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Sunday, 16 December 2012

Community Visit 2013 ...

Living in the community!

 Anne Shaw and Anthony Kramers have begun making plans for the next Community Visit which will take place on Monday 28th January 2013 - Friday 1st February 2013. 

A lot of community members will remember that last Community Visit which took place early this year when Anthony and Louise Redwood (of Edinburgh) came to meet with us all however as ever, things have moved on during this very busy year so they will be visiting us all again to see how community life is going. The purpose of the community visit is to listen, reflect and discern with you what you are living today across the community.

While here they will be inviting a range of groups to meet them such as the Listening group, Assistants, Community Council and Committee etc but they will also keep times available to see people who wish to individually. If you wish to arrange a meeting please get in touch with Anne who can see what times are available.

 During the community visit their will also be a Community Gathering on Thursday 31st January which will be a lovely event to look forward to. There will be more details to follow in January 2013.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

The Beginning of Advent

The Community's brilliant handmade wreaths!
The Community came together on Thursday 28th November in Braerannoch to celebrate with each other the beginning of Advent which would be taking place that Sunday. Many of us attended including the Chair of the L'Arche UK Board, Kathleen O'Gorman who was visiting our community for a few days that week. It was wonderful to have Kathleen around to experience one of our informal gatherings which she seemed to really enjoy.
The Faith Life Group organised the Advent activity which centres  around an Advent Calendar and a Nativity Scene this year. Beautifully made by Holly, Erika, Lisa, Joseph and Hilary the Advent Calender pockets contain small verses of the Bible which matches the theme of each week which are
Hope, Peace, Joy and Love!
Along with the small verse there is a picture which each day is coloured in and stuck onto the the Nativity Scene so that by the end of Advent a lovely full picture of the Nativity Scene will be completed after the help of those who opened each pocket daily.
The wonderful Advent Calendars
The Nativity Scene slowly building up!

During the gathering we discussed what Advents means to us and a representative from each house and one from The Workshops lit the first candle on their Advent wreaths which all looked amazing for the occasion as they were all made by the core members and assistants which was a great touch!
The Advent Gathering
After joining hands and saying Our Lord's Prayer together Amy and Holly went round the group to let everyone choose their Advent Friend. For those who may not be familiar with this term - an Advent Friend is a person who wants to be a secret sign of God's love and presence to someone else in The Community. This means that to be an Advent Friend you should be prepared to pray and give gifts to the person you choose.
This year Amy prepared the Advent Friend pictures into Christmas Crackers where you needed to pull on each side to open it and reveal your friend. You can see one of them below which we really fun and exciting for all!
An example of the Advent Friend Crackers.

Our Christmas Card ...

Each year we use the artistic talents of our core/ day members to design The Community's Christmas Card and in the past we have had many fantastic cards from the houses but this year was the turn of The Workshops. A competition was set up which had such an amazing response! - there was well more than 60 entries - some of which you can see below:
Absolutely beautiful - the runners up!
After the entries were narrowed down by Amy and Kirsty, Maria who is a valued volunteer, narrowed them down to a further five. It was then organised that the day members would choose their winner by having a show of hands at their Friday wages meeting. This is always a busy and fun filled meeting but even more so when deciding the winner.
After some close competition it was decided that Paul Hughes' happy and colourful Snowman was the well deserved winner. The cards have already been posted after Amy had some help labelling them from The Snug, so hopefully you will be seeing them coming through your letterbox soon.
The winning design!

Friday, 2 November 2012

The Workshops Halloween Party...

Tim and Maria outside The Workshops

The Workshop's Annual Halloween Party was an even bigger success this year with the standard of costumes at the highest yet! Organised by Amy and Kirsty, The Workshops were completely made over with help from Thomas and Simon who made the girls ideas and props come to life.


