28th February, 2012

Hooray the last bit of the double glazing package is going in today. Alex is on the dining room roof replacing our domed rooflights with new triple skinned ones. The new main entrance was installed a couple of weeks ago too, but the electrics for the automatic push pad have been postponed to let us secure funding to cover the extra £3,000 in cost. If you can help us with this please get in touch. Originally we had been told they had to be installed together, but when the electrics people were slow to give us information and I was reminding people we had a funding deadline for the double glazing, suddenly they could be installed separately. It does mean the new door is not just double glazed, but also built to take the push pad when it comes. It opens so smoothly we've had to put a notice on to push/pull gently, as people were almost falling over at first as they expected resistance where there was none.

Computer classes for our local community have been going for 4 weeks now. The first week no-one turned up and the tutors had problems setting up the internet as their Perth College laptops had firewalls not allowing use outside of council run venues. 4 weeks on they've had to move to a bigger room and are wondering if they have enough staff for all the people coming. People coming to the English as a foreign language classes are from all over the world. Many are from Eastern Europe - Poland, Russia, Lithuania, but the other day I chatted to a lady from Ghana who has married a Scotsman and now lives in Pitlochry and there are also students from Bangladesh and Turkey. It makes us quite an international community.

The church (through the WA) has successfully started a lunch club for the elderly, taking place fortnightly in the Centre dining room. An advantage of being in the Centre is that soup can be bought from the firm renting our kitchen and so is served hot and freshly made with a good choice of varieties. This saves time and effort for volunteers and ensures hassle free compliance with food hygiene regs. It has proved very popular and numbers are growing.

Weekends have been full with residential guests at the Centre, although most have been self-catering recently, many groups taking advantage of our no frills option on the flexi tariff, so even though times are hard, we are still able to be of service. In fact there have been a few key weekends that it seems everybody wants. If you're looking for a venue mid weeks are much easier to get and you can still self cater midweek, using the kitchen at the self catering apartment or we can offer half or full board if that suits you better.
We've had a few people expressing interest in the summer volunteer post. If you are interested please apply soon as the deadline is set for Thurs 15th March after which interviews will take place.

We have now applied for planning permission for the proposed improvements to the Centre over the next few years - extending  and dividing the dining room so our conference space can move downstairs, changing the chalet into a disabled friendly self-catering apartment, making every bedroom en-suite and changing the office to give us more space to work and a live-in bedsit for staff. I wonder how long it will take to come through. Thank you to everyone who is praying for us. Remember,you can also support us by helping us to raise funds by setting up events or taking part in challenges. This weekend a young man from the church is running a marathon in aid of CRY (Young people with cardiac problems) This is the kind of thing you could do for the Centre, supporting our ministry to disabled and disadvantaged people by helping us to improve our facilities. Hope you can help.

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