Tues 26th April 2016

April's Thrift shop
A big thank you to everyone who helped out at our 2 weeks of Thrift Shop – first week for the Atholl Centre conference room appeal which made £800 & 2nd for the refugees (Red Cross & MSF) which made £600. The leftover goods went direct to the local Red Cross shop at the end which will surely raise the refugee total substantially as the room was choc-a-bloc with goods. It is brilliant to have so much support from our local church & community both in donating goods to sell and manning the thrift shop.

Garden toys in the play area
The children’s area of the community garden is now open for use. The sand pit is up and garden toys are in the toy store. This area is particularly suitable for younger children and we hope to see it well used by kids from church & Centre alike, but it’s snowing again! We have a group called Plus Perth (therapeutic gardening for mental health) interested in helping us develop our garden and getting more volunteers involved, so we're looking forward to seeing the garden filled with busy people.

The new sandpit

Red cord card in our disabled loos
This month has been busy with conferences and breaks covering all our bases, starting with a ladies conference, then UFM missionary society, East Kilbride Girls brigade, Persona Counselling here now and finally the Deaf Christian Fellowship to come next week. I’m sure the Deaf Fellowship will be impressed with our new deaf alarms. As well as being linked in to our fire system these flashing & vibrating alarms can also be used as alarm clocks.  We’re also pleased to have received a bunch of review cards and red cord cards from Euan’s Guide, a guide to accessible venues set up in 2014 by inspired individual Euan Macdonald from Edinburgh who was diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease in 2013. His disabled access review website & smartphone app is really successful & giving people with disabilities the confidence to move beyond their comfort zone and visit new places.
The new deaf alarms

Nel laden with groceries
Over 90 people attended the UFM weekend conference. All the meetings were here, our accommodation was full and others stayed at local B&Bs or just came for the day. So it was a busy but happy time & had a great buzz. We've needed to replace the vinyl in 3 of our new en-suites already as there have been issues with the quality & then a leak was found when the vinyl was taken up, so it was a huge rush to get it all finished before the Girls Brigade arrived. They wrote "All the girls and leaders of the 7th East Kilbride Girls' Brigade wish to say a big thank you to Iain and his staff for another fab weekend. They looked after us well and the food was great too." It’s great to have Nel our cook back with us after a spell down south & she’s come back with lots of new cooking inspiration too. Sunday saw an amazing new veggie option with lentils, peanuts & coriander which smelled delicious.

David K. our electrical volunteer has been working hard to improve the coverage of our wifi, so trust it to be when the counselling course need internet connection that we were still having problems.Praise God Angela & Richard fixed it yesterday afternoon. Just in time. Thanks guys:)

The food bank continues to be needed too. WA soup lunch has its last meeting at the end of April and then on the first Friday of May there will be a taster session for local ready meals for the elderly. If you’re local feel free come along and try them out.

Leaving the best till last, we have really good news. We’ve just heard we now have enough funding to go ahead with the extension to the dining room to make the new accessible conference room with AV & deaf loop on our ground floor. We have still to set a date for work to begin, but hope it will be no later than June. Thank you for all your prayers. God is good. Now you can pray for the architect’s team and builders as they plan for the start of work.

 May is set to be another busy month. Celia from France will be arriving in mid May for a 6 week internship. Please say hello & make her feel welcome. As well as praying for God’s blessing on our community groups and those who visit us for rest & training, please pray for strength for staff over a very busy period, especially with the build coming up.  

Happy Easter!
Hope you had a great Easter weekend. On Easter day we celebrate that Jesus overcame death - the final frontier - so Easter is a celebration of new life.and new hope. Pitlochry churches celebrated Good Friday with an early morning meditation walk carrying a cross round the town and Easter day with a joint garden communion as well as Easter services in each church. 
Do you like our Easter garden?
Just like the Alps, Above Loch Erichty
There were lots of Easter egg hunts for locals and visitors alike and local restaurants were crammed with family get togethers and hotels & B&B with visitors. We had a few ourselves. However the school Easter holidays are still to come & just about to begin. The good news is the Atholl Centre is open for B&B for the first 2 weeks of April so we can share our amazing scenery and green space with you. Did you know that scientists now recognise there are tangible health benefits from experiencing nature? Here are some pics taken on a lovely walk last week on a beautiful blue sky day not far away at Loch Erichty. Why not book now & enjoy a breath of fresh air at the Atholl Centre.
A beautiful view of the loch
10th anniversary cake
We've been making plans to make the most of the  Atholl Centre community garden too. Anne went to a Trellis conference (starring Jim McCall of the Beechgrove garden) who encourage & support therapeutic gardening. She picked up quite a few contacts & ideas to make sure our garden is used to give our local community hope & delight. A mental health charity called PLUS Perth has shown an interest in helping us take things forward.

Jim McCall plants a tree to celebrate Trellis' 10th anniversary
We've had a few groups to stay this month too. Prestonpans & Lesmahagow Youth Groups both had a fantastic time self-catering and enjoying the great outdoors. A group of elderly Chinese carers came from Edinburgh for a mid week holiday too. Their trips included a Highland Safari and a visit to Blair Castle. They were so happy to be here and touched to be greeted in their own language (We learned  a few words in China at our son's wedding). Baptist minister's wives have just arrived, so it's all go. Just in time to join in with the Welcome All soup lunch. I was hearing recently this lunch club has over 80 locals on their books, so it's brilliant to see a community group using the Centre so well.

We're also waiting with bated breath for the results of recent funding applications. It's looking very hopeful the ground floor conference room will get off the ground soon - possibly even in May - and these final requests will help us implement the plans in full so please pray for success. We continue to fund raise in the community and we have a Thrift shop running for 2 weeks (4th - 14th April) The first week is to fundraise for the conference room - this is the last push to make it happen - and the second is to help support refugees living in desperate conditions through the Red Cross and Medecins Sans Frontieres. So please bring us your spare stuff (toys, bric a brac, CDs etc) and remember to come & see if there's anything you'd like to buy too.