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Friday, 13 December 2013

Advent is Here!

It is that time of year again and we are all busy preparing for Christmas!
Appologies for a quiet blog recently, we promise to keep you updated in the new year on events here at L'Arche Inverness.
The annual Family and Friends Gathering had a tremendous turn out this year. Many thanks to all those who came along for mulled wine, carols and laughter.
 Next week we will be having our Workshop Christmas lunch out at the Lochardil Hotel, bring on the Christmas Pudding!



Thursday, 16 May 2013

Regional Gathering Approaches Fast...

On Friday 24th May 2013, L'Arche Inverness is proud to host the second regional gathering for L'Arche in Scotland!!
The day will be held at St Columba's church in Smithton by Culloden from 9.30am - organised by Anthony Kramers and a team of willing representatives from L'Arche Inverness and Edinburgh the day is sure to be a success.
Accommodation has been organised in Inverness for around twenty members of L'Arche Edinburgh who will be attending on the day. At the moment we are still looking for numbers of those attending from L'Arche Inverness and for offers of people to make food for the day.
Lisa distributed a poster this week also looking for anyone willing to showcase a talent. Be it dancing, singing, drawing, playing an instrument ..... what ever you want please let her know by phoning Saorsa as soon as possible.
We hope you are as excited about attending as we are .....

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Easter Celebrations...

This year a wide range of community members from all around the community attended regular Faith Life Group meetings in order to begin preparations for Easter.
The group had many ideas for the Passover Meal and Foot washing, Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Many people have commented on how they thought this year has been the best in a while!! Good news for all involved.
A big thank you to all the Faith Life Group members who helped to organise the events this year!



Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Marathon Success ...

Holly and Petyo with their medals
 After months of anticipation both Holly and Petyo have completed their half marathon challenge!
On Sunday 17th March the pair woke early and dawned their running shoes then headed to Bught Park to register for the race. Braerannoch were out in force at the end of the road next to Rosedene's where they cheered as they ran passed in a crowd of over 3,000 people. Susie made a great effort by making a brightly coloured poster stating "Holly and Petyo - You're Heroes!" which was greatly appreciated.
The 13.1 mile half marathon took place on a day when the Scottish weather was evident as it was extremely cold and very very wet! but nothing stopped them both.
2 hours and 25 minutes later they approach the finish line

MacTalla showed their support at the swing bridge which spurred them onto the finishing stretch. Running together during the race they bet their target of 2 hours 30minutes arriving at 2 hours 25 minutes over the finish line.

At the finish line with some of their many supporters
The community is so proud of both Holly and Petyo for showing such enthusiasm and raising well over £1000 which will be put towards The Workshops.
There is still time to donate to help them reach their £2000 target so if you wish, log onto:
and leave an online donation!

Friday, 8 March 2013

Come Visit Us Soon ...

Mr Richard Wood - L'Arche Inverness Comedian
Hi there, I am the clown of L'Arche Inverness.
Everybody knows me as I am the wondering drip of Inverness.
Please feel free to come and see us at The Workshops in Drummond Crescent.
Thank you very much and see you soon.
Yours sincerely,
Christian Name:   Richardson Woods

