camelon, collaboration, community, development, growing, litter, Our Place, Support, Tidy Clean Green

Community Renewal

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 17 February 2022

We are so pleased to be able to reveal to you that a decent chunk of funding is coming into various projects and organisations in the Camelon and Tamfourhill area thanks to the UK Government Community Renewal Fund.

The UK Community Renewal Fund is a UK Government programme for 2021/22. This aims to support people and communities most in need across the UK to pilot programmes and new approaches to prepare for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. It invests in skills, community and place, local business, and supporting people into employment. For more information, visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-community-renewal-fundprospectus

John teased some of this news in his blog this week but here’s the full info.

The whole consortium was brought together initially by Scottish Canals, but is led by the Green Action Trust. As well as them and us, the other partners are Artlink Central, Go Forth and Clyde, Keep Scotland Beautiful/Canal College, Forth Valley College and Forth Environment Link. Things were initially meant to start in August/September time last year but delays from the funder mean we’re all only just able to get going now. This has been frustrating for all partners as many briefs have had to be amended or completely rewritten. But now we can get going with a total of over £700,000 coming in across the whole consortium – and we’ve only got until June to wrap things up!

Our involvement in this consortium is in two smaller projects totalling just under £40,000, supporting groups to work alongside you, the wider community, to vision how various spaces could look and become in the future, both short and long term. More on this is a sec, but for now, a little on what visioning really means. This quote from Simon Sinek says it nicely:

“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.” Simon Sinek

For some time now, a small band of volunteers have been working on a number of projects and activities. Many of them are tired but still full of passion for what could be, which is why they keep going. So, the middle bit of Sinek’s quote is gold, and I think reflects where many people are. They want to be involved but prefer to wait until things have started, then they might consider jumping in once they’ve assessed the lay of the land. That’s totally understandable but, with the work that will happen over the next 4 months, now is the time to jump in. There will be a wide range of ways to get involved and have your say between now and June. Online, offline. Activity, discussion. Formal, informal. And more! So, I hope that many of you will take up the opportunities to do so, otherwise quite simply, if you don’t like what develops then you have little room for complaint if you haven’t had your say! And as Sinek says, more information, ideas, passions and skills will come out of hiding as more people get involved. That’s absolutely what we want to happen!

So, what is going to be funded? There are 2 projects.

Easter Carmuirs Park
The Green Action Trust (formerly known as the Central Scotland Green Network Trust) is back to work alongside the community on taking forward hopes, plans and visions for the park. A draft masterplan was prepared by them back in 2017 that led to the installation of paths, trees and some meadow areas in 2019. But what next? Many ideas were suggested back then, however people have used the park more and begun to understand it in a different way now that you can walk on paths across it and appreciate its scale more. The consultant will work with us and you to bring a meaningful plan together that satisfies community aspirations, attends to community safety matters that have been raised, and present a workable timeline for developments so that full clarity is there for all – something that was missing last time around. Crucially, this will be a chance for the Friends of Easter Carmuirs Park group to come together properly. We teased this back in the Fun in the Park event last October with the hope that this funding would have been in place before now. But now is the time for this group to form, with our support, and become the vehicle to apply for funding and take future developments forward. Watch out for all the ways you can get involved if you live around or use Easter Carmuirs Park in any way at all.

Carmuirs Area
Tidy Clean Green will be leading a range of activities and consultations assisted by us and with external help from The Conservation Volunteers. This is to build on the work that’s been happening over the last year or so with particular focus on the area next to Camelon Juniors car park, and the Brown Street Park. These next few months will give a chance to start pulling together all the strands of research, consultation and activity, and present a workable and fundable plan at the end of the process that can be taken forward either by Tidy Clean Green or another local group. As mentioned earlier, John’s blog this week talks more about this project and reflects on an event in the area last week that was bringing further ideas together from local people. Activities will include litter picks, planting, training sessions, pop up parks, community events and more! Plus this will link with the existing art work and climate action projects that are in process alongside this activity.

So there you have it. We are absolutely thrilled that these areas will get a much needed step forward over these next 4 months. It won’t deliver anything large or secure all the funding needed. But it will take us a massive step forward, importantly, with you the community absolutely engaged. There’s obviously a lot more to what I’ve highlighted here, and we’ll keep you posted as time progresses. This is simply a summary to get your minds whirring. We look forward to working with the consultants, Green Action Trust, Tidy Clean Green, and of course, you, to make further positive change in our community.

