Mon 19th Oct
Thank you to everyone who gave during our crowdfunding campaign. In the last week with additions to both on-line and off-line donations we jumped from  £2,330 to £6,638. That is amazing. And even better, we discovered that when this was added to the donations to our building fund since April this year, we have raised over £10,000 through private giving. That is incredible. What brilliant supporters we have & what a brilliant God. This means that aiming for our conference room target of £110,000 to start building we have now raised £89,800. We're well on our way, but £20,200 still to go, so please keep on praying. PS. Wow - another £150 arrived this morning! Thank you so much.

This week has been the second of 3 weeks of the Atholl Gallery craft fair which is held twice a year at the Centre. Local artists & crafters use this opportunity to sell their hand-made goods, with 20%  of their profits going to charity each time. It's a great encouragement to local folk whether their crafts are a hobby and people buying their work gives them pleasure & confidence or part of their small business giving them a new shop window and it's good to see people working together for mutual benefit. Our latest video goes behind the scenes at the Gallery & The Rotary Young Artist of the Year Competition as the Atholl Centre promotes creativity in our community.

Also this week we've been busy with B&B as Enchanted Forest gets into it's stride.This year's show is called Flux - yet more fascinating creations in light & sound to delight audiences. The story telling Yurt is there again & a graceful acrobat dances in the air above the loch.They're anticipating 55,000 visitors this year and it fairly extends the "season" in Pitlochry. 

The fact that as well as residential groups & community groups we do seasonal B&B helps us play a part in the town's tourist industry - Pitlochry's main economic identity. Participating in Pitlochry Partnership we network in our local business community where it's good to help each other out. Did you know 2 local coffee shops offered vouchers for coffee & cake to add to our crowdfunding campaign? And when a primary school ski trip threatened to go belly up last year due to the snow gates being closed it was the local fish & chip shop who knocked on our door for help. Being in a tourist area also means when you come to visit for your conference or holiday as well as being surrounded by beautiful countryside you're never stuck for something to do. So hope you can come & see us sometime.
We’ve just been taking a trip down memory lane, looking at past Centre newsletters. It’s incredible to see how God has both used & blessed the Atholl Centre to His glory.
The letters start from June 2008 and have continued twice yearly since. You can read them for yourselves on our website. Just go to the “Support Us” heading & find newsletters in the drop down menu on the right hand side.
Developing our vision
In 1969 the Centre was founded with 3 charitable aims: (abridged version)
To promote Christian teaching & discipleship, especially amongst young people
To build up young people to serve in society
To serve the disabled & disadvantaged in society by bridging the gap

8 years ago when Iain  became manager his aim was to stay true to the original aims of the Centre with one difference – In  the first & second aims, instead of being mainly for young people, education & training leading to spiritual growth & good citizenship  was going to be for all ages.
To make these easier to grasp we created a vision statement (also in “support us”), which distilled these aims into 3 areas: training, bridge-building & refreshing.

Training - Serving the church – both local & national
Throughout these years Pitlochry Baptist Church has enjoyed the Centre’s facilities having church lunches, fundraising events & packing shoeboxes for Blysthwood in the dining room.  The children & young people regularly use Centre rooms on Sunday mornings throughout the year and the WA soup lunch has progressed from fortnightly to weekly meetings from Oct – Easter. Mission Possible also meets here monthly.
The Baptist Union of Scotland has used the Centre regularly for Baptist Ministers’ training. May 2011 says a powerpoint presentation at the Baptist Assembly put us firmly back on the map, and use by Baptist Churches & support from Baptist Churches has grown since. We are also used by Christian groups of many other denominations, for alpha groups, church family weekends, youth groups and leadership weekends and to support Christian social ministries. About 68% of our residential groups are run by Christians and 56% are some form of training
Training - Volunteering
As well as volunteers from our local church who encourage us immensely, we have had other local volunteers and a lot of foreign interns to help us in the summer, both through Baptist networks abroad and taking interns from our twin town of Confolens to help with their college courses.  Michal first came as a tourism intern, but we discovered he was a skilled video maker when he showed us videos he made for his church in Poland. He writes "
One of the better-known benefits of volunteering is the impact on the community. The Atholl Centre offers gardening, housekeeping, maintenance, office work but also general help around the place. We have volunteers of all ages, nationalities and abilities, helping out with the smallest tasks and making a real difference to their lives and the people they meet." I hope you enjoy this week’s short video on volunteering.
Bridge-building - serving our community
 This is one of the places God has led us – to the heart of our local community, supporting & encouraging in Christ’s name.  May 2010 comments on how busy we are with adult literacy, English as a second Language, U3A,  pain-management, disability support, Amnesty International & Madcaps – and we now have over 15 different community groups meeting regularly here. Our good reputation has spread through Perth & Kinross Council and Perth & Kinross Voluntary Services, so we are being recommended for community initiatives in Pitlochry (hosting new support groups for mental health, carers, bereaved folk & building a community garden as well as being the venue of choice for health & wellbeing events)

