Community Growing

For my blog this week, I’m mainly speaking to those of you out there who have an interest in gardening, although the rest of you can read on as well if you wish!

My colleague John is gaining good traction in community litter picking as part of the campaign to Keep Camelon and Tamfourhill Tidy Clean and Green. His blog on Tuesday highlighted one group of litter pickers, and we’ve seen and heard of other such groups or individuals cropping up around the area too. This is great as people are taking a pride in their area.

On the back of that activity, we now wish to look at how we can turn some local sites – either local litter hotspots or just unused areas – into something beautiful. We can do this by undertaking community gardening that may be as simple as “seed bombing” or spreading some wildflower seeds, but could be as involved as growing food that could ultimately benefit local food pantry’s as well. We may just develop a very small area, or work on a larger plot over a longer period of time. Basically, the opportunities are endless and hopefully will give a fresh outlet for all those of you who developed green fingers during lockdown in your own garden or balcony, or took part in the ‘veg on a ledge’ scheme, as well as those for whom this kind of thing is second nature.

We have identified a few possible sites and have opened discussions with Falkirk Council and also the local Community Food Consortium to ensure we do things right but also feed into local planning, support and maybe even some funding.

So if this is of interest to you, please take 2 minutes of your time to complete the information on the link below. I’ll then set up a meeting for those who are interested to discuss options. Due to current restrictions this will be an online meeting, but if you know of anyone who is not online who may be interested, please let them know and help them keep informed until we can actually physically get together again.

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/TBZQ9SG

We’ll aim to start this as simply as possible by allowing you to do what you want to do – gardening! In time, this may evolve into a formal organisation but not until we have the right skills around. All that will come in time. For now, lets focus on the plants! I look forward to supporting you in making this happen. Any questions, comments, suggestions or need for help – give me a shout.

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