Thursday, 7 March 2013

My Community Story by Amy

Myself and Gina on an outing to Fort William

In 2009, I arrived to the community of L’Arche Inverness as a young, shy but enthusiastic seventeen year old fresh from completing my higher studies.  I had worked for the retail sector of The British Red Cross for approaching two years so I wasn’t oblivious to the ups and downs that comes with working for a charity but L’Arche Inverness was something different; something I never could have imagined to be nestled away in Inverness – a real gem!
From the moment I arrived to the community I was overwhelmed by the seemingly endless streams of smiling faces and warm welcomes which was offered to me as I waited to start my new job on reception.  Although I had applied to work in the office which I knew was situated within a day service for adults with learning disabilities, I could have never anticipated the rollercoaster ride which the last three and a half years has given me.
Very quickly I was able to make use of my qualifications and establish myself within the office – I always get joy from sorting procedures/ paperwork etc which others don’t have time to face or don’t know where to begin but being in the office is much more than that.  I have always been given the opportunity to use my creative flare to make up displays and organise events which can range from 30 – 100 people at times. Kirsty who works within The Workshops is always great at helping to organise the events too – how many “office jobs” would you get the chance to prepare such amazing events/ parties for adults with learning disabilities.
I was very quickly welcomed into the community homes and was involved in the support of our ‘core members’ which was great as we were able to build meaningful and respectful relationships in no time at all. I had also had the opportunity to live in Grianan (one of our community homes) alongside my job at reception. Lilias and Fiona welcomed me to their home with open arms but like any intense family environments we definitely had our ‘arguments’ and didn’t see eye to eye in certain areas – this only brought our relationships closer.
Fiona, Myself, Mark and Derek at The Workshops
Having the opportunity to stay in the community houses was an invaluable experience as I now have a better grasp of the different areas of the community. Living with the girls and other assistants from around the world will be a memory I will cherish forever.  Unfortunately the strain of going between my commitments in the office and house became overwhelming as I felt I could not offer my all to both areas. I now work in the office as an Admin Officer and continue to keep up my close relationships with the core members from Saorsa and Grianan as well as Richard, Mark, Sue and Derrick which is always a pleasure!  I hardly ever go a week without visiting the houses or having some of the core members round for dinner or going to the pub for a quiet pint!
Coming to work in a community is much more than you expect. Of course there is plenty of ‘down’ moments but the ‘up’ moments far outweigh them! I have grown up so much within the community and have been blessed with knowledge, experience, friendships and a fiancĂ© which I may have never got if I had chosen to work in any other place.
Are you are present or ex- assistant/ community member?
If so, please send your stories and photographs to Amy at reception@larcheinverness.com and they will be posted onto our blog!
Get typing and share your experience of community life here in Inverness.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Recognition for Our Homes...

In our homes it is important that we continue to follow the Charter of L'Arche and the teachings of our founder Jean Vanier but we always try to ensure that the community also understands that as a L'Arche community in the UK we are also a professional support provider and that we need to legally meet set standards of care.
We like many other professional support providers across the region, have been hugely impacted by limitations in funding due to the current economic climate we live in. However, despite the challenge to be a more “cost-conscious” support provider, we have continued to strive to provide the high quality, person-centred care which is synonymous of L'Arche.
After recent inspections by our regulator, The Care Inspectorate, all three of their residential homes received outstanding reports and were given quality grades of five in all inspection categories.
Anne Shaw, our Community Leader, would like to thank all involved in the hard work that has gone into ensuring that our homes have been recognised for the outstanding care and support provided on a day to day basis. This is a reflection of the extremely hard work that Holly and the House Leader's (Miska, Meagan and Petyo) along with Amy's Admin Support have put in over the past year to ensure that our good practices have been improved and passed onto all members of the house teams to implement at all times.

Please click on the links below to see our homes inspection reports:


Thursday, 28 February 2013

Godly Play success ...

Everybody likes a good story…and in L’Arche we are no exception.
One of our assistants, Hilary Lacroix, is training to be a Godly Play Storyteller. She writes:
Godly Play is hard to describe, it is better understood by taking part! But at the heart of Godly Play is a story told in community.
A small group gather together. All are welcomed and helped to find a comfortable seat, on a chair or on the floor, if they prefer. Everyone takes time to make themselves ready. Around the room are an intriguing array of baskets, boxes and objects, containing attractive wooden and felt items, many of them handmade. These are the stories…which one will the Storyteller choose? Which one does the group need that day? A variety of things are brought into the centre of the circle.
A bag of sand appears, spread out on the floor. “This is the desert…the desert is a dangerous place…it takes courage to go into the desert, but so many important things happened to the People of God in the desert.” Small wooden figures are placed in the sand, and the story of the Exodus slowly unfolds, told by heart, using words sparingly and slowly, accompanied by hand gestures.
At the end of the story, the Storyteller looks up taking the focus from the story to the circle of people seated around the room. Everyone is invited to wonder about the story, either out loud, or silently. One or two questions are asked ‘I wonder what you liked best about this story?’, ‘I wonder what was most important in this story?’
The wondering continues as each one is invited to respond to the story in their own way – through using an array of art materials set out on the table, coming to touch the desert, hold the wooden people of God, look at a book, even to rest quietly. The atmosphere in the room is peaceful; it is a time for each person to use as their own, to explore, think, pray or relax.
After a while, the group is invited to clear away their work and come back together. A candle is lit and those who wish to pray or simply say a ‘thank you’ or express something in their heart, can do so, out loud or silently.
Finally, in L’Arche tradition, we finish by exchanging a sign of peace. People are free to go, but some wish to linger quietly, perhaps to talk or to finish some artwork for a few minutes.
We have experimented with a few of these sessions and they are proving popular especially among our Day Members, so we hope they will become a regular feature in the future.

