Norscot Joinery Year Long Partnership

Launching a year-long charity business partnership with Norscot Joinery Ltd - a family owned business with bases in Inverness and Caithness.

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Norscot recently attended the Independent Network Members Weekend at which they chose Birchwood Highland as their nominated charity.  Prior to the event Norscot was notified that Birchwood Highland was one of the four charities chosen to be supported on the night, and money raised through a raffle and auction was split 4 ways; kickstarting the partnership with a generous £1,000 donation from the annual event.

Set to make a real difference to the local community by supporting our work to tackle mental health stigma, the year-long partnership will provide opportunities for Norscot’s staff and management team to take part in and organise fundraising events as well as the opportunity to get involved in volunteering initiatives on behalf of the charity.

We are also set to deliver a series of mental wellbeing ‘Toolbox Talks’ to every member of Norscot’s team of over 50 staff.  Our Toolbox Talks continue to be hugely popular amongst local business, with Norscot fully committed to delivering greater awareness of mental health issues amongst its own staff.

You can read the full press release here.

Carer Positive Employer Award

We are marking the end of Carers Week with celebrations after being recognised as a Carer Positive employer.

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Carers Week is a national campaign to raise awareness of caring, highlighting the challenges that carers face and recognising the contribution they make to families and communities throughout the UK.

The Carer Positive award is presented to employers in Scotland who demonstrate a working environment where carers are valued and supported.  This includes providing flexible working policies or simple practical measures which can make a significant difference to carers.  In return, employees benefit from supporting working carers in their workplace by retaining experienced employees, reducing staff absences and making huge savings on recruitment costs.

The award was presented this week by Sue McLintock from Carers Scotland, along with Roisin Connolly from Connecting Carers, and David Stewart.  Commenting on receiving the award, Emily Stokes, Chief Executive said:

“Birchwood Highland has demonstrated genuine commitment as well as practical action to support staff and service users and we’re thrilled to have been recognised as a Carer Positive employer.  We are delighted to be presented with this award and hope that it may inspire other organisations in the Highlands and Islands, particularly in the third sector, to join the growing number of Carer Positive organisations across Scotland.”

Celebrating a Year of Partnership Working with Morrison Construction

Birchwood Highland, and leading local contractor, Morrison Construction, are celebrating a year since the beginning of their formal charity business partnership.

As part of an increase in the firm’s corporate social responsibility efforts, staff and management at Morrison Construction chose to support a charity in the area for the 2017-18 financial year, with Birchwood Highland chosen from a shortlist of charities.

Morrison Construction`s Harbour Road staff also received Birchwood Highland’s Mental Wellbeing Toolbox Talks at the beginning of the partnership, something which has since gained momentum and is now being delivered company-wide.

In addition to the extensive delivery of these ‘Toolbox Talks’ to Morrison Construction, staff of the construction firm have held fundraising events throughout the year to support Birchwood Highland’s vital work – culminating in ‘Fundraising Friday’ which was held on Friday 11th May to raise additional funds for the charity.

‘Fundraising Friday’ was held at Morrison Construction’s Head Office in Inverness and featured a fundraising car wash, breakfast rolls and bake sale. The day was rounded off with a wonderful charity quiz night at the British Legion in Inverness, hosted by STV News’ own Nicola McAlley – all in aid of Birchwood Highland In total, the day raised £1,652.68 and adds to the amount already raised throughout the year by Morrison Construction staff.

(L-R): Mairi Macdonald, Birchwood Highland’s Fundraising and Communications Manager; Emily Stokes, Birchwood Highland’s Chief Executive; Sally Cooper, Morrison Construction’s Corporate Social Responsibility Manager.

As part of the partnership, Morrison Construction staff received Birchwood Highland's 'Toolbox Talks', a 30 minute session which provide an introduction to mental well-being in the workplace.

Watch an interview with Emily Stokes, Chief Executive, on the benefits of working with Morrison Construction here:

Health and Well-being Awareness Event with Scottish Natural Heritage

Linda Birnie, our Training & Development Manager, attended a Health and Well-being awareness event on Monday with Scottish Natural Heritage at Great Glen House as part of Mental Health Awareness week. Excellent Opportunity to highlight our mental health awareness raising Toolbox Talks and Laughter workshops.

A survey by Mental Health Foundation found that over the past year 74% of people have at some point felt so stressed that they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope. See for further information or to find out more about our Toolbox Talks that we can offer to businesses here.

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Celebrating Fifty Years of Dedicated Service

During the last month we celebrated two huge milestones for the staff of Birchwood Highland. Liz Edgar and Wendy Wemyss, along with a number of staff and service users, marked the fantastic milestone early this week in the form of an 80s and 90s themed party – the two decades in which Liz and Wendy joined Birchwood Highland.

Both Liz and Wendy were presented with flowers by Birchwood Highland service users, as well as receiving a small gift from Birchwood Highland as a gesture of thanks for their hard work over the years. 

To read the full press release click here.

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Dinner with the Stars

We had a spectacular evening with our Dinner with the Stars event on Friday 20th April. Guest Chef Hardeep Singh Kohli, Cafe Artysans and Miele's Gelateria provided the wonderful food for everyone and we enjoyed entertainment by Bruce McGregor and the Tartan Paint Band. Thank you to everyone involved and to the all the staff at our venue, Bogbain Farm.

With help from attendees, this event raised around £5000! See a few photos of the night below. 

New Charity Business Partnership

 Image (L-R): Mairi Macdonald, Fundraising & Communications Manager; Amy MacRae, Managing Director at Alert Health.

