Friday 4th April
What a difference a month makes! Last time I wrote I was relieved that Anne had finally got a major funding application in and in time for a Trustee meeting deadline. The fantastic news in March is that we were successful! £ 117,343 from the Scottish Government's Enterprise Ready Fund, completing the money we need to start not just the Chalet renovation, but the ground floor disabled en-suites as well. And it includes 9 months funding for a marketing development officer. Watch this space. We're writing the job advert now, so when you see it, if you know anyone who might fit the bill please encourage them to apply.
This funding adds to £20,000 from the Good News Health Trust, £12,000 from the Hugh Fraser Foundation, £7,525 from the Gannochy Trust and £3,203 through private donations and community fundraising. Praise God for His provision & this tangible confirmation of our work. These refurbishments will make a huge difference to infirm elderly & disabled guests coming to stay at the Centre & the new marketing development officer's job will be to ensure our new facilities are used to their full capacity by reaching out to people who haven't heard of the Centre yet, and to people who were put off by shared bathrooms in the past. Our goal - to extend our reach and be agents of change in even more people's lives.
So now the next stage of hard work begins. We've appointed our project manager. David Killbourn is an electrician by trade & runs his own business, but he also has good working knowledge of building & plumbing as he worked as a project manager for the MOD in the past. Please pray for him as this project will be a huge responsibility and for Anne as she manages the funding accountability paperwork. We've had our first site meeting too and agreed a start date for 21st April, so it's all go.
The fundraising continues with a Thrift Shop this coming week (come if you can ) and almost every day this week there has been a welcome cheque in the post. Thank you so much for your support. We're beginning the preparations for the next stage which will be making a new disabled friendly conference room (extending the dining room) with built in AV & loop and transforming the current first floor conference room into 3 en-suite bedrooms. This combination is to ensure that we can continue to support financially challenged groups as we minister to disabled, disadvantaged and chronically ill folks by generating income from those who can afford. Please pray we'll find the right architect to take us forward into the tender process.
We've had groups in every weekend in March (and a couple of mid weeks too) moving smoothly from self catering to catering. The local Deli who has been using our kitchen and making the bulk of our food for the past 5 years moved on at the end of February. We're really happy to welcome back Nel who used to cook for the Deli and is now joint running a shop in Aberfeldy, cooking their produce at the Centre and food for our guests too. We miss Mary & Sandy a lot but it's so lovely to have Nel back:)
We've just had a great weekend with URC ladies & their husbands. (The ladies have their conference & their husbands enjoy a weekend away). And before that we had Baptist ministers' wives for a conference and a week & a bit later many of their husbands here for a Next Stage Ministry course. Mike Bonser commented:
"I have just returned from an absolutely superb "Next stage of ministry" conference, organised by the National team of the BUS, focused on continuing professional development. Thank you."
It's great to see God at work in these conferences and courses. Spalding Adventures mountain leadership course also came to stay midweek. They couldn't find enough snow for a snow hole but did find some difficult weather conditions to tackle as part of their training.
April is set to be a mainly B&B month. We're open for Easter holiday makers and have taken some bookings already, but there's still plenty of room so do get in touch (01796 473044) if you fancy a few days away in Pitlochry.