The Workshops open casket
The outside of The Workshops was decorated with big tombstones, an open casket, boarded up windows, big spider webs and even bigger spiders - all of which were put together on a small budget. Outside, Maria and her brother Tim also decorated her car fantastically with many decorations and a "VAMP 1" number plate. This was a lovely surprise for us all.

Derek Thain as Harry Potter

Syd and Connie in their costumes
Inside the theme continued with surprises lurking in every corner. Richard Sutherland was the Dj for the night and he kept everyone dancing. There was the usual games planned but Richard's Dj'ing was so good that everyone just wanted to dance.

Becky who wan "Sweetest Costume" as a Harry Potter character and Amy

Tracey as a fairy and Ionutsa who wan "Best Female Costume"

Ania and her daughter Ola who wan "Scariest Costume"
The Snug was transformed into a Spooky Cinema with a choice of Halloween themed DVD's and some of our very own candles which created a lovely quieter area for people to relax in when they needed a rest.

Jim, Innes and Fraser from Dickson's of Inverness came as guest judges

Fiona as a witch alongside Elaine and Audrey who were also guest judges!
Many of our friends outwith the community came to join in the party. Jim, Innes and Fraser from Dickson's of Inverness were judges along with Elaine and her friend Audrey - they had such hard decisions to make as the costumes very absolutely fantastic! The winners were:

Best Male Costume – Ross Hrycenko
Best Female Costume – Ionutsa McClelland
Worst Costume – Simon Meddle
Scariest Costume – Ola (Ania Skorupka’s daughter)
Sweetest Costume – Rebecca Harris
Most Creative Costume – Luise Peters
Best Pumpkin – The Workshops
Most Creative Pumpkin – Saorsa
Well done to all the winners. Here are some more photographs for you all to enjoy!

Elissa with her impressive spider costume and Paul as the Captain of the Titanic

Lovely Brea as our friendly witch

Our House Leaders - Miska and Petyo looking extremely scary!

Brendan as a scary Warewolf and Graham as a creepy Vampire

Susie as a lovely School Teacher

Ben as a Golden Snitch from Harry Potter

Leo and Jeong the MacTalla assistants in their costumes

Kerry and Meagan as Super Heroes

The Workshops winning "Best Pumpkin" and the award along with The Offices "drunk" pumpkin


Thursday, 25 October 2012

For Your Entertainment...

A stunning short video showing our unique candles -  put together by John Will (our lovely Handyman)

Friday, 19 October 2012

Love Is In The Air...

 Three Engagements in a row!
The past week has been one of much excitement for the community as they have had four community members get engaged - two of which were with each other!
Brendan Wyness who is part of the L'Arche Support Service was the first community member to make the committment to his girlfriend when he proposed last week.
Then last Saturday Michael Willis who was an assistant in Braerannoch proposed to Amy Kellow who does the admin in L'Arche's office.
And on the same day Clare Gardom who was also an assistant in Braerannoch got engaged to her boyfriend.
A massive congratulations to them all!

Our New Summer House Is Here...

The Candle Workshop with Innes and the new Summer House
After some incredible generousity from Dicksons and Keyline, the Hunter Landscaping men constructed our newly delivered Summer House for us free of charge. This has been a fantastic addition to the grounds of Braerannoch and now with the comfy seating added it is sure to be a well used area.
As you will see in the "Events" section of our blog, we will be having the grand opening with the boys from Dickson's on Friday 26th October, between 3-4pm. A plaque will be erected in their honour.

Please feel free to come along and see our new Summer House and join in the celebration over a cup of tea/ coffee and a few biscuits.
We can't thank you all enough!

L'Arche International Family Day...

