27th March, 2012

What beautiful weather we're having at the moment - the sun is shining, the sky is blue and although it's only 4C at 9am it goes up into the 20s by the afternoon. That'll give the solar panels a good workout! It's been a busy month here with residential groups in every weekend and Baptist Ministers Next Stage training during the week in the beginning of March. We had 2 self catering groups in a row,so Iain took the opportunity to train local volunteer Rosemary to do the welcome & introductions so she could then be available as the weekend contact, allowing Iain to have his days off at the weekend. When we have catered groups Iain works all weekend and so has to try to find time off during the week, which isn't always easy, so it's really helpful to be able to delegate lighter tasks like this, free up time and allow Iain the occasional weekend with his family. However there are perks to working at the weekend - Iain really enjoys being the host and meeting both familiar and new friends. As well as taking pride in serving lovely meals with special diets taken care of, he loves to chat & make sure everyone has everything they need. Last weekend it was the Scottish Christian Women's Fellowship, who have been coming to the Centre for the last 13 years. They were absolutely delighted with the new double glazing and couldn't get over the change in the chalet.  With local kids growing up and moving on to college and uni we could so easily have been struggling for help at weekends outside the holidays, but we've been blessed with new local young people happy to work in the kitchen and house during these bursts of residential activity.
Midweeks have been busy too with community groups. New this month we had a 4 week series of women's cycle workshops for 3 hours on a Thursday evening - everything from riding with confidence to cycle maintenance. Thursday evening is usually the Youth cafe  slot, but that's only on once a month and luckily we had 5 Thursdays this month! This month Disability Information Services in Perthshire started having drop in sessions on a Tuesday afternoon. It's been going really well and so they have extended their stay for another month.

I went to 2 fundraising conferences - both in the same week, which made it a lot to take in. The first one was in London with over 800 delegates. It covered a wide variety of questions from legislation and the new government attitude to charity's place in our society to examples of how to apply for funding and how to show you are doing what you have promised. I attended an interesting stream on faith based charities and was encouraged through being shown how in a society where a faith base is often seen as a disadvantage in the fundraising world, it is respected when we present faith in a positive light and promote it as a reason to care, to show integrity and to respect each individual and give them dignity. The second was in Perth. Small is beautiful.(still 100 delegates!) Only 2 key speakers and then 2 relevant and cutting edge workshops with great food too:). Now to put all that learning into practice!

Iain & the Trustees have been busy doing risk assessment for trustees. It's a major project leading to fresh thinking and new challenges. Please pray as they implement what they are learning.

Richard Underwood and Rulzion Rattray have volunteered to raise money for the Centre by riding in the Etape Caledonia Cycle Challenge in Pitlochry in May. Thanks guys! If you want to sponsor them just email or phone 01796 473044. Richard's going to be setting up a Justgiving account in April as well,so you'll be able to give by card there. If you want to cheer them on, come to Pitlochry on Sunday 13th May. Start time 6.30am outside the tourist office (next to the Centre) and the first will get to the finish (also at the Tourist Office) from 10.30am onwards.

Many thanks to those who have contributed towards the electrics for the disabled entry to our main entrance. We're over halfway there already. Keep up the good work & remember the bag pack in the Pitlochry Co-op on the 14th April to help us reach our target. If you can help with that please get in touch.