Off the Rollercoaster and Reflecting …
It has been a very intense emotionally exhilarating week. Today I have been doing some follow up to all the networking, discussions and research that I have initiated during the course of the past few weeks. I have created a new blog for Project Tick Tock and whilst doing so I have been looking back here to see how much I had related … only to find that it is very little and it is very incoherent. So here is a summary of my various projects:
Volunteering – Care About Kirrie
The Steps for Health walking group is progressing with help from Margo. We have done risk assessment on two routes with their variations and those two routes could later on be joined up into one walk. I was pleasantly reassured that the risk assessment did not take the form of telling me all the things I couldn’t do but took a common sense approach of looking for the safest options (eg dropped kerbs for crossing the road). Over coffee we then found we have a common interest in Woodland burials and Labyrinths – which interested me since they are not probably in the top 100 conversation starters in the UK!
Volunteering IT Skills to the Job Club has been delayed because my application form didn’t arrive; I now have one and that will be back with them in the coming week. I hope to develop that into linking the people I help with skills to community organisations who can benefit from IT support and allow the volunteer to keep practising their new found skills.
Litter – Community Clean Up; I have volunteers now from the Cooperative food stores. I need to identify some priority areas, set some date(s), promote it and get the kit the volunteers will need.
Taking the Bus For a Walk
I have had a discussion with the Marketing Officer at Angus Council and she is to have the design team look at the format and possibly putting each stage of a walk onto a card which are then assembled into a plastic wallet. Once we have a mock up of that it is over to me to persuade partners to get on board and to create the event that promotes this and the element of the Commonwealth Games 2014 that is being hosted in Angus. I will need to do some networking on this so I need to jot some ideas and thoughts down so that I am ready when the draft is available from the designers.
Project Tick Tock
In our area we have very poor volumes of visitor accommodation and in fact we do not promote our region very well – we are missing out on tourist revenue. Along the coast there are large hotels but many smaller hotels have closed in the recession. We believe it is time to develop a range of high quality but budget cost accommodation – hostels, bunkhouses and glamping sites. What is more every Burgh Town in Angus is in need of this sort of accommodation so this is a chance to develop a local network – we are probably the only county in Scotland which has not yet done this.
There are a number of goals including increased employment, training for work, provision of community hubs to support community organisations and of course to encourage visitors to spend more time here and therefore more money. Additionally wherever possible to be environmentally friendly including bringing old buildings up to date and back into use.
I am very excited about the prospect of this and the natural links with my other projects and my existing community role as Community Councillor. With support from a couple of key people within the Council I am confident that I have the basis of a solid business plan that I can go to Firstport with as a budding Social Entrepreneur. It is not going to happen overnight since the building I am set on for the first hostel will need acquiring and then a lot of TLC to bring it up to the standard I am looking for. I am going to be networking like I have never done before, bringing the community and other businesses within it on board and developing a building from a shell to a beautiful and welcoming home from home.
All this will mean accepting that for the next few years I will have just enough to pay the bills and no spare for frills but it also means remembering each and every day when I wake up what it feels like to be a human being and to contribute to something worthwhile. It also doesn’t mean that the ATTIC is cancelled – but it will be delayed a little. My path on my journey is taking a little detour but it is one which allows me to take more serenity steps and to cover more serenity miles. Having felt like I was drifting and had lost focus I have it back again now and it is stronger and clearer than before.
Against all of this backdrop I have heard that the person responsible for the stress that set me on my serenity journey has now fixed on her next target … I made the right decision last September even if living with it has felt uncomfortable sometimes. I have met and spoken with wonderful people; I have heard what they think is missing in our community; and now I aim to put some of that back.
To put this in perspective I had a conversation recently with someone born and bred in our small town and I apologetically said that I realise I am an incomer and always will be but I care that this community is saved and if we do not do something now I fear it will die. His reply was that it would be incomers like me that made the difference because those who have lived here all their lives remain convinced that what has always worked will continue to do so … they cannot see that it is not working anymore.
My networks are not just about business ideas; I have a small network of really good friends. One of them told me this week in a message (which I had to translate because she wasn’t feeling strong enough to wrestle with it writing it in English for me) that if I had not offered her a hand of friendship she fears that she would not have been able to go on. She had made a mistake and made accusations – her words caused great hurt, to herself as well as the person they were against who I already counted as a valued friend. This week I watched, with tears streaming down my face as that hurt was completely healed – I watched as a person who unwittingly tore a community apart has been fully accepted into that community with her expression of love for someone close to her.
She wrote the message to me this week to let me know about a temporary change in her life which might take her offline for a few weeks and to say that I need not worry because she is safe.
It is easy to wrench and break and destroy – it is much harder to build and rejuvenate and offer to be of service to others. Seeing it happen inspires me to continue on my journey, to keep doing the things that are working and to keep joining the dots to make my community, my online community and myself more whole, more complete and more at peace. Even Toxic has not been able to take that away from me this week with his latest escapade … a very silly man indeed but he is the one he is hurting.
I still have a great deal of work to do to realise my dreams, but today, after an emotional week of talking and listening I know that I can work through life’s storms and reach that rainbow … and so can each of you … hold onto your dreams and move towards them one serene step at a time, savouring each and looking forward to the next.