The "Family Day" display at our Workshops
On October 6th, L'Arche celebrated "International Family Day" where they took the opportunity to send well wishes, prayers and greetings to other communities throughout the world.
As a community we have received many well wishes, stunning cards and beautiful photographs which has made many people realise how special and "big" L'Arche is - particularly those who didn't realise L'Arche has around 40 communities all over the world!
Those in The Workshops were also extremely excited to see two photographs from our friends in L'Arche Punla in the Philippines who we did a 'Tombola' fundraiser for in February 2010 which raised a total of £340.00!
As a community we would like to send our prayers and greeting to all L'Arche communities throughout the world - the assistants, core members, volunteers, friends and networks which keep them a safe, caring and homely place to live!
God bless.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

L'Arche Candles take pride of place ...

Our Red and White candles placed on the memorial
Candles made by our community were placed at the Anfield Memorial for the Hillsborough disaster which took place on the 15th April 1989 after 24,000 Liverpool football club supporters went to see the match and 96 of the fans never returned after being killed in the human crush and panic!  There was another 766 people injured in the disaster.
As one of Britian's biggest sporting disasters, The Candle Workshops takes particular pride in showing support to those who lost their lives and the familie's left to deal with the tradegy!

Birthday Celebrations for Amy...

Amy blowing out the birthday candles
Last week saw Amy, who has worked in the community for the past three years, celebrating her 21st birthday with friends and work colleagues' from The Workshops and around The Community.
Some of the lovely gifts from the community

The community organised many surprises to celebrate her big day including some flowers and £30 gift vouchers which is very generous! Amy was completely overwhelmed by the kind gestures and was touched to have been given flowers from MacTalla and also Saorsa/ Grianan where she has lived over a year ago but still keeps in regular contact with. Derek Thain also managed to sing "Happy Birthday" before anyone else which he was extremely excited about!  

All joining in the celebrations
In the afternoon, The Workshops put together a small party with a birthday cake and some music which was lovely. They also invited Derrick Anderson and Susie Stewart over to join the celebrations which was a lovely idea. Another big surprise was the £50 beauty gift vouchers which was a "whip around" from all the Office and Workshop Assistants.

Sponsors for Ryan...

Can you recognise this cheeky monkey?
Last week there was a lot of "monkey business" around The Workshops after Ryan Mulvey came in wearing his monkey "onesy" in order to get sponsors for the walk he was taking part in to raise money for SNAP.
The sponsored walk took place on Sunday (30th September 2012) and Ryan completed it with the group which raised a great sum of money.
As you can see Ryan is so proud of himself and so he should be... Here he is with his medal!

Friday, 21 September 2012

Anniversary for ...

Mark Mitchell!
Today (Friday 21st September) is Mark Mitchell's 25th Anniversary.
It is not a coincidence that Mark's anniversary is just a week after Jackie's. Plans for Mark and Jackie to move to Inverness from Edinburgh happened at the same time. The story of why they both chose to come to live in our community is that originally they were both going to be the founding members of L'Arche Edinburgh which had plans to open at that time. However, that was not to be as L'Arche Edinburgh only opened twenty-one years ago. Fate would have it that L'Arche Inverness had two vacancies, so Edinburgh's loss was our community's gain and we were blessed twenty-five years ago with the arrival of both Mark and Jackie.
Mark was welcomed to Braerannoch where he quickly settled and embraced community life with a passion, in all its ways! Mark especially enjoys the community gatherings and prayers as he has a deep spirituality which he is able to freely express in community life. He has always been supported to attend the Inverness Cathedral for Sunday Worship where after twenty-five years he has made many friends.
Mark lived in Braerannoch until he moved to MacTalla, where he and Jackie were the founding members. Over the eleven years living in MacTalla, Mark has welcomed many assistants and new core members. Mark used to attend the Corbett Centre as well as our Workshops. When the Corbett  Centre placement stopped Mark found many other activities to enjoy such as swimming  although he missed the Corbett Centre a lot.
Mark is celebrating his special anniversary tonight at home with those he lives with and a few special friends. He has chosen to have his favourite meal of HAGGIS, NEEPS and TATTIES!!  Yum!

