Community Leisure UK ezine
September 2021
Falkirk Community Trust celebrates a Decade of Champions with a public thank you

05 Jul 2021

Falkirk Community Trust has marked the occasion of its tenth anniversary with a commemorative video, released on social media at the beginning of July, with a heartfelt public thank you to all of its staff and volunteers, hailing the successes of the last ten years as a result of a “decade of champions”.

Falkirk Community Trust was established by Falkirk Council in July 2011 with the purpose of giving a new lease of life to the delivery of much valued Community Services. Since then, the Trust has been at the forefront of the development of culture and sport in the Falkirk area, delivering inspiring services and encouraging widespread participation. In April 2022 Falkirk Council will resume control of these services and Falkirk Community Trust will cease operations.

Maureen Campbell, Falkirk Community Trust’s Chief Executive announced in June that she is to step down from the role at the end of August. She opens the video address by commenting: “If you were to ask me, what the secret to our success has been over the last ten years, then my answer would be first and foremost: our people. From our team members and partners to our small dedicated army of volunteers and, of course, our fantastic customers. You are the champions who have made all this possible.”

Over the last decade customer income has grown by 69% to over £7m annually, and over £5million has been raised in grants and external funding by Falkirk Community Trust. They reversed an annual loss of £250,000 in the catering and retail company, it has generated profits of more than £1.4 million over the last five years, all of which have been re-invested in service delivery.

The Trust has also led the delivery of a great many projects directly benefitting the local Falkirk area, including the development of Helix Park and the Kelpies, a 5 star visitor centre which has positioned Falkirk on an international stage, with tens of thousands of visitors from around the globe flocking to the town to visit the sculptures.

There has been significant investment in the region’s sporting facilities since 2011 including the redevelopment of the Mariner Centre, Grangemouth Stadium, Bo’ness Recreation Centre, Carron Gymnastics Centre and Stenhousemuir Gym. They have also been at the forefront of the development of arts and culture in the region, proudly operating a range of venues, from Town Halls steeped in tradition to a unique cinema. Income from the region’s arts venues during that time has increased by 84% over the last ten years and the area now boasts a range of popular events including HippFest and Fire & Light, a popular feature in VisitScotland’s Winter Festivals programme.

Maureen Campbell OBE, Chief Executive of Falkirk Community Trust commented:
“As we bring this chapter of our journey to a close, and the organisation looks forward to its future within Falkirk Council, I want to personally thank everyone for the passion, dedication, and commitment they have put in over the last ten years. I believe they can take a real sense of pride in everything we have achieved together, it has truly been a decade of champions and we couldn’t have achieved any of this without our dedicated network of team members, partners, volunteers and, of course, our customers. It’s hard to capture everything we have achieved in just a short two-minute video, but I hope this will capture the very essence of the life-enriching connections we have made and the pride we all share at having been very much a part of that success.”

This video has been shared on Falkirk Community Trust’s digital channels and is supported by a digital marketing campaign that will share highlights of the Trust’s achievements through the voices of the people who made it all happen.

Falkirk Community Trust says Thank you to over 1000 Local Volunteers

Falkirk Community Trust said a very big public thank you to over 1000 local volunteers from the Falkirk area who have contributed to the successful delivery of programmes such as Active Schools, Step Forth and Care Words, by using its social media channels to profile the work of these volunteers during the nation’s 37th Volunteers Week (1-7 June).

One of the highlights of the week was learning that Lynn Boslem of Tamfourhill Community Hub was named Volunteer of the Year at the online ceremony of CVS Falkirk’s 2021 Volunteer Awards. A fantastic achievement for Lynn who has proven that she has gone above and beyond to support the local community.

Volunteers’ Week is marked nationally by thousands of charities and voluntary organisations who recognise the contribution volunteers make across the UK and thank them for all they do. The contribution of volunteers is often unseen and unrecognised by many, visible only through the incredible impact of their volunteering. However, the coronavirus pandemic has rightly raised the profile of volunteering and more people than ever are aware of the immense contribution being made every single day by the UK’s volunteers.

Falkirk Community Trust works with over 1000 volunteers every year to deliver essential community programmes like Active Schools, Step Forth, Great Place and Care Words. It also offers volunteering opportunities at all of its venues including the libraries, The Kelpies, Helix Park, Callendar Park, Falkirk Town Hall and Muiravonside.