Until next time….

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

community, development, employment, funding, Our Place, Support

Apply here…

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 10 February 2022

It’s another news update for you in my blog this week, specifically regarding funding and funded job opportunities.


Funded Job Opportunities
I reported back in November that the Scottish Government had awarded funding to encourage third sector organisations to offer paid work opportunities to people aged over 25 years, who have been unemployed for over 12 months and have additional barriers to employment. This is channelled through local Councils.

This was a great opportunity to get a fully funded member of staff to support a need in your organisation. But we were informed this week that so far only 2 out of a possible 57 posts available in Falkirk have been filled. So if you didn’t think this would work for you first time around, or you missed it completely, now is the time to get an application. Below is the bullet point information, but if you want to discuss this further or be supported to apply to host a job, then give me a shout in the usual way.

  • Start dates must be before 31st March 2022.  The first start can be 22nd November 2021.
  • The jobs will be fixed term for 26 weeks.
  • Terms & Conditions will align with your organisation (including annual leave, sick pay, holiday pay etc).
  • These can be entry level positions.
  • Jobs will be a maximum of 30 hours per week but can be flexible to meet the needs of the individual, i.e. term time, less hours for longer
  • Each opportunity attracts a notional unit cost to a maximum of £10,000. This notional unit cost is made up of salary costs plus additional costs and is based on 30 hours x 26 weeks (£384.60 per week or an hourly rate of £12.82). The costs will vary against number of hours/weeks/additional costs associated with delivery/support offeredThese costs support certificated training and there is an expectation that all participants will undertake a certificated training course prior to or during the LTU job placement.
  • The wage costs are met by Falkirk Council (You will pay the wages and reclaim in full from Falkirk Council).  If payment in arrears is going to be barrier please speak to us.
  • Jobs must be supported by a nominated staff member (mentor) who, in turn, will be supported by a named contact from Falkirk Council’s Employment and Training Unit.
  • You will be responsible for induction and day-to-day management of the participant.
  • Progress will be reviewed regularly with participant and mentor and can be stopped if not working out.
  • Where the placement is successful, additional funding may be available after the 26-week period.  Your named contact will help you to investigate this.

Funding Option – Bank of Scotland Foundation “Reach”
Revenue funding for one year of up to £25,000 can be claimed by established charities from this fund that opens again very shortly.

The Reach programme is suitable for charities that can demonstrate they address disadvantage or social exclusion and will reach the most vulnerable people across Scotland, to provide them with opportunity and equality and making positive, sustainable change.

For disadvantage, examples include charities addressing primary disadvantage such as homelessness, abuse, mental health or poverty, or secondary disadvantage such as debt issues, learning disabilities, illiteracy, lack of employability skills or health issues.

For social exclusion, examples include charities addressing exclusionary challenges for minorities, people with disabilities, LGBT people, drug users, institutional care leavers, the elderly or the young.

The next round opens at 12 noon on 7 March 2022 and closes at 12 noon on 17 March 2022. Grants will be awarded at the end of May 2022. All the rest of the information you need is at https://bankofscotlandfoundation.org/funding-programmes/reach


Funding Option – People’s Postcode Trust
The People’s Postcode Trust supports smaller charities and good causes in the Scotland to make a difference to their community for the benefit of people and planet.

This year, funding rounds will open each month from February to October. They will accept a limited number of applications in line with the amount of funds available for that round. If they do not reach this limit the round will close on the 10th of the month. Rounds will open at the start of each month but may close quickly so you need to get prepared!

They support projects under the following categories:

  • Improving mental wellbeing
  • Enabling community participation in the arts
  • Preventing or reducing the impact of poverty
  • Supporting marginalised groups and promoting equality
  • Improving biodiversity & green spaces
  • Enabling participation in physical activity
  • Responding to the climate emergency & promoting sustainability
  • Increasing community access to outdoor space

You can apply for either project or unrestricted funding. Charities and Community Interest Companies can apply for up to £25,000. Other non profit organisations can apply for up to £2,500. For more information on what is eligible under each category, see the funding guidelines on the Trust’s website.


