Tuesday 12th March 2013
Welcome to our new blogspot:) We're  in the throes of  improving our website after receiving a grant from Perth & Kinross Social Enterprise Fund to have our website professionally designed. Thanks Perth & Kinross. So now we have a new location for our blog - hope you like it.
Although it's still just the start of the year we have been very busy these past 6 weeks.  Every weekend we have had a residential group which is excellent news. 4 out of the 6 have been student/youth weekends coming on a self-catering basis. They've been glad of the freedom to do their own thing and have appreciated the cheaper rates that self-catering offers. We also had a church family weekend and a deacon's retreat. During the week the flat has come in useful for workmen working on a local build. "We enjoy it so much better than digs." they said as they too talked about the benefits of being free to do their own thing. For the past 2 days we have had  a residential  mountain leadership course. They spend 2 days on the hills but coming back each evening and then another 2 days camping out, returning at the end of the week for showers and debrief.  As our boiler is now too efficient to heat up the boiler room for drying, one of the spare bedrooms was turned into a drying room with extra heaters & it worked a treat!
Community use has been getting busier - the past 2 days we have had 4 different community groups on the same day, so it makes for a bit of juggling, especially with a residential group in at the same time. So the Centre has been busy with conversation classes, adult literacy, an art class, Amnesty International, song & drama club,disability advice drop in, community forum and a prayer meeting just over the past 2 days. It's good to see so many people here.
Behind the scenes we've been busy with development work. There's been a lot of support from the Social Enterprise sector so as well as the grant to make a new website we've been awarded expertise to work on some market research for the Centre. This will help us to know what you want and need from us, so if you get a survey over the next couple of weeks, please fill it in, and if you don't and would like one, please let us know. We've also signed up for a business mentoring  programme through Perth Chamber of Commerce and we hope that will help us to fill in the gaps in our knowledge of how to run a business.   
The trustees have been spending a lot of time trying to take the new staff bedsit forward and a building warrant has been applied for now that the design has been finalised. We managed to get some cheap furniture through a hotel  refurbishment sale and are sewing curtains at the moment. The new office has been functioning for a few weeks now and we are getting used to the set up. It's a huge advantage to be more visible to our guests (instead of hidden away in a back room) and people comment we look like a real office now - not sure how to take that ;).
A few fundraising events are coming up soon. On the 27th March we'll be holding a Co-op bag pack in Pitlochry. Volunteers wanted to pack shopping. On the 30th March local artists will be having an Easter Craft Fair here and we'll be doing teas & coffees to raise money, so please come along and have a browse.
From the 8th - 12th April we'll be having a Thrift shop in the dining room. We also hope to have a plant stall there. Any donations welcome. Richard Underwood is cycling in Etape again this year  so please sponsor him. He has a spot on Justgiving. Go to  http://www.justgiving.com/Richard-Underwood2 to sponsor. Thank you for your support.