Tues 6th October 2014

Autumn is making its presence felt now and our focus for the Centre changes too, with community groups starting up again for the winter. WA lunch club got off to a good start last Friday and currently we're in the middle of Wellbeing week, a new initiative from Perth & Kinross  which coincides with Mental Health Week in the UK and World Mental Health Day to provide an inclusive focus on living active and healthy lives in our communities. The Atholl Centre has been the venue for events in Pitlochry and yesterday we had art taster sessions and today is a community marketplace showcasing different organisations who are here to help. PKAVS have brought along "Depressed cakes" - dark on the outside, but with a splash of colour inside - to show that how we look may not be how we feel, that even when there is darkness in our life, there is always some colour to be found.

The Community Challenge Fund launched at the beginning of this year has led to a few new initiatives, some of which will be meeting in the Centre in the future. Leila Maine, Herbalist will be starting workshops - in November it will be make your own  hand & face creams, Isobel Wilson will be starting R&R relaxation sessions and Dee Bowman is setting up a bereavement group. Some great new initiatives:) WA lunch club is also planning to expand into after lunch activities to extend the benefit folks receive from meeting up together.

Our residential groups are changing too, from B&B vistors (from all over the world) to groups (mainly from Scotland). Michael, our Polish intern, left a couple of weeks ago after a very encouraging summer. He really enjoyed his time here and the new friendships he made and after a short holiday with Wilma & David C. in Northern Ireland he left strict instructions to come & see him in Poland.

 After the hectic challenge of full on B&B, it's a chance for us as a team to regroup & plan the next stage, making sure we make full use of our new resources to grow our reach. Xander has started a marketing course which will be practically one to one advice to help him do his job here at the Centre and yesterday Ian Black came to share his Publicity on a Shoestring presentation, helping us to focus on how we can best reach and help new people. The promotional video wee Ewan made in the summer finally made its way onto Youtube. You can see it on our facebook page or go straight to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AE_u5RLM12A  Please tell us what you think

 The chalet is getting there, although far more slowly than we had hoped. I've learned a new word "Snagging", which means all the wee things which have been overlooked or are not quite right, and there has been a list which is slowly being worked through. While the en-suite bedrooms have been fit for use, the living area & kitchen have been held back with various snagging issues. The living area carpet will finally go down on Friday and the curtains should be ready soon too. We're hoping to have an official opening for the Chalet in November, so please keep an eye out for that on Facebook. Xander & Wilma spent a day in Edinburgh at the Kidz Scotland Exhibition for disabled children to start advertising the Chalet.With its disabled en-suites & kitchen the chalet has huge potential to make respite and family holidays easier and more inclusive for disabled folks. Please pray for word to spread.

Meanwhile we just heard that building warrant has been granted for the next stage of the building renovations and the new conference room will go out to tender in the next couple of weeks. This really is a step of faith as we have still quite a large funding gap to fill to have enough money to start the actual build. There are lots of funding requests out which haven't been replied to yet. Please pray  the funding will come through in time. If we haven't got enough before the end of this year we lose some of what we've already been promised, so there is a sense of urgency to reach the £110,000 needed for the new conference room. Any help from you guys would be appreciated. Why not have a coffee morning for us, or do a sponsored run?

Alastair & David have been working  hard to make our entrance beautiful with plants & flowers & were rewarded with a Silver Award last week from Pitlochry in Bloom. Congratulations guys! Plans are afoot for a sensory garden to be created next year. So watch this space...