For those who wish to know more www.godlyplay.org.uk

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Jackie Dean's Birthday ..

It is hard for many of us to believe that Jackie Dean turned the BIG 6 - 0! last week but nevertheless it is very true.
MacTalla planned a lovely meal for Jackie to enjoy with her friends and those she lives with and The Workshops prepared a lovely hamper on behalf of the community to give her as a gift.

Anne, Erika and Barbara

After a brilliant idea from Anne Shaw we managed to fill the hamper with 60 things that Jackie would like in order mark her 60th birthday.

Wishing a truly charming lady another year of delight!

Friday, 22 February 2013

Our Shrove Tuesday Event ...

On Tuesday 12th February, The Community celebrated Pancake Day (Shrove Tuesday) by having a Pancake Party which was organised by The Faith Life Group alongside some help from The Workshops.
The Party seemed to be a great success as each house and The Snug made mountains of tasty pancakes, we had a selection of mouth-watering fillings such a jams, chocolate spread, lemon, sugar, berries, bananas and plenty of squirty cream and plenty of crafts such as 'Mardi Gras' Mask making, banner painting and a brilliant pancake tossing competition!
In true L'Arche style we came together to join hands to say grace before tucking in and letting the fun begin! We must note that Petyo Brodnan took the trophy for the most pancakes tossed, Brendan came 3rd place, Holly Hiles came 2nd place and Sydney Fraser came 1st place in the most stylish pancake toss.Congratulation to them all!
  Have a look at some of the pictures from the afternoon:
Waiting for the pancakes to arrive

Getting ready to add their touch to the banner

Karen and Hayley making masks

Holly with her Mardi Gras mask

The pancake competition winners

Claire and Mark from MacTalla

Lilias and Clare Gardom (ex brae assistant)

Babs, Anna and Jeong waiting to tuck in

Anna helping herself to the delicious pancakes

Karen, Sylwia, Hayley, Maria and Emma enjoying the afternoon

Erika enjoying the spread

Graham and Brendan having a good time

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Community Visit ...

Last week Anthony Kramers and Louise Redwood travelled up from L'Arche Edinburgh to join the community to see how life has being going for all it's members and to discuss our latest sets of priorities.

During their visit they meet with many people and groups from across the community such as The Listening Group, The Co-ordination Team, Community Council, Local Committee and The Faith Life Group. This was a brilliant opportunity for all to put ideas on the table regarding how the community can make the latest set of priorities achievable and for other ways to move the community forward. This was also a great platform to discuss the current issues that the community and its members are facing such as finances, paper work and lots more.

While here The Workshops hosted a 'Takeaway Lunch' in their honour which gave the whole community an opportunity to come together and socialise over a hot meal of fish and chips! At the gathering Simon Meddle taught the community a new song with Holly showing us all the makaton signs. This was a great pathway for Anthony and Louise to then address the community. After Louise read a passage from the Bible, Anthony went onto tell a powerful story about community life and how we need to accept our own and other people's weaknesses.

Have a look at these lovely pictures of the day:


Friday, 25 January 2013

Valentine's products ...

Our large love catchers
The Garden Workshop led by Thomas and assisted by Mary has been working extremely hard to produce quality heart shaped love catchers which will make the perfect present this Valentine's day for that special someone.
Come along to our Workshops to have a look what is on offer!
Large love catcher - £28
Medium - £18
Small - £10

Friday, 18 January 2013

Mark's Celebration For Angus ...

Mark sharing about Angus

This week has been one of fond memories for the community but particularly MacTalla as Mark Mitchell prepared and hosted a wonderful tea party in his bedroom to celebrate what would have been the 63rd birthday of his late friend Angus. On Monday afternoon Mark invited those he lives with in MacTalla to join him in his bedroom to celebrate Angus’ birthday which was on Saturday 12th January.
The MacTalla team enjoying the party!
Mark hosted the party by sharing funny stories he remembers about Angus and providing lots of nice drinks and snacks. Mark explained that it was important to hold the tea party as “we are singing Happy Birthday to Angus because he was my friend”.
"A toast to Angus!"
All at MacTalla would like to thank Mark Mitchell for the fantastic afternoon
they shared together.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Holly & Petyo Run for L'Arche ...