Virtual Falkirk Funders Fayre 2022
Our friends at CVS Falkirk are once again hosting an online Funders Fayre, over three days next month. This will give you a chance to hear direct from funders about their latest funds and priorities, and how you can make the best application possible. It all happens from Tuesday 8 to Thursday 10 March and the funders you’ll hear from are:

  • Tesco Community Grants
  • Falkirk Health and Social Care Partnership
  • The Clothworkers Foundation
  • The Foyle Foundation
  • Henry Smith Charity
  • People’s Postcode Lottery
  • Foundation Scotland
  • National Lottery Community Fund
  • Corra Foundation

Sessions take place at 11am, 1pm and 3pm each day. All the info and registration form can be found on the CVS Falkirk website. It’s well worth taking the time to attend if you can.


And finally…
Just a reminder that you can apply for my job! I’m away at the end of this month and we’re looking for someone to come and continue the momentum and even do the job better! Closing date is next Friday (18th) so head over to the EVH Recruitment website for all the info.

That’s all for this week. Until next time…

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

coach, Our Place, Support

Community Coach Announcement

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 20 January 2022

This is a transcript of the video shared on social media today. If you’ve landed here and would rather listen in, the video is also inserted at the foot of this blog.


Hi there.  Dan here, your Community Coach.  I’m bringing you a very different blog this week as it’s me talking directly to you.  I have something important to share so wanted to do it personally rather than just type it out.  (Although you’ve chosen to read this instead so ignore that bit!! To be honest, I wouldn’t listen to me either!!)

So what is this important piece of news? Well, quite simply, I am here to announce that, with regret, the time has come for me to move on from this role with Our Place Camelon and Tamfourhill.  An opportunity has presented itself to me which I pressed into and found it to be of interest to me on many levels.  So I will be finishing up as your Community Coach at the end of February.

I have genuinely loved every second of the last 21 months as I’ve walked alongside you, the lovely people of Camelon and Tamfourhill.  The time will come to review things properly but for now, the highlights have been:

  • the creation of some new resident led organisations, especially Tidy Clean Green,
  • helping bring the THRIVE to Keep Well programme to the area, supporting and encouraging local women through that,
  • Supporting community growing activities in collaboration with residents and organisations in the area, including securing funding for community tool sheds and planting trees and bulbs in the area,
  • Bringing a bicycle repair scheme to the area that will be kicking off again soon with a new local group,
  • Helping existing local groups access relevant funding and other development support,
  • Facilitating the Fun in the Park event in Easter Carmuirs Park,
  • Bringing new training opportunities to local people,
  • Helping people with CVs and Job Applications and now seeing them in work,
  • Raising the profile of the area both with local authorities and organisations, but also nationally, to help a move towards bringing positive change.

There has been so much more but those stand out for me just now. 

Of course, there are disappointments as well.  Many things are left undone (either not started or paused midway through) and some groups have not moved forwards. With a quick scan around, many will say that nothing has changed and you could be forgiven for thinking that way.  But in collaboration with John as we work alongside you, so much foundational change has happened and the future does look brighter – it just might take longer to get there than anyone hoped.  Of course, Covid hasn’t helped us and it’s been frustrating to say the least not to be able to do many of the things we wanted to.  But we must not be downhearted.  There is so much to celebrate and, because I live here, I will continue to celebrate all that is good around here. 

After the end of February I’m not going to disappear completely – it’s not in my nature to do so. (Sorry!!)  There’s a couple of things that I’ll put my weight behind as a community volunteer but more on that at the appropriate time.  I cannot remain in this community and not get involved.  Hopefully others of you will continue to step forward and get involved in being the change.  We cannot sit back and wait for things to happen.  Unless we throw our collective skills and experiences together into the ring, the area will just stand still.  

So there you have it.  That’s the news for now.  We’ll update you on what the plans are for a replacement for me in due course.  Maybe there’s an opportunity for one of you to get involved?  In the meantime, I will continue at pace to fulfil what is required of me.  If you have any suggestions, questions, or need some support or guidance with something for you or your organisation to develop, then get in touch in the usual ways. 

Take care.  Stay safe.  And keep getting involved.

Until next time…….

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

Video version of the above text


coach, collaboration, community, development, employment, resilience, Support, training

The power of Collaboration

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 25 November 2021

Yesterday morning, as part of my work with the NHS THRIVE to Keep Well programme that we’re piloting in this area, we were thrilled to bring together a number of training and employability partners to advise the participants of the many opportunities that were available to them at whatever level they wanted to be. We set up a Covid safe exhibition area at Camelon Community Centre and the participants were free to chat with the staff from these organisations. We also had some craft activities to help them relax and have something else to do while they either plucked up the courage to go and speak, or reflected on the information they’d been given.

