Wed 25th June

Well the big news this month is that after interviewing 3 people shortlisted from 7 applicants from across the UK we now have our new Marketing Development Officer. Xander has just finished a degree in history and politics, and completing a Certificate in Management (with marketing as part of that course) and he comes with an impressive record of responsibility in the national student union and in the community council too. Xander is full of ideas and enthusiasm, but very capable with it, so we're very pleased to have such a good match with what we were looking for. Xander will also act as duty manager when Iain is on a day off so that we can be open all week and still have time off, which strikes me as a rather good arrangement and will save a lot of stress. Just to remind you we received 9 months salary for a Marketing Development Officer as part of our Enterprise Ready Award and this is why we have been able to employ Xander this month and until at least March next year. Meanwhile we are applying for more funding to extend his employment for another 9 months to a year and we've already had a phone interview about one of those requests, so we're hopeful.

We heard we've been shortlisted for the Santander Social Enterprise Award, so please pray for success there and we had a good interview with the Baptist Building Fund who meet on the 9th July to make their final decision. This is as we continue to fundraise to make the rest of the project happen. The conference room extension to the dining room is next on our list and then making all the upstairs en-suite. We're working towards building warrant for these next bits now.

Meanwhile the chalet has finally reached the con struction stage (i.e.we're finally seeing the first new walls) after a couple of weeks of de struction or "downtakings" where first all the fittings and fixtures were removed and then most of the walls due to be changed were knocked down or broken through. It's exciting to see the new rooms taking shape and we've even got to the stage of discussing doors and skirting boards:) ... and how much of a "fall" ( gentle slope) we need to get the wet rooms to drain properly and what needs to be done to "sweeten" slight level changes (make a smooth transition). At the end of all this the chalet will be full of "sweetness" & light!  Please look at our facebook to see the photos.

And through all this we're still open for business and busy with guests. We've had a combination of groups and B&B this month, starting with the 2nd week of the African Children's Choir leaving us on Friday 6th with lots of hugs and songs to travel to London to make their recording, then a small group from Bellevue Chapel, followed by various B&B guests (including a 96 year old gentleman who was traveling on to Edinburgh to stay in a Youth Hostel after us! and a group of cyclists cycling to all the Olympic gold pillar boxes in the UK in aid of sport relief,  paralympics GB and Tree of Hope) and now we have the Abroath Town Mission lunch club holiday for the week. They're enjoying lots of sightseeing & day trips - Aberfeldy & Kenmore strolling along the banks of Loch Tay yesterday & Queens View today- the iconic Victorian  highland vista - as well as enjoying each other's company.

Community IT classes come to an end this week for the summer but English as a Second Language is just beginning to build up and will continue throughout the summer, especially as more people from other countries come to work during Pitlochry's tourist season. We had a good number of visitors to see the Young Artist of the Year Exhibition and every participant received a certificate this year as well as first and runners up prizes in various categories handed out at a prize giving on Saturday. Spend your prize money well guys:) Although Youth Club also stops for the summer  Positive Choices (disability support) and 4 Ways (mental health support) continue their vital support throughout the holiday period, so please support them in your prayers.  

                                                     2nd June 2014
May has been a busy month with residential groups in every weekend. It was great to have a full house with families of children with heart disorders and to see them enjoying themselves so much. The weather was brilliant so they got out for lots of walks as well as clay pigeon shooting and other activities. We welcomed old faces and new when the See Hear Conference for the Deaf came. People are now travelling to this conference from all over the UK - but then there are no regional accents in sign language.  Etape was incredibly busy as usual with over 5,000 participants again. The race was a great success as the weather stayed dry and the organising team were really happy with the support we provided. Do look at our facebook to see some photos of the event. The Centre was well used. Not only were we  race HQ, but all the motor marshalls slept here and physio massage took place throughout the weekend to help people prepare for & recover from the race. We ended May with the African Children's Choir. Here initially for a week it was extended to 2 to give them time to prepare for filming for Disney's new Peter Pan movie. Exciting stuff! So they're still with us and having  had a nice relaxing time last week with baking, hide & seek, movie night, lots of football and a mini concert for each other ( they wrote all the songs and sketches and choreographed the dances themselves)  it's back to practice this week. A young family staying with us for a mini break were invited to play football with them.One of the girls from the family made them each a wee friendship bracelet to say thank you. So lovely - we were all touched by these kindnesses.
On the community side the new set of computer classes is going well and English as a Second Language has come back, so we’re really pleased this provision is returning to Pitlochry.  Eve from P&K community learning is taking both classes as well as adult literacy, so she has her work cut out. Art classes finished this month for the summer and all agree that Dee has done a fantastic job. Now we’re looking  forward to next month’s Young Artist of the Year exhibition. Don't forget to come and see the amazing talent of our local young people. Open from the 16th - 21st June.

Renovation of the Chalet roof has been completed ahead of time and attention has turned to the drains. It took some real detective work to sort out where all the new drains should go so we can take the capacity of the new en-suites when they are built, and they had to call in the mini digger when the ground proved too rocky to dig by hand, but we got there in the end. Work starts on the 9th of June on the inside of the Chalet to make it into a disabled friendly self-catering apartment with 3 disabled en-suite bedrooms ( 1 wheelchair bathroom and 2 ambulant disabled) and a disability adapted kitchen/diner.

After the successful funding of the chalet renovation we hoped and prayed more would come in for the conference room. We’re pleased to report that another £5,000 came in from the Robert Barr Charitable Trust last week. We have also been pleased to receive quite a few private donations. More applications for that project have been made this month. Please pray they are successful. We've a visit from the Robertson Trust and the Baptist Building Fund this month re funding, so please pray for good visits. Last Friday Anne went to a social value lab in Edinburgh to help us prepare our feedback for the Enterprise Ready Fund. So the fundraising work doesn't just stop when the funding requests have been sent out, if they are successful there's a huge amount of monitoring to do for accountability purposes - so if we ask you to take part in a survey when you come (or when you've been) we' d really appreciate your help in taking the time to fill it in.

Last month the new post of marketing development officer was advertised (for which we got 9 months funding from the ERF) and this week we hold the interviews. Please pray we choose well.

It's been a time of change for our Trustees. Maureen Russell moves on from being a Trustee at the Centre to become Chairperson of BMS World Mission - a huge challenge. Norman McNeish who's been our treasurer since we re-opened in 2007 has retired due to ill health. We thanked them for their faithful service at the last Council of Management with a wee farewell presentation and wish them both well for the future. Jonathan Innes, a chartered accountant, is our new interim Treasurer and Bill Slack,  a former General Secretary of the Baptist Union of Scotland, has also joined the council. Earlier this year Alastair Dixon from our local community, Derek Murray who used to work in a hospice and Richard Tuckley who is an IT expert came on board too, bringing our Board of Trustees up to 8 people. We hope as the board develops to be even fitter for the challenges of the next few years as we grow the Centre and its work.