28th September, 2012

So it's time for another blog. Bravehearts (young adults with heart disorders) arrive today for the weekend.The sun may  not be shining (yet) but we hope they'll have a relaxing and fulfilling stay nevertheless.  It's a chance to get together, share & learn from experiences & have fun together in an atmosphere of acceptance & understanding.  We've just waved goodbye to 6 Circles, a mixed group of disabled & disadvantaged folks rebuilding their lives. Again acceptance & a home from home atmosphere are important to them & it was great to see so many smiling faces. People wonder: what's the point of group holidays - isn't it just a bit of a jolly? What most people don't realise is that group holidays are valuable because they are a focal point for nurture and development of relationships and can be a transforming influence in people's lives. Going solo ( a nurture group for single, divorced & widowed people)and the ME Holiday (self explanatory), who  also came this month,  find great encouragement in their holidays & always look forward to next year.
We  were enriched musically this month by visits from Irish Youth Pipe band taking part in Pitlochry Highland Games - great to hear them practice here - and the African Children's choir ( yes, the same organisation who sang to the Queen for her Jubilee) who came for a rest week after arriving from the States & before going on tour. They sang their thanks and a blessing on us as they left - quite an emotional experience.They wrote," Thank you kindly for all the ways you have cared for us this past week and helped us to get on our feet. Your flexibility, generosity and good pleasure have been a gift! The food was delicious and the rooms were comfortable and warm. It has been a pleasure getting to know you." Check out their tour schedule here.

Superb Choice (an offshoot of SU holidays for adults) came for the day last Saturday. It meant catering for 80, something we haven't done for a while, but it all came together well as our team of young weekend helpers (usually only there in ones or twos) came in numbers and together with Nel's expert cooking  successfully served a wonderful lunch and evening meal.It was great to see them all sporting our new Atholl Centre T-shirts & looking very professional :)

 Achievements - a successful fire inspection, a profitable conference learning about business practices, a post ex-project visit from LEADER who part funded our wood pellet boiler and solar panels - very impressed that we're not only benefiting from the eco heating, but building our eco profile through double glazing as well,  & the figures for the business plan completed at last (following brief crash course in Excel).
Coming soon - another Thrift Shop in the first week of the October holidays (8th - 12th). Please bring your bric-a brac, old clothes and books for sale. We can also recycle mobile phones (with charger & instructions), empty brand name print cartridges (except Epson) and CDs & DVDs (in original boxes with artwork intact). Pitlochry Arts & Crafts sale on at the Centre  from 14th - 26th Oct and we are still available for B&B  - Oct 8th - 11th, 15th, 22nd- 24th, 29th & 30th.   £25.75 pp ( child discounts available).This is during the Pitlochry autumn festival which includes The Enchanted Forest (son et lumiere at Faskally) 5th - 27th Oct and Perthshire Amber (Scottish Traditional & contemporary music festival) 26th Oct - 3rd Nov -  so well worth a visit.
PS The sun just came out - Welcome Bravehearts:D

7th September, 2012

Apologies for writing the August blog in September. How time flies!  August has been a busy month with many day groups starting again after the summer, the summer craft fair, the thrift shop and 2 full weeks (midweek and weekends) of residential bookings. The last week was lighter allowing us some much needed time off and now it's back into the fray for another 2 weeks solid of one booking after another.

The Craft Fair went well (possibly due to people looking for things to do to escape the rain) and there was a huge variety of crafts and paintings to browse and buy. However B&B during that period was slow, so it made a lovely change to have the Waddington Street Centre stay for a week. This was a group of adults with mild learning disabilities from Durham - it was their first time here- and they loved it. Then we had Perthshire Youth Brass Band for a weekend away. What an amazing rich sound they made as they practiced!  Unexpected guests were a Christian performing arts group called Heartbridge from Youth with a Mission. Hosted by Pitlochry Baptist Church they've been staying in the Centre whenever there's been space for the last 3 & a half weeks - they just left this morning. As well as a performance of the Prodigal Son in the Town Hall they spent a lot of time at all the local schools performing and taking workshops in hula, street dance, flamenco and Korean drumming.

The thrift shop was a great success, raising about £1,400 for the Centre. One friend commented "It gives so many people so much pleasure - those who give are motivated to have a good clear out, those who buy get something to brighten their day and those who man the stalls (some of whom were elderly & disabled) get a chance to do something of  real value." So a heartfelt thankyou to everyone who helped. We also raised money for 2 other charities who gave us goods to sell on their behalf, so it was good to share.

We've recently launched publicity for our new residential Creative Holidays due to start this autumn. With watercolour painting, choral music and festive crafts there's a great choice of activities to brighten up your autumn and  3 brilliant opportunities to meet new people and make new friends. Click here to read all about it.

As the thrift shop did so well the fundraising dinner was postponed, but will still happen at some point. The business plan has gone through rigorous checks and just needs some final touches to the financial pages to be ready for use. We hope to begin applying to Trusts in October. Last week we also had a visit from a business adviser who is willing to visit regularly to advise us, which is great news. So the wheels are turning behind the scenes. Thank you for your prayers.