There were many highlights for me in this event. Firstly, I’d forgotten how great it is to actually be in a room with various partners. Covid has taken so much from us over recent times and while I admit that this is one of the more frivolous matters, it was still really good to experience again. Even the partners really valued being able to share and network with each other face to face (behind masks and appropriately distanced of course). And even with the safety measures in place, glancing around the room and hearing the chatter brought feelings of some kind of normality coming back again.

My second highlight was seeing the participants engaging with the partner agencies and getting meaningful, personal advice for their next steps. They were initially nervous but once one of them stepped forward, the others soon followed and the conversations began to flow. Considering the various journeys the participants have been on over the last 13 weeks, this was so heart-warming to see. This is one of the key things that drives me in this job – supporting local people to get the right information, advice and direction to move towards whatever a positive destination looks like for them individually. This is not a one size fits all support. I really do want to get it right for every person.

My final highlight, was the feedback from the partner agencies. All of them spoke of how they quickly got a sense of the progression that the participants had made while being on this programme. They also commented on the genuine desire from the participants to continue this forward movement in the best way possible for them, whether that be more training courses, volunteering, or moving into work. While my fellow facilitators and I can see this for ourselves, it was so good to hear from others – it makes this so worthwhile.

So my thanks to 4 The Benefit of All, Cyrenians (Arnotdale House), Employment and Training Unit, Workers Educational Association, and CVS/Volunteer Falkirk for giving up their morning to come along and support our amazing participants. My hope is that early in the New Year, restrictions will allow us to do a larger event with these partners so more of you can benefit. As they say, watch this space! In the meantime, if you need any support with accessing training or employability support, or are looking to get into volunteering or even a job, then do get in touch and I’ll help and signpost you as appropriate for you. Contact details are below.

Until next time….

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

community

A Two Way Street

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 11 November 2021

In the last few weeks we have passed the half way point in the 3 year funding package that we’re working within. Yes, that’s 18 months that we’ve been doing this stuff here at OPCT. And what a weird 18 months it has been!

Who knew that we would have had to work so long in lockdown and not be able to reach many of you.

Who knew the way the world would go and the restrictions that we’re still under.

But also, who knew that so much good activity would still manage to develop through you lovely people in Camelon and Tamfourhill!

I know there’s still lots to sort out and lots of opportunities to tap into, but I am thrilled to have been able to support individual people and existing organisations, plus support the development of new groups too:

  • I’ve been able to help people put their CV’s together, to access training, volunteering and work.
  • I’ve been able to develop a 1to1 coaching programme and begin to support local people through that.
  • I’ve been able to develop new training opportunities, and bring existing programmes to the area with partner organisations to benefit local people.
  • I’ve worked with existing local groups on developing their skills, strengthening their set up, and accessing funding.
  • I’ve been able to work with aspiring groups, and to bring likeminded people together, to form new exciting organisations who are plugging gaps and creating new opportunities right here in the community.
  • I’ve been able to link us with organisations that can bring benefit to the area including being part of collaborative funding applications and project development.
  • And I’ve been able to raise the profile of Camelon and Tamfourhill locally and nationally, making people in perceived positions of authority (you, the local residents really have the authority) sit up and take notice while I remind them to stop doing things to the community, and actually involve people.

In short, working alongside you has been an absolute joy and privilege – even on the difficult, dark, frustrating days.

One thing stands out to me though, and that relates to where the most successes have come in what we’ve achieved together. The biggest successes have come when people or groups have come to me in the first instance. Now let me clarify that I’m not just sitting back with my feet up waiting for people to come to me! I am proactive in many things and am always looking for opportunities that will benefit the local area. But seriously, the biggest growth has come from the people or organisations who have recognised their needs or had an idea about something, and come to me for help, support or signposting.

Why is this important or special? Because it was their idea – their instigation – they had control.

I’ve regularly talked about being alongside people in this role but also about where the real authority lies in this community. It’s not about me, the council or any other support organisation. The real power lies with you the amazing people of Camelon and Tamfourhill. And when you take hold of an idea and run with it – bringing help in alongside you as needed – then the real magic happens. I’m not saying all the other stuff is a waste of time – far from it – but the biggest leaps have come from those who have taken control of their situation. They’ve not sat and waited for people to come and help them or do things for them. They have taken the bull by the horns and pressed forwards, calling in whatever help they needed to make their ideas a reality.

