Mon 30th May 2016
Life at the coal face
What an amazing month of sunshine we've had. Such a lovely change after snow in April! Suddenly nature has come to life and Pitlochry is looking gorgeous.
bluebells in May

Our first guests of the month were the See Hear Deaf Conference. It was a very special event as they were celebrating 43 years of meeting here at the Atholl Centre - one of our first ever groups! They reminisced about how the Centre had looked when they first came (and how some of them had looked as young people), the way Watson & Kathleen Moyes had first welcomed and encouraged them, and all the changes which had taken place since. They saw the first development of the Centre and were there before the main block was built and now they are seeing the new developments. This year was a turning point. The current leaders are retiring and as everyone is getting older they felt the present incarnation of See Hear had to come to an end. There were sad farewells at the door & promises to visit just for an ordinary holiday. Moves are afoot to see about another deaf holiday or conference in the future with the hope of attracting a new generation. 
                                       Outgoing & past leaders cut the anniversary cake
We had perfect weather for this year's Etape Caledonis Cycle Challenge. 5,000 cyclists  riding through 81 miles of stunning Highland Perthshire scenery and bringing their friends & families to cheer them on. The town was hotching! As usual the start & finish was right outside and the Atholl Centre was at the heart of the event hosting the HQ, the motorcycle marshals looking after safety on the road and the massage team helping out with those tight muscles both before & after the race. Event commentary took place in the carpark and the church joined in by handing out free tea &
cake to competitors & their families at the church gate.
 raising money for cancer care
  church folk welcome the cyclists
coming up to the finish line
Scottish Kids with Heart Disorders also had a sunny weekend. The Centre was full with 50 guests: 25 adults and 25 children (7 of whom stayed in their caravan at Faskally ). The kids enjoyed our new play area and the new tipi was set up as a wee den in the dining room for them.  They said, "We had great fun, great company and great weather. We managed to cycle, swim and put, along with a visit to the new park and the caravan. The children even had fun making arts and crafts and playing games while the adults chatted and played some games upstairs.Thank you to all who came and made the weekend relaxing, joyful and special for all who attended." They gave us a lovely thankyou card saying how great the food was and how they had had brilliant time in Pitlochry yet again.
                                     SACHAD families pose for a photo at the new park
                                                Playing games in the dining room

Lodging house mission for the homeless thoroughly enjoyed their respite week and then it was an Autism support group from Edinburgh here for  the first time on the following weekend. We've also had a few B&B and self-catering apartment guests including folks walking the Rob Roy Way, so it's been a busy month.

We're glad to say Celia, our French intern arrived safely & is settling in to the Centre well, She says Hi. Please make her welcome when you see her.

Breaking new ground
We had our first conference room site meeting this month. It's so exciting - it's really happening! We took the opportunity at the Retired Baptist Minister's away day to capture a historic moment as Watson Moyes, founder of the Atholl Centre, Alan Berry, Chairman of the Trustees and Iain Walker (Director) poured over the plans. So we're aiming for work starting on Mon 13th June (please pray for no more delays - one of our funders is having IT problems and we can't start without them). We're trying to keep disruption to a minimum, so we're happy to say the dining room will still be in use for most of the build,
                                       Watson, Alan & Iain - from the past to the future

The garden is growing. As well as getting a tipi for the children's play area we are please to say that PLUS Pitlochry (People Like US mental health support) have started planting up our raised beds and will be meeting at the Centre twice a week to chat & to garden. Anne attended an It's your Neighbourhood event in Stirling to talk about our garden as part of training new assessors. They loved our video & wish us well for our hopes for growth. It was good to hear about other gardening projects too. She also went to see a project called Happy n Healthy in Rutherglen through our local Social Enterprise Network - it's so good to hear other people's experiences and to learn from them.
I'll leave you with our garden video from last year. Enjoy.

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