Hanna Rennie volunteered her time at Muiravonside, she commented on the benefits of volunteering with Falkirk Community Trust: “Volunteering at Muiravonside has been a hugely rewarding experience! I learned so much about countryside and conservation management which has been so valuable in my studies and in gaining further employment within the environmental industry. Aside from the professional advantages, volunteering has been great for my mental and social well-being by allowing me to meet new people and have regular access to the outdoors.”

Tanya Milligan is Project Lead for Falkirk Community Trust’s Care Words, a National Lottery funded programme which supports and trains volunteers to work with individuals in care settings to read and reminisce. She commented on the impact volunteers can make in their local community: “The National Lottery supported us to go into care settings for older people and run Care Words groups. Many of our clients lived with dementia and our volunteers made a huge difference – one lady recited a poem she learnt at school – when most days she hardly spoke. Our clients would chat and sing happily because of our volunteers. They really do an incredible job.”

Maureen Campbell OBE, Chief Executive of Falkirk Community Trust commented: “Volunteers' Week is our chance to celebrate and recognise the fantastic contribution our volunteers make. Thanks to them, Falkirk’s local community has benefited from a whole range of life enriching services. From enhancing our parklands, to creating new exhibitions, organising guided walks and coaching football and gymnastics, our volunteers are at the heart of our success. Their passion, commitment and dedication are genuinely appreciated by our whole organisation and the community. This week it’s our turn to shine a spotlight on them and the marvellous work that they do. From me it a very big thank you indeed.”

Volunteer Scotland Chief Executive, Alan Stevenson said: "Volunteers’ Week is a time to thank all the volunteers in the UK, for the support and services they provide each year. The pandemic has changed volunteering with many more of us helping others within our local neighbourhood than ever before, so taking the time to thank them for this critical contribution and connection to the most vulnerable in our society is essential. In the last year, countless volunteering programmes have paused (we hope not closed), so this year it is especially important to also recognise those who have been unable to volunteer, or volunteer as regularly, or those who may be anxious about resuming. Remember, they are Scotland’s volunteers, we celebrate them and look forward to their full return.”

June Fitness Campaign

A new Health & Fitness focused campaign launched on Tuesday 1 June encouraging the local community to get active. The Fit For Life campaign encourages people to improve their fitness and recognises that regular physical activity is essential to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and to overall health and wellness.

The campaign invites the community to get active and showcases the variety of ways to get fit available with Falkirk Community Trust including indoor, outdoor and online fitness classes, workouts in the gym and swimming sessions which can all be included as part of a Health & Fitness membership with FCT.

By 24 June the Health & Fitness team had already reached 110% of their enhanced monthly target by signing up 407 new members, let’s hope the momentum continues throughout the remainder of the month and the team continue to smash through those targets!

Get Fit for Life – Head Outside and Get on your bike!

To support Bike Week (30 May to 5 June 21) we launched a series of easy to follow cycle routes for all abilities which could be downloaded online as well as more trails which could be accessed via the Falkirk Explored app. To encourage more people to get on a bike and try out the new routes, ‘Dr Bike’ was in Callendar Park and The Helix in June to give people a free 20-point bike check which went down really well!

Five new Forth Bike stations opened in Falkirk in May, doubling the number of electric bike hire points across the area. The new locations are: Falkirk Community Hospital, Zetland Park, Grangemouth, Callander Park, Duke Street, Denny and Union Street, Bo'ness. The Forth Bike e-bike initiative has been developed with Falkirk residents in mind to aid easy commuting or leisure access to the rest of Forth Valley by e-bike. Falkirk is already leading the way in e-bike use in Forth Valley; accounting for 10,244 of the 14,299 Forth Bike journeys made last year and Falkirk users clocked up an impressive 50,000 miles in 2020.

Check out the new trails here

Outdoor Theatre Is Back This Summer!

We are super excited that outdoor theatre will be back this year and tickets are on sale now. Two new shows are set to head on stage this July to take audiences on an adventure never to be forgotten.

David Walliams’ best-seller novel “Mr Stink” will be on the outdoor stage at The Helix on 7 July and the audience are invited to celebrate Annabelle’s 10th birthday, hosted by everyone’s favourite MP candidate, Janet Crumb! (Almost) everyone is welcome... that is, everyone apart from Chloe’s particularly smelly new friend, Mr Stink.

