Tues 24th Feb 2015

We’ve just said goodbye to a huge youth group from the Church of the Nazarene. Having made it a regional weekend away rather than a local, they ended up with over 70 youngsters at the last minute. They’d already booked the youth hostel, but needed more room. Atholl Centre to the rescue. Fortunately we had room from Sat night, the deacons retreat from Central, Dundee,  being only a 24 hour event, so not only could we provide beds for the boys (girls at the Youth hostel), but they were able to eat here all together and have their teaching sessions here and in the church. So they went sledging all day Saturday & turned up wet but high for their meal & evening session (A photo of the pile of sledges is on our Facebook page. Do take a peek to keep up with our news). This was the third youth group to stay this month and we had Baptist ministers and folks in the flat too so it’s been a busy month.

Our ground floor bedrooms are now finished (bar snagging) and are looking good. It was a huge rush at the last minute with several trades all working at the same time. Mistakes were bound to happen - like the shower parts going in the skip :& having to be rescued by eagle eyed David our project supervisor & the carpet layers trying to lay carpet when there was still wet paint on the skirting boards, but they were finished for when we needed them, so God answered our prayers. Thanks for praying. The asbestos removal went smoothly and some things which we feared were dangerous asbestos turned out to be ok and didn't need to be removed, which saved us some money as we didn't have to replace whole walls, just pipe boxes in the end. There was also a bit of a saga with the double glazing as we're in a listed area, but we were allowed to put in high quality PVCu double glazing in the end, so that was another answer to prayer. You’re welcome to come for a tour to see what’s been achieved. God has really blessed us.

 For fundraising we’re now focusing on the new conference room, which, being accessible and having a loop will be a great help to our community groups as well as allowing us to generate extra income to ensure our sustainability. During the week we had our first ever auction. Thanks to everyone who donated items. A disappointing 10 people turned up and we were worried it would be a flop, but God blessed us with a total of £370 from commissions and sales on the day. One person commissioned a painting and just as we were wondering how to get it to her in Dundee she discovered one of her friends would be at the Central Deacons retreat, so it all worked out perfectly. There’s still quite a number of objects left over so we plan to try Ebay. We’re also planning our usual Thrift shop for April so keep an eye out for posters. The new room is going to cost over 100K so please keep on praying.

People have responded really well to the concept of a community garden here and are full of ideas as to how we could use it to bring people together and promote healthy living. However the actual development is coming along more slowly than we would like, so we’re still at the planning stage but a new volunteer, Liz, is going to be attending a Trellis (therapeutic gardening network) conference in March in Perth on our behalf to learn how to help people use it effectively. Please pray for real progress in March as we have a funding deadline at the end of the month. We've also got more funding requests in for this project, so please pray that we have the amount we need to complete the garden, including the sensory area.

We'll be open for B&B in the first 2 weeks of April (5th - 16th), so do get in touch if you fancy an Easter break in Pitlochry.

 Mon 2nd Feb 2015

 Happy New Year! And this is February too - are you allowed to still say it ? So here's what's been happening since I last wrote...

Snow & high winds  in January meant a few community groups had to cancel. We also were asked to be on stand-by as an emergency Centre, but in the event even though there were people stuck at the snow gates, due to lack of communication we weren’t used that night. However we were thanked for being available and since then many more local groups have been checking they can use us in an emergency as well, including the local old folks home. 

Community Groups are back in full swing now.  Eve is multi-tasking as before with adult literacy & English as a Foreign Language, WA lunch is back to high numbers and, as well as the other regulars, a new support group for mental health started up, so the calendar is filling up.

Although the chalet & the apartment have been open for use, with the refurbishment we thought we’d not really have any residential guests in January after being as full as possible with folk celebrating the New Year (with even a wee family ceilidh in the dining room). However local friend Dee booked her family in for her son's funeral and she ended up staying too so they could see as much of each other as possible . Their stay was further extended by the weather, so Dee had her family round her for a good long time and we were glad we could support her at this sad time. We’ve also been able to help a couple from another church with accommodation on their way to another funeral, so it’s good to see how God is using us to support others in difficult times.

The asbestos removal folk came as planned and declared the area clean and so the builders are back and working as fast as they can. It will be finished behind schedule, but with so many groups coming this month, please pray it will be no more than a week late.i.e. that they'll finish by the end of this week. - so far it looks possible! Meanwhile our first residential training group of the year has arrived, fitting into the upstairs bedrooms the flat and the chalet. First comment of the day," I'm in the same room as before, but there's a much better lavvy. You're no moving me." As this is a minister's conference the leader replied, "I thought they were on the road to sanctification" to which someone else quipped - "Well we're going in the right direction - cleanliness is next to Godliness"

As for the garden – it’s been good to hear ideas & promises of support from quite a few folk. We’re getting help from a garden designer from Trellis (therapeutic gardening network), so it’s looking promising and had our first planning meeting a couple of weeks ago. Do ask if you’d like to be involved.

Please pray too for the Trustees meeting tomorrow as they discuss the nest stage of developments - timings and strategies for the new accessible conference room. 

We’re having an auction on Wed 18th Feb at 2pm (viewing Tues 17th 2-6pm) to continue to raise funds for the dining room to be extended, giving us a ground floor conference room with AV and loop. This is a departure from our usual thrift shop as we're focusing on quality items and hoping for generous offers. If you have anything you wish to donate for the auction we’ll take goods from the Monday. We’re pleased to announce we received another £5,000 towards the new conference room in January, but we still have a fair way to go. Do come along and help us to create a space which should prove really useful for our community groups amongst others. If afternoons don't suit you and you'd like to view in the evening and put in a secret bid, do let us know and we'll make arrangements for you.