All the Festive Best from Engage!
All the Festive Best from Engage!

All the Festive Best from Engage!

17/12/2021 (Staff Post - Alan McNiven )

Christmas is coming and like the big box of ‘Celebrations’ that are sitting in my kitchen 2021 appears to be vanishing rapidly…


This year we were 10…We kicked off as Engage on the 1st April 2011 and the last ten years have been a blur, challenging, exciting, enjoyable and sometimes unpredictable… This year, like the other 9, has been all of those things – a short snapshot capturing the April to November is available here:




In some ways the best part of working for an organisation like Engage is the changing nature of the tasks – through the ten years we’ve found ourselves involved in a whole range of strategies and approaches, tackling a wide range of targets and issues. I count myself as very lucky to be doing a job that, while containing key responsibilities, also offers the opportunity to become involved in different agendas – sometimes on a week to week, or even day to day, basis. I would argue that one of the strengths of all Third Sector organisations is their ability to flex and change direction as the situation changes – and the last two years has clarified that point I would say.


As we look forward to the festive break there are of course significant concerns for many in relation to the ongoing pandemic and managing new protections. Within the Third Sector we will, I’m sure, adapt again to support, and opportunities such as the Community Mental Health & Wellbeing Fund, which has a distinctly local focus, means that your initiatives can get help to where it’s required. If you haven’t applied yet please note that the fund closes on 7th January 2022 and we’re looking to get funding agreed soon after that. Get your applications in:




And in terms of new opportunities for engagement we have also been working closely with the Adult Learning team at Renfrewshire Council recently (Hi Fiona & Clare!) on a programme of activity that’s due to take place early next year. Renfrewshire Council, local organisations and Engage are delivering some interesting approaches to digital training, cultural activity and volunteer support - watch this space!


Christmas to me is about many things but music is right up there, as it is in most bits of my life. I find music takes me back so clearly to Christmases past…and at this time of year the music memory box is triggered regularly. Last Christmas? Frosty the Snowman? When you hear these songs what do you remember? Nights out? Christmas Dinners? Does hearing ‘Let it Snow’ by Vaughn Monroe make you think of mistletoe or like me does it make you think of ‘Die Hard’ which is many people’s favourite festive holiday film…My own favourite Christmas film is probably the 1951 version of ‘Scrooge – A Christmas Carol’ with Alistair Sim. When I think of the character of ‘Scrooge’ it is always Alistair Sim that I imagine in my mind and the story in the film follows the Dicken’s novella pretty faithfully.  Everyone I’m sure knows the story, but in this version the darkness of the issues all around Scrooge are not brushed over and the sense of redemption that he seeks and finds is all the better for it. I’m sure that the film has remained popular because the tale that Dicken’s produced 178 years ago contains messages that are still universally relevant today – messages around the importance of charity, helping others and caring for your community. Simply, I suppose the film is a firm favourite with me because it’s a brilliant story – and it never fails to remind me that we can help each other through simple acts of kindness. Kindness is key – QED.


So without further ado on behalf of everyone at Engage – all the best for the festive period and lang may yir lum reek!


See you in ’22!



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