In addition to “Mr Stink” is “Wonder With Grimm” at Callendar Park on 16 July, an evening of enchanting storytelling full of magic, puppetry, and music, as we enter into the fantastical world of the Brothers Grimm with altered endings and a modern twist.

Pack a picnic, grab a chair and dress for the weather. Packed with fun, humour and heart-warming messages, these touching tales are perfect entertainment for the whole family.

Both events will be socially distanced and COVID-19 safe and full list of FAQs can be found here.

Falkirk Science Festival 24th - 31st July 2021

A hybrid of self-led science activities, outdoor and online workshops, this year’s festival will feature self-led science packs from the Institute of Physics which can be collected from one of our park venues: Callendar House, Helix Visitor Centre, Plaza Café, or Muiravonside Café. We have outdoor workshops so you can go pond dipping with Under the Trees, or make a wildlife garden with Froglife.

Come down to the Helix Park and make a rocket or head up to Muiravonside and do some light experiments. Join us online with Edinburgh Zoo and meet the zoo keepers and the animals that they look after, or make a beautiful cell biscuit with scientists from the Welcome Centre of Cell Biology all from the comfort of your own home. Please note all activities need to be booked in advance from (full programme coming soon).

Great Place

The exhibition ‘Our Stories – Views from the Past’ opened on Wednesday 28 April, just as Callendar House opened its doors again to the public following the relaxation of COVID guidelines.

Throughout lockdown the Great Place Falkirk project has continued to tell the history of the area. Teams of volunteers have contributed to a growing website full of their discoveries and the project wanted to use Falkirk Council’s Museum managed by Falkirk Community Trust to give these digital stories a real-life physical presence.

Working closely with the Trust, volunteers both local and from across the UK with a passion for history and heritage helped co-curate the exhibition with stories told in their own voices. They selected their own research area based on their personal interest and developed the exhibition text.

With the industrial past of the Falkirk area as a jumping off point, the exhibition explores brickworks, iron industry and soap works. There are also famous local names from the Falkirk area which are sure to spark memories of tasty drinks and snacks.

Great Place Project Coordinator, Helen Rashad commented “The Our Stories exhibition is a wonderful example of the Great Place scheme at its best – an enthusiastic and talented group coming together and working with professionals to share their own take on local heritage, making it freely accessible to residents and visitors alike.”

The exhibition is free but tickets should be booked in advance through Callendar House.

Local Heroes – The Park Gallery, Callendar House

Visitors to Callendar House can look forward to a new art exhibition on display in the Park Gallery from Sat 26 June to 3 October 2021.

Entitled Local Heroes, the exhibition includes pieces from Falkirk Council’s Art Collection, featuring the work of internationally respected artists Dame Elizabeth Blackadder and Alan Davie. This is the Park Gallery’s first new exhibition post lockdown, and we are very excited to draw on our own collection to celebrate two of the area’s finest artists.

Dame Elizabeth Blackadder was born in Falkirk in 1931 and studied at the Edinburgh College of Art. In 1962 she took up a teaching position at her alma mater where she remained until her retirement in 1986. She worked in a variety of media including watercolour, oils and prints. Her work is in many of the country’s major galleries and she is considered one of Scotland’s greatest artists. She was the first woman to be elected to both the Royal Scottish Academy and the Royal Academy. In 2001 she was appointed Her Majesty’s Painter and Limner in Scotland.

James Alan Davie, known as Alan Davie, was born in Grangemouth in 1920. Son of a painter and art teacher at Grangemouth High School, he studied at Edinburgh College of Art. After college he entered military service during the Second World War. Following this he worked making jewellery, teaching art and as a professional jazz musician. He gained international acclaim in the 1950s with his abstract work and has exhibited internationally. His works are in many of the world’s great collections. Sadly, he died in 2014 but his influence lives on.

Lesley O’Hare, Culture & Libraries Manager said “I am personally thrilled to have the opportunity again to view the work of these locally born, world renowned artists. It’s a privilege to have their work on show at Callendar House and I hope we see many local people and those from further afield come to enjoy the work of these two very different but nonetheless inspirational artists.”

Entry to the exhibition is free, but visits to Callendar House should be pre-booked online. The exhibition will run until Sun 3 October 2021.

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