Now let me be clear – I am always available for anyone and everyone in the area. Whether your group has existed since the dawn of time or is a more recent thing. Whether you have grown up in the area or are new to this patch. Whether you need a lot of help and support or just a bit of directioning. All of you can access my support and many of you are. If anything, this is maybe a bit of a reminder to existing groups that you can call on me to help you. I will check in every now and then but if you need something then ask me! Don’t wait for me to come to you! If I don’t know the answer or can’t personally help, I’m pretty sure I’ll know where to signpost you onwards. You have to act because otherwise, those who can help might not even know you need that help.

So please – ask the questions. Push your agenda. Be bold. In short – you have the permission to take control. This is a two way street so make the most of it. And I look forward to continuing to work alongside you with whatever you need.

Until next time.

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

camelon, community, funding, Our Place, tamfourhill

Community Choices is back!

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 4 November 2021

It is great news that the Falkirk Council Community Choices funding programme is back for Pilot Phase 2. This is where groups can submit applications for funding that the local public vote on to get the cash.

Here’s the summary info, then I’ll give you a bit more info below: Community Choices aims to help clubs, organisations, community groups, and individuals make their local area fairer, healthier, more connected and more inclusive. It gives you the chance to secure public funding to improve your local area and vote to decide how public money is spent. You can apply for up to £5,000 for smaller projects and over £5,000 to get larger projects off the ground.

Small Grants programme (up to £5,000)
This is open for applications now until 19 November. This is a very quick turnaround for this programme but it’s a much easier process than before. It can fund “revenue” items which is things like activity costs, equipment and supplies. This might include but is not limited to:

  • The purchase of small items of furniture or equipment, for example a shelving unit or disabled toilet seat or fridge
  • Signs and display boards
  • Equipment for a sport activity
  • Supplies and materials to deliver an activity
  • Food and supplies as part of an activity
  • Transport costs to enable people to attend

If you received a grant in phase one and would like to apply again for the same project, you can apply for £5,000 LESS what you got first time round.  However, if it is a new project then you can go for the full amount. It’s important to note a key change from last time round is that if you’re a new group, you must have your constitution and bank account in place before applying.

The public vote for the Small Grants Programme will launch online on 26 November and close on 17 December. Once the votes have been checked and verified, successful bids will be notified on 14 January with the funds being paid out shortly after that date.

Place-Based Capital Programme
This is also open for applications now but has a closing date of 7 January. The close proximity of this date to the festive break has been pointed out so this date may be changed. This is a key factor as quotes for work and information from council departments may be required for your application and of course, many places and staff will not be available over the break. I’ll update you on this as I know more.

The programme can be applied to for projects costing a minimum of £5,000. Proposals should outline a clear vision and ambition for a positive future, and should align to the programme’s aims to make your area fairer, healthier, more connected and more inclusive.

There is a budget allocation for each ward as before, but a key change is that a cap has been put in place for applications to avoid projects taking up the whole ward allocation meaning smaller projects miss out. Here are the numbers:

Ward6 (Camelon)7 (Tamfourhill)
Full Budget£347,090£169,312
Maximum application level (60%) £208,254£101,587

With reference to the 60% maximum application, it has been said that just because you can apply for up to 60%, it does not mean you should as the Council are keen to be able to fund as many projects as possible.  Of course, at the end of the day, it all comes down to the public vote.   

There was a bit of an issue in Phase 1 where projects or organisations that had an impact wider than just one ward could only be voted on by people from an individual ward. Many votes were removed as a result. So this time, a new Falkirk wide category has been added.  There is a total of £200,000 in this pot so the maximum grant for any one project would be £120,000.

The Capital funds programme can be used to invest in resources and facilities for the benefit of the community and must be able to continue to offer public benefit throughout their lifetime. This means that the funds cannot be spent where only an organisation or individual would gain a personal benefit. Capital spend is expected to create something new (an asset) or improve an existing asset such as a structural improvement to a building, for example.

There are 3 main types of capital expenditure:

Building something new – a house, or an office for example. Not all the costs of a new build can be treated as capital but the majority can. The costs of looking after the building after it has been built (revenue costs) are not covered.

Improving an asset – money spent on an existing building, for example, can be called capital if it substantially increases:

  • the useful life of the asset or
  • the market value of the asset or
  • the extent to which the asset can or will be used.

Normal day-to-day running costs – for example, painting rooms, changing carpets, fixing windows – are not capital costs, and are not covered. Money spent on improving other assets, for example a road or a park, may be capital depending on what the money is spent on. For example, re-turfing and planting in an existing park will not be capital spending. However, turning a piece of waste land into a children’s playpark may be capital spending.

