25th April, 2012

A big thank you to everyone who has helped with fundraising this month. We made £462.30 at a bag pack in Pitlochry Co-op on Saturday 14th - the last Saturday of the local school holidays, and this was in spite of many families from Pitlochry Baptist church (who supplied the bag packers) away on holiday themselves! The bag pack was to raise money towards putting in the disabled friendly push pad entry at our main entrance. This means we've now raised over £2,000 for this. We're just waiting for news of a grant we have applied for towards this and then we'll be good to go. Richard Underwood from Garioch Baptist Church, who's riding in the Etape Caledonia Cycle challenge for the Atholl Centre, put a page up on Justgiving for sponsorship and has already been sponsored for £200. You can still sponsor him. Just go to this page. Rulzion Rattray, brother of a local man, is doing Etape for us as well. If you want to sponsor him,  just send the money in to us at the Centre. Iain also received donations when he spoke at Auchlochan retirement village. His powerpoint presentation was not only attended by residents in person, but was also televised into the homes of housebound residents, a novel experience - a bit scary, but worth it. All this fundraising effort is for the 40th anniversary project of course - improving our disabled access by bringing the conference room downstairs, creating a new disabled friendly self-catering apartment in the chalet and making all our ground floor bedrooms disabled friendly en-suite, and improving our general facilities by making all the other bedrooms en-suite and expanding & refurbishing the office.We have spent a long time preparing our case to present to Trusts and grant making bodies. We have been updating our business plan and with help from Just Enterprise we now have robust financial projections taking into account all the project costs and effects.The plans are going through planning permission at present, and so hopefully we're now ready to apply for major grants.

Meanwhile it is still business as usual. Every weekend we've had residential groups. Over the long Easter weekend it was an Edinburgh orienteering club who were in Pitlochry taking part in the JK Event, a huge international event set at Loch Tummel this year. Iain set up the conference room so they could get on their computers, relax & catch up with family & news in the evening. Here are some comments from their stay here: " comfortable, convenient, central & well situated, nice & warm, excellent food, flexible service, helpful staff, friendly welcome, a "home from home" base ideal for a group such as ours." So - I think they liked it then. UFM came the following weekend, with a full house of residential guests expanding to 80 with day vistors for their conference. It was busy but good to chat to people who worked all over the world - gave Iain a chance to use his Portuguese, much to people's surprise. Herald's trust came last week and particulalry enjoyed the catering from a local cafe Iain recommended -  Hey,I thought they were supposed to be self-catering! Ah well, it's an easy option & as we weren't available to cater last weekend, it was a good compromise.

Unfortunately the dishwasher broke and we've now been told, after waiting 2 weeks for the pleasure, that we need a new one. After spending a wee while looking Glynnis found a second hand one, but far away. Now she's seeing whether it will be cost effective to get it brought up here or not. But then, full price it would cost about three & a half thousand to replace, so there's always going to be that dilemma: Can we spare the cash up front for new short term? Is second hand going to be value for money long term? Meanwhile our student weekend helpers, scorning rubber gloves, ended up with very pruny hands.