Image (L-R): Mairi Macdonald, Fundraising & Communications Manager; Amy MacRae, Managing Director at Alert Health.

To help raise awareness of mental health in the workplace, we're thrilled to announce a formal charity business partnership with the team at Alert Health-Occupational Health,Travel Health,On & Offshore Work Medicals.

As of April 2018, the year-long partnership will see both organisations collaborating, including working with local companies to help address the stigma and management of mental ill health within Highland workplaces.

Read the full press release here.

Charity Single Launch with Music is Life Scotland

The launch of Birchwood Highland's first ever charity single, including Iain McLaughlin of IMOUT Studios and Steve Robertson from Music is Life took place on Friday 16th March at The Tooth & Claw, Inverness.

A handful of people have been working over the last few months to produce a charity single through the Music is Life Scotland project. 

The single titled “The Long Winding Road (Through the Seasons)” was put together by concepts suggested by residents at the Recovery Centre, including the idea of writing about how the changing seasons made them feel.  The artwork for the single is also an original piece produced by residents.  Steve Robertson – a Birchwood Highland Ambassador – said:

“It was an amazing experience to meet on a regular basis and to see the single come together.  The residents from the Recovery Centre had some fantastic ideas and it was great to help pull everything together.”

The single was written by Inverness singer/songwriter Steven Barclay and produced and arranged by Iain McLaughlin at IMOUT Studios in Inverness.  Released on Friday 16th March the single is available via iTunes, Amazon and Spotify, and all proceeds will go towards helping support Birchwood Highland’s vital work.


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Highland Business Women Awards - Best Third Sector

 Chief Executive, Emily Stokes.

Chief Executive, Emily Stokes.

We're thrilled to have secured the award for 'Best Third Sector' at this year's Highland Business Women Awards! 

Achieving the award for the third year running, the accolade rounded off a week of celebrations for Birchwood Highland, having marked the 10th anniversary of Scotland’s only mental health residential recovery centre just days before, and on the same day that the organisation launched a charity single produced by service users through the Music is Life Scotland project.

Thank you to all staff, volunteers and everyone else who helped us achieve this fantastic award once again. 

Recovery Centre's 10th Anniversary

Scotland’s first and only mental health residential recovery centre – based in Inverness – celebrated its 10th anniversary this week.

Formally opened by Shona Robison  in March 2008 - and owned and operated by Birchwood Highland - the Recovery Centre is a 23-bed facility which was transformed from a traditional residential care home into a modern mental health recovery centre over ten years ago.


Drew Hendry, MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey, raised an early day motion in parliament to recognise the milestone which you can read here.

A celebratory afternoon tea was held on Wednesday 14th March to mar the occasion, with suppliers and stakeholders invited to attend.  You can watch BBC Alba's coverage of the birthday celebrations here.

Dinner with the Stars 2018 - Hardeep Singh Kohli Announced as Guest Chef

Birchwood Highland's annual Dinner with the Stars fundraising event will take place once again in 2018; with comedian, broadcaster and celebrity chef Hardeep Singh Kohli set to visit the Highland capital to cook and entertain food enthusiasts and supporters of the charity alike.

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Now in its third year - and with an established foodie following - Dinner with the Stars 2018 will take place in the rustic surrounding of Bogbain Farm, Inverness, on Friday 20th April and will feature a number of local guest chefs as well as a main course prepared by Hardeep Singh Kohli himself.  Local chefs involved include John Lockhart of Fired Up Events – in-house caterers at Bogbain Farm and the newly-opened MacGregor’s Bar – as well as John Brawley and the team at Cafe Artysans.  Diners will also be treated to a selection of gelato from the award-winning Miele’s Gelataria in Inverness.

Hosted by Birchwood Highland Ambassador and STV News’ Nicola McAlley, Dinner with the Stars will feature a number of fundraising elements, including a raffle, gala auction and silent auction, and any donations from local businesses for these would be warmly welcomed.  All prizes and supporters of the event will be featured in the dinner’s glossy brochure.

The evening will also feature a Q+A session with Hardeep Singh Kohli, finishing up in true Highland style with a cèilidh dance from Bruce MacGregor and friends.  Hardeep commented:

“I’m really looking forward to returning to the Highlands in 2018 and cooking up a storm in aid of a local charity.”

 As well as being guest chef at Dinner with the Stars, Hardeep will also be hosting two separate fundraising events on behalf of Birchwood Highland over the days leading up to the dinner.

Presenting a spice masterclass on the afternoon of Thursday 19th April in Inverness, Hardeep will be in conversation at the Royal Highland Hotel to provide attendees with an opportunity to stir their senses through touch and taste, based on the principles of cooking with Indian herbs and spices. 

A private dining experience will follow the spice masterclass, with Hardeep preparing a seven course tasting menu for just a handful of guests at a top secret location in a Highland home – a fantastic opportunity for food-lovers to get up close and personal with a guest chef at a truly unique fundraising event.

Tickets for Dinner with the Stars are priced at just £60pp and are available to book here.  Tickets for the spice masterclass and for the private dining experience are also available via the Birchwood Highland website.

Dinner with the Stars 2018

Birchwood Highland's unique dinner event will take place once again in 2018!

Now in its third year, Dinner with the Stars will feature guest chefs, quality local ingredients and fantastic entertainment; all within the gorgeous setting of Bogbain Farm in Inverness.

More details and booking information to follow - sign up to our newsletter here to be the first to find out!

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