Purchasing equipment – money spent on buying, for example, a minibus. The equipment, which should cost more than £5k, should reasonably be expected to last for more than a year. As an example, undertaking repairs in a broken playpark will not be capital spending but buying new equipment may be. However, looking after that equipment in the future will not be capital spending.

Whatever you choose, the deadline as I said is currently 7 January. The vote opens on 24 January and closes on 11 February. Once votes have been checked and verified, successful projects will be notified on 28 February, with funds being paid out shortly after.

No doubt you will have questions about all this so please give me a shout and I’ll guide you through things. You can also request a support session from council staff for the capital programme. If you would benefit from one of these sessions, or if you want to get an application form, you need to email the team on community.choices@falkirk.gov.uk and they’ll be in touch.

This is a great opportunity to get some much needed funding into your organisation and have it endorsed by the local public through their voting. So don’t miss out!

Until next time

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

camelon, community, Our Place

Fun in the Park – the review!

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 28 October 2021

Last Sunday we held the long awaited Fun in the Park event in Easter Carmuirs Park. Apart from a 10 minute downpour at the start, we had a dry afternoon which helped such a great crowd to come out and enjoy everything that was available for them.

Thanks to everyone who came out to enjoy the fun, eat the food, and join the chat with myself, John and others. We had some really great conversations including with people who were willing to step up and get involved. Many were asking good and relevant questions and it was good to talk face to face about these matters. Overall, it was heartening to see people coming out to an event in the park that was part of the hope (amongst many other things) after the path network was installed in 2019.

At the event, we also launched Friends of Easter Carmuirs Park. This will be a group to take forward developments in the park and coordinate future events and activities. We had some people sign up for this group and others express an interest in finding out more. So as soon as we can safely do so, we’ll pull a meeting together to talk about how this can work, tell you what support is available for you, and start moving things forward. If you would like to be added to the list for this group then do get in touch with me. My contact details are at the end of this blog.

The Active Travel Parade went down really well and it was good to hear of positive conversations between Camelon Arts and Forth Environment Link about possible future activities of this nature. The bicycle raffle with Scott Walker was also well received and as I’ve been contacting the winners and delivering the bikes this week, it has been so heartening to read their responses and see the joy on their faces. We wish the 4 winners many happy and safe cycling outings (probably not this week though with this weather!)

For now, as we still recover from a long but really good day, I want to offer special thanks to the following people who helped out:

  • Lesley and her team from Easter Carmuirs P.S. Parent Council who provided the Popcorn Machine (and thankfully some freshly cooked popcorn!) and also offered Halloween Costumes for free loan to local families. They also provided a couple of tables.
  • Chris, Nicholla and Julie from Tidy Clean Green who looked after the bulb planting activity.
  • Babs from Port Downie Community Action who let people know about what this new organisation is all about, plus garnered support for a possible Community Council next year.
  • Ian from Camelon Mens Shed who promoted this exciting and much needed new group.
  • Scott Walker Bicycle Mechanic who not only donated 4 refurbished bikes to be raffled off, but spent the whole day with us including assisting with set up and tidying up at the end. He was glad to also receive donations of unwanted bikes and will be working with us on something very special for Christmas – watch this space!
  • Georgi and Emily from Forth Environment Link, plus Ray who returned to his former job to help set up the Bike Ramps that they brought with them. They also allowed us to use their Smoothie Bike that went down very well and brought along some fun giveaways.
  • Aniela, Monica and Kevin from Camelon Arts who organised the Active Travel Parade that went down really well. It was wonderful to see the parade featuring people of all ages on bikes, scooters, roller blades and even a powered wheelchair.
  • My family who dropped seamlessly into the “unhired help” roles that they’ve been used to over the years of events I’ve been involved in. Special thanks to Hannah who served up the free Hot Dogs all afternoon.

We are also especially grateful to all those who helped fund and support the event including:

  • Mandy and Danny from Falkirk Council Environment Services who worked with Torwood Garden Centre Ltd to provided bulbs, pots and compost for the planting activity.
  • Nailer Park Tenants Association who leant us a gazebo.
  • Dave from Port Downie Community Action who leant us a generator so we could run the popcorn machine.
  • Ruth and Jules from Cyrenians Dollar Park Walled Garden team who leant us a couple of tables.
  • Leanne and the community team at Tesco Camelon who provided a voucher so we could buy the fruit smoothie ingredients
  • Charlotte and the community team at Morrisons Falkirk who provided some planters.

