Community Leisure UK ezine
January 2022
Falkirk Community Trust 2021 Highlights

01 Dec 2021

Libraries for Wellbeing project funding

Falkirk Community Trust are delighted to announce that they have received funding of £39,992 for the Libraries for Wellbeing project from the Scottish Government’s Covid Relief fund.

The £39,992 funding will enable Falkirk Libraries to work with Falkirk’s Mental Health Association (FDAMH) to train all their staff so they can better support library users with their mental health. In addition, the funding will enable some staff in each library to be trained in Reading for Wellbeing so they can run regular fortnightly groups for adults that use the therapeutic power of reading in every library. The Library Service will work with a wide range of community partners to run outreach events and to identify individuals who would benefit from a supportive group in one of their friendly libraries.

The past eighteen months have been extremely difficult for local communities and the Libraries for Wellbeing project will allow Falkirk Community Trust to support the community to improve their mental health and wellbeing and reduce social isolation. This will be achieved by running several reading sessions at which the group facilitator will read a short piece of prose or poetry, then will ask the group to comments, discuss their feelings and to share any readings they may have brought along. Enabling group attendees with an opportunity to discuss their feelings and experiences in a safe and supportive environment, improving wellbeing and tackling feelings of isolation through the written word.

Tanya Milligan, Lead Librarian (Projects) said ‘We are really excited to have been awarded this fund for our Libraries for Wellbeing project. This is an amazing chance to develop all our friendly, helpful staff so they are better equipped to support all our users through the power of reading.’

Ian Dickson, Chief Executive Officer, FDAMH said “I very much look forward to seeing this exciting project come to life, with FDAMH and Falkirk Community Trust working together to deliver new wellbeing services in our community!”

Falkirk’s Summer Sports Activity 2021 Overview

In previous years Falkirk Community Trust has offered a substantial programme of activities for children over the Summer holidays. With restrictions easing in summer 2021, the Trust once again looked to offer a sports activity programme for children over the school holidays. Following the pandemic, the Scottish Government allocated £15 million to local authorities for the targeted provision of holiday activities. The funding was provided to help improve the well-being of children and young people over the summer period.

The Active Schools Team developed a programme that would benefit children and young people who had been adversely affected by the impacts of the pandemic. They planned an extensive programme, offering free places in Pop-Up Sports Festivals, which ran across various venues in the Falkirk area. In addition to this, they also ran Muiravonside Tribal Camps, Friends and Family Tennis, Adventure Days, Action Outdoors Days and Disability Sport sessions.

The priority for this £15 million investment was to help address the negative impacts associated with extended periods of isolation and a lack of participation in regular activities during the pandemic. This investment acknowledges the hugely difficult time children, young people and families across Scotland have experienced. It provided opportunities for children to socialise and reconnect with peers and others through the Trust’s Summer Activity programme.

The Summer Sports Programme offered over 4,500 free places, with over 2,940 free places provided. Attendees were offered free Grab and Go lunch to ensure that as well as being active and having fun, they were also well-fed. Holiday hunger is a growing concern, with many children who typically receive free school meals going hungry in the holidays. Falkirk Community Trust was proud to be able to make a small contribution towards this.

In addition to the free activities, the Trust ran a number of their traditional sports development programmes, with a total of 3,246 visits across the summer, resulting in an 87% uptake overall.

Canal Encounters

Canal Encounters was a two-month-long activity trail for Scotland’s Year of Coasts & Waters, funded by Event Scotland and the National Lottery Heritage Fund. This project was delivered in partnership with Scottish Canals and Great Place Falkirk, and we can now share results highlighting the events great successes.

The Helix and the Falkirk Wheel welcomed nearly 300,000 visitors onto the sites throughout August and September, and the programme of 65 live pop-up workshops, performances and activities engaged over 1,500 people.

Highlights include five boat excursions, 24 performances, including unusual tours by mythical creatures, Chamber Music Live Concert, and Tony Mills breakdancing. Twenty-three workshops were delivered by a range of partners and artists. Ten walking tours happened along the canal at The Helix and the Falkirk Wheel, and three cycle tours.

The project also engaged nine volunteers who delivered 76 hours of support to deliver all these activities.

The activity trail was extended until 30th September, and most of the sculptures have permanent locations between the Falkirk Wheel and The Helix. Some of the trails will feature on the FREE Falkirk Explored app for the next five years. All part of a fantastic project that achieved great things for the local community.

Happy 50th Birthday to Grangemouth Pool

This October, the Trust celebrated 50 years of the swimming pool at Grangemouth Sports Complex.

To mark the anniversary, the team organised a celebration and put a request out to the local community to share any memorabilia they have that tells the stories and history of the swimming pool and of the people who have used it over the past 50 years.

The pool has been the starting point for many aspiring champions and beginners alike through our Learn to Swim programme, Grangemouth Amateur Swimming Club and our local disabled swimming club. It’s also been the focus for fun family swimming and for those who enjoy swimming as part of their ongoing fitness regime.

The venue has seen many improvements and upgrades over the years thanks to investment from Falkirk Council and latterly Falkirk Community Trust. A recent and most welcome addition has been the Changing Places accessible toilet, to meet the needs of people with profound and multiple learning disabilities, as well as people with other physical difficulties. People with these needs often require extra equipment and space to allow them to use toilet and changing facilities safely and comfortably.

Sport & Recreation Manager, Paul Finnie said; “We are delighted to be celebrating the anniversary of the swimming pool at Grangemouth Sports Complex, which has been at the heart of the community for 50 years.

Since lockdown restrictions eased, we’ve seen more and more of our customers returning to the pool and we’re pleased so many people are using the facilities at Grangemouth, and the other swimming pools in the Falkirk area which we operate, to help their health and wellbeing – a vital component in our area’s recovery from the pandemic.”

As part of the celebrations, all customers were able to enjoy a swim session for just 50p per person all day on Saturday 9 October. This was a great success, with just shy of 350 swimmers enjoying a 50p dip.

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