Friday, 14 September 2012


Innes Lee who is a dear friend of The Candle Workshop and who we met through Dickson's of Inverness has done another fantastic round of fundraising.
Innes swam a mile in the terribly cold waters of Loch Ness and raised a fantastic £500 which he has extremely kindly donated to our community.
This money is going towards building a small summer house in the grounds of Braerannoch where core members, service users and assistants can go to relax and chat.
Words can not describe the kindness of Innes and the other Dickson's boys over the past year. Thank you so much Innes!


Friday, 7 September 2012

All the way from Texas....

Sandra, Tracey and Kenny at The Workshops
The Workshops had a lovely visit this week from Kenny and Sandra Innes who came all the way over from Houston, Texas and while in Scotland visited us at The Workshop.
Kenny who is orginally from Scotland but is now a Pastor in Texas, got in touch via e-mail after coming across our blog! The couple have been reading about the work of L'Arche and the books of  the L'Arche founder, Jean Vanier and felt that it would be nice to visit our community.
While here, Kirsty took them under her wing and showed them around both The Workshops and Braerannoch where we hope they "got a feel for" what our community is all about. As you can imagine everybody was excited to see new people visiting and Mark (alongside others) was quick to introduce himself to the kind pair!
We are all happy to have both Kenny and Sandra visit and hope that next time they visit Scotland, they will come back to see us again!

Jackie's Celebration ...

Jackie Dean is celebrating her 25th Anniversary in L'Arche Inverness! MacTalla has organised a quiet meal for her and those she lives with, along with a few special friends.
Jackie arrived in Inverness from Leith in Edinburgh twenty-five years ago and has made Inverness her home ever since. She was one of the founding members of An Cala, where she lived until she moved to MacTalla. Jackie along with Mark were the founding members of MacTalla and over the years have welcomed new core members and assistants.
Jackie has always come to The Workshops and along with Susie and Cait, she set-up The Candle Workshop. Jackie worked there five days per week for many years.
When the new Workshops opened she took advantage of the new "Snug" and enjoyed spending days doing different activities - art work, keep fit and puzzles! 
Currently, Jackie comes to The Workshops, four days per week and splits her time between The Snug and The Candles.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Graham's 40th Birthday...

This year Graham Gall will be celebrating his BIG 40th Birthday at MacTalla and has extended the invitation to all members of the community and close friends.
As you can see from Graham's James Bond inspired invitation the party will be held on Thursday 20th September from 5.30pm in MacTalla so come along for a lovely buffet and dancing!!

Friday, 31 August 2012

The Findhorn Foundation...

A group consisting of Hayley, Gina, Fiona DJ, Rebecca, Kerry, Kirsty, Erika, Maria, Pierre and Holly went to stay in the nearby Findhorn Foundation for a lovely week of planned activities which was a real treat.
The group came back to our community and told us many stories about their visit to the findhorn group and said that they had a fantastic time. They were involved in many activities including prayers, working with clay and joining in the canteen with the others which was great.
While there they particularly noticed how beautiful the houses and gardens were kept and also how they had a tree boutique.  The tree boutique which was where people can leave accessories and items of clothing for others to claim seemed to work great and a similar idea might be used in our community for assistants and core members to enjoy.
They experienced a full week of fun - If you want to learn more about the Findhorn Foundation please log onto their website: www.findhorn.org and experience their community which has amazing reached it's 50th year. Go on you will be inspired!

Wow! Look at this makeover...

I think it's fair to say that Hayley's bedroom in MacTalla has been transformed into a little palace for her to enjoy spending time in.
Hayley's Mum and Dad helped MacTalla to transform her room by assisting Hayley to choose and buy a new carpet and furniture which looks absolutely fantastic! I think everyone will agree that the bedroom looks elegant and very well put together. 
I am sure that Hayley will enjoy every moment in her newly decorated room!
Hayley's lovely new dressing table and chest of drawers

The new girly bed

Have a look at all her medals hanging up - Wow!