Display in our Main Office
On Sunday 17th March, both Holly and Petyo will be running the Global Energy Half Marathon in Inverness which is around 13 miles long!
The pair are running to raise money to fund a person with learning disability to attend The Workshops, one day per week for an entire year which in current financial climate will be a great help! This great cause means that they are aiming to achieve a target of £2000 which although it is a huge amount they are confident with your help that they will be able to achieve this.
The website to leave an online donation

The pair will be organising a fundraising event nearer to the day however to contribute to their target now, you can log onto: www.justgiving.com/hollyrunsforlarche to leave an online donation of any amount. Your donation can not be too big or too small - every little helps.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Congratulations ...

Love is really continuing to be in the air around L'Arche as there was another two engagements announced recently which brings the total to FIVE!
A big congratulations to Mirjam Pakulla and Jonathan Pitt who were both assistants in Braerannoch recently. The pair met while in working in Braerannoch and have been together ever since. Jonathan has moved back to London and Mirjam is now living in a L'Arche Community closer to him. They are planning to wed in September/ October 2013 which is fantastic news!
Also, the community wishes all the best to Miska Pavlusova who has recently got engaged to her boyfriend Daryl. Miska who is currently House Leader of Saorsa/ Grianan is planning her wedding to take place on August 2013 in Slovakia which will make it a truly wonderful International wedding!
Best wishes to you all! 

A Big Thank You ...

Harmony accepting the Cheque on behalf of The Snug

Just before the Christmas holidays The Snug received fantastic news that they were going to be honoured with a cheque of £250.00 from Sainsbury's in Tain. Two members of staff from the supermarket came to L'Arche to present The Snug with the cheque which was a lovely touch.

Also that week Anne Shaw went to ASDA in Inverness to pick up a cheque for £50.00 after L'Arche came second in their charity fundraising. This money was also gifted to The Snug.

A huge Thank you to both Sainsbury's and ASDA for their generousity!

It's 2013 ...

Happy New Year to friends both old and new!
Another year has been and gone and 2012 didn't seem to disappoint us! It was another year of many changes, transformations and additions to the team.  
In Braerannoch, we have had two new House Leaders - Meagan then Cecile then Meagan again (Thank you for coming back!), a new deputy House Leader - Raquel, five bedroom swaps and mini makeovers, a huge bedroom makeover for Derrick Anderson, a complete revamp to the kitchen which is now very modern/ sleek, Stefan passed his driving test so is now able to use the Kia to go on outings or to appointments which is a real bonus for the house and sadly we said goodbye to Fiona Lynn who has moved onto another lovely home. Braerannoch has also welcomed Martin who works in our Workshops to live in the house for the next while. It has been really nice for the house to have him around!
In MacTalla, Hayley, the house team and her family organised a complete makeover for her bedroom which is now a beautiful comtemporary purple paradise, Petyo moved to a new flat as one of the community's very first "LILO" assistants and Mark and Jackie both celebrated their 25th Anniversaries of living in the community.
In Saorsa, they celebrated 30 years since Saorsa was founded by Sydney in 1982 with a big BBQ in their garden for the whole community, Miska moved to a new flat as one of the community's very first "LILO" assistants, Derek got a lovely new floor laid in his bedroom which he loves and just recently they received news that The Highland Cross has granted them funding to put towards the installation of a much needed wet room on the ground floor.
In The Workshops/ Office, the finances were centralised which meant that Hector got to step back and only work one day a week, we purchased a new community car - a black Kia named lovingly by The Snug as "Percy", we received a donation of a new summer house from Dickson's of Inverness which was constructed in the grounds of Braerannoch by Hunter's Landscaping, we welcomed Mr Bob Glover as our new volunteer fundraiser (we wish him the best of luck), we welcomed Sarah McLenan as our new Workshop Co-ordinator, The Workshops organised many fantastic parties such as The Diamond Jubilee celebration, Halloween and the Christmas party and last but not least of a long list - Holly and Tracey represented the community at the L'Arche International General Assembly in Atlanta, Georgia, USA!
As you can see there was barely a dull moment and we have high hopes that 2013 will bring the same good times and memories.