Community engagement and development

Not just a new diary …. new growth

ionaI love New Year as an opportunity to look back and reflect. I’m not particularly bothered about ‘the bells’, changing the calendar or getting a new diary (unless, like me, you use an academic diary), but January 1st and the ensuing time is a good marker for reflecting on the year past and how things have changed, and might change again.

Over 2015, I went through a transition from a bad place of illness and stress into something much better – an opportunity for growth and service... read more

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Filling a gap

calumStarting last month as a full time “gapper” with ‘thegkexperience’ has been like a dream come true for me. The opportunity to work for what I believe to be a fantastic organisation that puts the young people we work with above anyone or anything else. This has had a very positive effect on my attitude towards work and motivates me every day to strive to do my best for our young people.

Due to my 3 years as a volunteer with ‘gk’ and as a participant on their Young Leaders Programme I have had no trouble settling into my new role... read more

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Messy Mondays

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMessy Mondays started in October of 2012. We initially started it off as a way of keeping regular worship in our Linthouse Building but in a different way as we had tried and failed at a few other options.  We had tried an early breakfast worship, an evening dinner worship which always resulted in the same church folk turning up along with only one other family. The main priority was to help families engage with one another. We all know if we put a banner up advertising a kids club we would have 100 kids turning up – but that’s not what we wanted we wanted families –  to begin to explore something we hadn’t had in Linthouse for years so…Messy Mondays was born... read more

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Saving the poor from their saviours

Wevo fanA large heavy-duty truck got stuck under a railway under-bridge. It could neither move forward nor be reversed backwards. A traffic jam started building up on both sides of the under-bridge. Experts were called in to solve the problem: the structural engineers, fire & rescue people, road engineers, mechanics…all sorts of people with great knowledge and expertise converged on the scene but none seem to have a solution for moving the truck. A young boy passed by and noticed the commotion... read more

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From regeneration to resurrection

CDTSo the destruction of the Red Road flats is not to feature in the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games. I’m glad. It’s not only the arguments about folks’ lives and memories that made the idea crass and insensitive for me, but that it seemed to draw attention to the failure of regeneration policy in general. Authorities are very good at knocking down, but not so good at reimagining a place with the people who live there in mind.

David Sim of Gehl architects (http://www.gehlarchitects.com/ ) spent a day recently in Cranhill with local people and interested architects and planners, firstly looking and listening... read more

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Food and a fair press

Melvyn March 2014 (2)The Church and the press often don’t have an easy relationship.  We in the church have grown resigned to church related disputes and scandals getting tabloid headlines, while the good work we do is ignored.  Since we launched the Glasgow NW Foodbank in Blawarthill Church last year, I’ve found to my delight that the papers can still be our friends.  We have had a steady stream of supportive articles in the local and national press, and one of our volunteers has a weekly column in a respected national broadsheet... read more

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Fun, food, imagination and genuine participation.

ffiTo my mind these are four key ingredients in a congregation’s life or in a community’s life as it looks to grow and develop.  In Chance to Thrive we can see how local groups have been working in ways which are both enjoyable and involving more people in thinking about ideas for the future.  We also managed to mix together these ingredients in many pleasing ways in our discussions at the recent Priority Areas consultation at Gartmore.      

  • Fun

I have often wondered why people should be bothered turning up at endless rounds of meetings which are as exciting as watching the buses pass up and down the road on a quiet day.  We often take ourselves too seriously and don’t realise that a fun loving or mischievous spirit can enliven a group’s life and lead it to places it might never otherwise go.  One good fun resource which four of the Chance to Thrive local groups really enjoyed using is the DISCOVERY Resource Toolkit.  Our groups have found that DISCOVERY offers an interactive way of exploring a parish with all its good things and its challenges and groups ended up with presentations they were pleased to share... read more

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A trip to India 7 – the long journey home.

smallToday was our last day in India. We spent it sightseeing and shopping and in the evening we travelled out of the city to spend time with my good friend and wonderful colleague Noel and his family (including his niece on whom he plainly dotes). It was a wonderful end to an amazing week.

It is going to be a long journey home and by that I don’t just mean the distance. I mean the challenge of trying to make sense of what I have seen and learnt over these last days as we try to maximise what we have discovered together in the vastly different context of post-industrial, pre-independence(?), wet, windy and cold Scotland... read more

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A trip to India 6 – ‘inspiring a generation’.

cityToday we were in Mumbai. Its population is over three times that of the whole of Scotland. Quiet wee place Mumbai! Getting anywhere takes hours but when you get there it is well worth it. And the chaos of the journey is fun as well.

The morning was spent with Creative Handicrafts – a social enterprise with a difference. It delivers clothing contracts to many of the High Street shops we buy from regularly as well as some that I can only afford to look in the window of... read more

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A trip to India 5 – you can call me Al (Paul Simon).

India2

First of all – a wee note of correction. In my last blog I said that there were 8 million Self-Help Groups. I meant 8 million women involved in them. Must be too much sunshine!

I awoke this morning not to the ‘normal’ sounds of monkeys chattering, cockerels crowing and dogs barking but instead to the sounds of the city – of Bangalore. We travelled last night from rural Kalor to the hustle and bustle of the city. It is quite a culture shock albeit not as extreme as I feared it might have been... read more

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