To finish my blog this week, here are some photos from the day that showcase the event (including the Active Travel Parade) but also the amazing resource that this park is. Until next time….

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

coach, community, development, resilience, Support

Empowered?

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 7 October 2021

What does it mean to be empowered?

Is it something that is done to you? Something you can learn to do? Or something you grow within yourself, for yourself?

Your view on those questions could determine whether or not you’re going to like this blog!

Empowerment has become a real buzz word of late. It’s the new big thing in so many circles of life but especially in community work. But have we all understood it properly or are some of us using it as a way around things? Will it make your project look better if you talk about empowerment. If you give this opportunity/activity/programme/facility/building to the community you’ll be empowering them. It’s time to think again.

I promised myself that this blog would not become a rant and I will stick to that, but you’ll maybe pick up the sentiment in that last paragraph as a sense of my feelings. So let me be very clear. Just passing something on to a community or individual is not empowering them. It is passing the buck and potentially, setting them up to fail.

So what really is this empowerment thing. Quite simply, it can only be done to you, by you. No one else can empower you and while we’re on it, no else has the right to dis-empower you. You, as an individual have to feel empowered. And that comes by increasing the control you have over your own life. People can help you to do that, but ultimately you are the only person who can empower you. So, if you’re sitting there waiting to be empowered – STOP! Start working at feeling empowered.

It has been said that this empowerment thing is about what matters to you, not what is the matter with you. Can you hear the difference there? This is about your desires, not your issues. Cormac Russell, Managing Director of Nurture Development and the oracle on Asset Based Community Development that I’ve spoken of many times before, says it is about “what you have, rather than what you don’t have – what you can contribute rather than what you can receive.” He says this is about individuals using their head, hearts, hands etc – their talents, skills and passions. So in other words, rather than sitting back and waiting for others to do things around you, what can you do to contribute? It may not be huge and it doesn’t have to be, but as a place you probably know well says regularly: “Every little helps”.

One crucial point I need to make here. We often see government – both local council and national government – doing what communities can do. Cormac Russell simply says “get out of the way and let [the community] do it, but resource them where necessary – don’t just pull out without checking they can actually do it sustainably.” So this brings me back to my point earlier. Those who think they are in positions of authority (Maff Potts of Camerados reminds me that we are all in authority) should not just think they can walk away and leave communities to get on with stuff. They need to check that the skills exist in the community. That the desire, longevity and sustainability can be found in the community. Where support is needed – provide it, whether that be in person or financially. Where guidance is needed – supply it either directly or through signposting and partnership. Where things are needed to be brought up to a workable standard before they can be passed on – do whatever is needed.

This all centres around stuff I’ve been banging on about for ages. Work with communities. Work alongside individuals. Involve people.

So how can you begin to feel this empowerment for yourself? Well that’s a very good question and one that I would love to help you answer because the process and destination will be very different for each one of you. Would you let me have the honour of sitting with you to help you find answers to the questions you are posing, and help you to begin to feel empowered within yourself and move further towards your potential? How do we do this? I’m glad you asked! Contact me about 1 to 1 coaching sessions and I will tell you all you need to know. For now, there’s some info through that link and on the flyer below. I look forward to working alongside you in this.

Until next time…..

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

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

ABCD, easy as 1234

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 19 August 2021

Okay, that title doesn’t scan as well as the Jackson 5 hit “ABC” but there’s a reason for the strange title to the blog this week.

Back in February I introduced you to a thing called Asset Based Community Development – ABCD for short. It’s a fancy title for working with who and what you have in your community and recognising them not as random statistics, but as people. People who have skills, talents, passions, needs, desires. People who can be the change in their community. People who, with the right encouragement, can be even more amazing. People who can make a positive difference in their lives, in their families lives, in the organisation their part of, and in the whole community. In short, what my job is here to do.

So why am I returning to this now?

Well, apart from the fact that I live by this every day, specifically, in a couple of weeks time I am part of a team hosting the second UK ABCD Jamboree that this time has a Scottish theme. Basically, this is an online get together for people delivering some kind of Community Development but also crucially, for those who are actually in communities – those who are being the change already. Practitioners at all levels. This is the first of a series of ‘regional’ gatherings where projects can be showcased from Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland. It’s been one of the positives of using online platforms to meet, as there is the chance to hear and learn from others across a wider field than we would ever have met with before. We’re so pleased to be involved in the first one of these and give the chance for people to see the opportunities that are being grabbed here in Camelon and Tamfourhill amongst other areas.

