5th February, 2010

2010 and I'm getting round to the blog again at last. Sorry for the delay. Happy New Year! Well, Christmas was quiet with a few families self catering at the Centre and most of our day groups off for the holidays - not the church of course - that would be weird. Now we're well and truly into the new year and have had a few residential groups in. Reality Scotland training (teenagers) had a great week last week. They did a huge walk to Killiekrankie - makes you jealous they're so fit - and have enjoyed lots of other outdoors activities.This week it's ministers'  in-service training (if that's not a pun). I think they'll mostly be stretching their brains rather than their muscles - not that the two are mutually exclusive. Teaching English as a foreign language has started up again and adult literacy, mental health and other regular day groups. Last week Perth & Kinross Council's adult learning had an open day in the Centre dining room with various activities on display from wii sports and dance mats to photography and family trees. The church supported this by providing soup and sandwiches, so it was a successful excercise in teamwork which was rewarded with a lot of interested visitors. Talking about co-operation, a local deli is using our kitchen to prepare their food 3 days a week at the moment, which is added income for us when we are not using it all the time and when we have got small groups they prepare food for us as well. Our newest arrival is Clement from France who is volunteering at the Centre for 3 weeks and hoping to improve his English in the process. He was able to get a slot in the English teaching lessons, so was very pleased and has already gone to church football and survived to tell the tale.
The quest for a new boiler is progressing - rather more slowly than we had hoped - but it was the tortoise who won the race in the end, so not to worry. Initial sketches have gone to planning and then they tell us what to do next. It may take some time to process, but it will be great when it all comes through. Meanwhile we're busy fundraising to cover the cost. Any ideas from you? Actually I'm looking back and wondering how much I've told you about that...not a lot on a quick scan. OK, so our  gas boiler is very inefficient and very old so we think "let's get a new one". When we start asking we find out that not only can we get a much greener boiler if we go renewable biofuel, reducing our carbon footprint to use jargonese, and generally being more responsable with our planet, but we can also get a lot of government help on this. After a lot of investigation and meeting with very helpful people we have decided on a wood pellet boiler supplemented by solar panels for the hot water. So now we need to get everybody's agreement to go ahead and everybody's money as well, since it's not cheap. Good news is that we are already likely to get a sizeable grant towards it, so now we need to raise the other 10 - 15K from other places.

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