Iain with Angela from CAPS
We are also the official emergency Centre for Pitlochry with a generator point to use in the event of power failures or bad weather events and we are the local food bank, used by Christians Against Poverty debt counselling in Aberfeldy as well as referrals from citizens advice & social work. As we are known locally as the Baptist Centre, the positive impact we are having in our community is seen by the town as part of our local church’s outreach
Bridge-building - Supporting the disabled & disadvantaged nationally
43% of our residential groups are for the ill, the disabled or those in social need. The See Hear deaf Group & Children with Heart Disorders have been regular Centre users for many years and although we have been able to have a number of other groups in this category including asylum seekers, children’s home holidays, alcoholics anonymous & ex-convicts & drug users, it became clear that in order to grow this aspect of the Centre’s ministry our disabled facilities would have to be improved. The 40th anniversary project was born.

Praise God for the successful funding of our new disabled facilities, allowing us to build our service to disabled users. Deputy First Minister John Swinney, who opened them last June commented “The Atholl Centre is not just fulfilling its potential in its locality but reaching out to people from other localities, surprise guests & to people in need, which is at the core of the Christian mission.” (Spring 2014)  Iain & Anne were missionaries in Brazil for 3 years with the Baptist Missionary Society (BMS World Mission) working in church related social work and always had a heart for practical Christian love, believing strongly that healing the hurting is as strongly at the core of Christ’s ministry as teaching about the Kingdom of Heaven and that the 2 have to go hand in hand.

Here’s a quote from Autumn 2011: We accept people for who they are and where they are. We’re both for people who believe and those who don’t yet believe, people who are healthy and those who struggle with illness, people who are part of the crowd and those who are marginalised. We are open to everyone in the name of Christ. We hope they will in return respect us as “works in progress”, followers of Jesus and running a Christian centre.
In spring 2014 we wrote, “Praise God for His provision & this tangible confirmation of our work” The last section of our disabled improvements is the conference room, and although on-line crowdfunding has stuck at £330, off-line we are now just over £2,000, which is wonderful. 

find out more
Refreshing  - B&B & respite
As well as being a charity, the Atholl Baptist Centre Ltd was also set up as a Company ltd by Guarantee because it was recognised that from the start the Atholl Centre had to be sustainable and the practical way of doing that was for the vast majority of folks using the Centre to pay for their board & lodging and use of meeting rooms. 
The Centre has always supplemented income from groups with both donations and B&B in order to be there & be affordable for core users. But B&B isn’t just a “filler service”. “Holiday makers come here for B&B from all over the world and enthuse about the warm & friendly service and relaxed atmosphere. We promote a gentle Christian presence, supplementing our caring service with a Christian bookstall for people to browse, Bibles and leaflets inviting visitors to local churches. We are "always ready to give an answer to those who ask the reason for our hope” 1 Peter 3:15.” (May 2011)

There are God opportunities in conversations, or when different guests meet, like when an alcoholic was helped to turn his life round by us and one of our regular Christian guests, or when a family from a difficult background made friends with the kids from the African Children’s Choir & experienced mutual acceptance & respect when they came, or when German holiday makers were so impressed that a group of adults with learning difficulties were sharing their breakfast table as equals. Then there are the times when Atholl Centre comes to the rescue – Last year a school ski group stuck on the road when the snow gates were closed in January and a German scout group (who turned out to be Lutherans) flooded out of their campsite, the kids having got dangerously cold and wet, in August.

We’re excited that the new disabled bedrooms & chalet allow us to promote respite short-breaks & B&B, and our recent stall at the Kidz Scotland disabled living exhibition showed there is a lot of interest in what we have to offer. So it's onwards & upwards:)