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!

Dinner with the Stars - Save the Date

30th Anniversary Stakeholder Event

We held our 30th Anniversary Stakeholder Event at Eden Court on the 21st of November 2017. Thank you to all who attended and made the day a success! Hear from some of the attendees in this film made on the day. 

Short Film: A Life of Mental Health Problems

To highlight how far mental health care has come over the years, we produced a short film which tells the story of Ian Elder, a Birchwood Highland service user who experienced some of the treatments and facilities, such as Craig Dunain Hospital in Inverness in the 1950's and 1960's.  

Celebrating 30 Years!

We also screened the film below which highlights our mission, successes and achievements and highlights some of the valuable work that we do. 

Birchwood Highland's First Ever Charity Shop

We have announced an exciting new not-for-profit project which will help meet the increased demand for the organisation’s services in the Easter Ross area.

Set to open in early 2018, our first ever charity shop will be located on Invergordon’s High Street, in the heart of the Easter Ross port town.  The shop aims to sell high-quality pre-loved and second-hand goods, including: ladies, gents and children’s clothing; jewellery and accessories; small items of furniture and household goods; as well as some new and unused items.

As well as everything you’d expect from a charity shop – and more - this pioneering venture will operate as a social enterprise, not only benefiting customers, but also providing meaningful activity for people we support; through work and volunteer-based experiences.

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The charity shop will rely on donations from members of the public, as well as from local businesses, and any items passed on will be gratefully received in the run-up to the shop opening next year.  Donations may include: good quality ladies, gents and children’s clothing/shoes; children’s toys; jewellery; small items of furniture; household goods and gift items.  Items can be donated at our Head Office at 59 Tomnahurich Street, Inverness, IV3 5DT on Mondays – Fridays, 9am – 5pm.  Items can also be donated locally at Birchwood Highland’s office at 108 High Street, Invergordon, IV18 0DR on Mondays – Fridays, 9am - 5pm.

Supervisors and volunteer shop assistants will also be required to help run the new shop, and applications for these positions are now open.  Volunteering can be an extremely rewarding experience, so if you have time to spare, and would like to help support a Highland charity - as well as helping to tackle mental health stigma and make a real difference to your local community - we’d love to hear from you.

All applications will be subject to references and training and support will be provided.  For further information on volunteering, please call our Head Office on 01463 236 507 or email

Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival 2017

 Phil Fisher: A participant in 'My World, Mental Health'.

Phil Fisher: A participant in 'My World, Mental Health'.

This year, the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival in the Highlands will kick off on 5th October at 6pm with the Opening Night at the Bike Shed. Like last year, this will be a celebratory night featuring an art and photography exhibition, live readings, and film screenings, all exploring mental health, stigma and this year’s theme of Reclaim.

 The Screen Machine Mobile Cinema

The Screen Machine Mobile Cinema

Another big event will be the SMHAF Highland Annual Gathering Night (click to book) taking place at Eden Court’s One Touch Theatre on 24th October at 6pm. The night will comprise a very attractive programme including two films produced by Birchwood Highland. The first one entitled “My World, My Mental Health” shows how different activities can help people maintain their mental wellbeing. The second film entitled “Reclaim the Future” is a joint project which we worked on with other Highland partners. It discusses the issues of mental health stigma and what needs to be done to overcome it. This short film will also be shown by the Screen Machine, the Highland mobile cinema reaching the most remote communities in our region. Screened before the main feature throughout October, it will make sure that the festival’s message is spread far and wide!

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