So this is an open invitation to you. Whether you’re reading this as someone in a position of authority, someone who is getting their hands dirty by doing the every day community stuff, or anyone in between those extremes, this is the gathering for you. It’s not a dry, policy led set of PowerPoint presentations. This is going to be full of living, breathing stories of communities making a difference. We want to flood this online gathering with people who are actively involved in community activity at all levels.

As well as hearing from some great projects from across Scotland (including a 5 minute piece from Lynne at Tamfourhill Community Hub in the quick fire talks section), there will be lots of chances to chat with people from other communities who are there to share and learn in equal measure. This is a place for ideas to be shared, connections to be made, and communities to be celebrated. And it’s all free!

So why not book in. It would be great to see you there and to truly celebrate our area on this UK platform. It’s being held on Zoom on Tuesday 7 September from 10am to 1230pm. More details are on the image below but you can book at celebratingcommunities.eventbrite.co.uk. I look forward to celebrating with you at that event.

Until next time…

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

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

Why not?

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 22 July 2021

Last week in this blog, I asked the question “why bother“. Many of you read it and some took the time to comment positively about it which is nice, but now I want to encourage a bit more action. So, in direct answer to last week’s question, I give you answer “why not“!

Okay, I accept that’s a question not an answer but I think it’s acceptable in this case.

The communities within Camelon and Tamfourhill need more people who will stand up and say “why not”. People who are not willing to look for excuses not to get involved. People who, when they see something that needs doing or where helpers are needed, say “yeah okay, why not. I’ll do that.”

We do have many people like this who have stepped up, said “why not” and used their time, talent and resources to make a difference. Some have been doing it for many (many) years and others are new to it. Here at Our Place Camelon and Tamfourhill, we want to celebrate those people, many of whom don’t even want thanks, praise or recognition for doing what they do. The unsung heroes. Obviously there are the big things like running Community Centres or Sports Clubs where we find many amazing “why not” people at the helm. But then there’s the smaller things which are arguably, just as (or maybe more) important. The person who picks up the litter in their street. The person who regularly does their elderly neighbours shopping. The person who checks in on someone to make sure they’re okay. The person who helps out with a club or activity. The person who checks the accounts for a small community group. The person who reports issues to the relevant authorities so they can be dealt with. The person who organises a get together of people in their close. I could go on…..

The thing is, many of these people have done these things for a long time and could do with some help. Many local organising committees are short on numbers. Many things need to get started but it needs local people to step up to make it happen. As I said last week, times have changed from when you could rely on statutory bodies to provide every service or activity you need. So do we sit back and moan? Do we rant on social media? Do we complain? Or do we say, yeah, why not, I’ll help out, tell me what I can do.

Now that’s all very well if you have the relevant skills to do something. But I know some of you will be concerned that you won’t know what to do or have the necessary skills or qualifications for it. Guess what – we can sort that. If you are not confident in your own abilities then we can sort that too. Here are just some options for sorting these and other things:

  • I can provide 1 to 1 development coaching for you to understand what you might need, what you could do, and to help you find the ways to move towards your potential.
  • We have partnered with NHS Forth Valley to bring the THRIVE to Keep Well programme to the area for the first time, as a pilot for women but hopefully for the whole community if this works – click that link for all information and contact details as there is still time to sign up for the August start of this programme.
  • We are partnering with the Employment and Training Unit and a new charity called 4 The Benefit of All, to bring various personal and skills based training to the community for free – watch this space for more on that soon.
  • I have access and links to various information, support, guidance etc to give you all you need to get involved in whatever it might be. All you have to do is ask.

So what will you say “why not” to? What do you see in the area that you think you could do something about or get involved in. What don’t you see happening that you think should be?

I am currently working with a couple of groups of local residents who have an idea, have seen a need, and have said “why not”. My job here is to support exactly that kind of thing. Whether its setting the group up and getting funding, or just making connections, finding premises and volunteers, and dealing with authorities, I’m here and at your service.

So why not bite the bullet and voice that idea that’s been hanging around your head for a while? Why not speak to someone you know who might be a good help with whatever it is you’re doing? Why not take that step towards finding your potential by finding out what training you could do or how you could get back into work?

If you’re in any doubt, just say “why not”!

Until next time

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