Nairn Academy YPI


We attended the final of a YPI (Youth Philanthropy Initiative) at Nairn Academy where S3 pupils Breagha, Ruaraigh and Toni-Alice presented a brilliantly creative pitch on behalf of Birchwood Highland.

Well done for such a brilliantly researched presentation and for continuing to raise awareness of Birchwood Highland!!

The trio composed and performed this fantastic poem, which perfectly sums up Birchwood Highland and the work we do.

Birchwood Highland is the charity to rep
They help their community every chance they get
Even helping people who are lonely or in debt

1 in 3 people have a mental health issue
Helping those in the blue, not knowing what to do
Helping these people with their daily tasks
All they need to do is ask

Aim to reduce stigma in the community
Bringing us all together in one unity
Helping people to rediscover
Get them back on track and recover

Raising awareness through workshops
Getting the community involved before hope drops
Would you want help to reach your goal?
If you do take control

New Year, New Look!

We had so much fun at our New Year, New Look event on Saturday!  

Birchwood Highland ambassadors, Nicola McAlley and Amanda Latham, were let loose in our charity shop in Invergordon to talk about sustainable shopping and how to repurpose clothing. Amanda reminded us that giving to charity can be so beneficial for our wellbeing, particularly when passing on items that no longer 'spark joy' for us, but could be treasured by others.  

Thanks to Birchwood Highland Shop for hosting the event, to Nicola for her enthusiasm and fantastic modelling, and to the fabulous Amanda for her creativity, knowledge, time and effort.   

A fantastic afternoon of fashion and fun, our Birchwood Highland ambassadors did us proud. 

5 Ways to wellbeing

As many of us take on new year's resolutions in January, we thought we'd focus on the 5 ways to wellbeing - a report which suggests that building 5 key actions into our day-to-day lives is important for our wellbeing.

You can read the full report here:





  5. GIVE

Highland Migrant and Refugee Advocacy - Civic Reception

A wonderful Civic Reception was held at Inverness Town House on Saturday, organised by Highland Migrant and Refugee Advocacy (HiMRA), celebrating the theme of 'Stories of Movement'.


Featuring an academic presentation, dance, a personal story, singing and a guitar performance, the event also featured a poem in both English and Gaelic on the Highland Clearances, raising awareness around commonality.

The overall aim of the event was to show that we all embody and express stories of movement, wherever we are from and wherever we live.

Halloween Quiz and Disco

A huge big thank you to everyone who attended the Halloween themed quiz & disco on Saturday night - a spooktacular £700 was raised in the end!

🏆 Winning Team: The Shallow Hallows 🏆
🏆 Best Dressed Prize: Caroline Forsyth 🏆

Well done to all the teams who took part, and to all those who made such a wonderful effort with their costumes!

An extra big thanks goes to Alert Health Ltd for organising such a wonderful event on our behalf, and to quizmaster extraordinaire, Eòghan Stiùbhart.


System2 Film’s Three Peaks Challenge


Allan Crook, Ross Ferrier and Ian Forsyth - members of System2 Film’s Dingwall based team - took part in the Three Peaks Challenge last month, fundraising for Birchwood Highland in the process.  The challenge involved summiting the three highest mountains in Scotland (Ben Nevis), England (Scafell Pike) and Wales (Mount Snowdon), covering 23 miles and over 10,000 feet of ascent, in just one day, including travel time between locations. 

Ross Ferrier commented:

“Despite the weather being far from on our side, we’re delighted that we managed to complete the Three Peaks Challenge within 24 hours.  It was a soaking wet start up Ben Nevis, which really set the tone for the entire challenge, but Allan and I kept each other going and we even managed to film most of the challenge, which kept us focused and provided a distraction from the rain!”

Allan Crook added:

“We’re thrilled to have been able to fundraise for Birchwood Highland throughout the challenge too.  Raising awareness of mental ill health is deeply important to me and Birchwood Highland provide vital support to people experiencing mental ill health across the Highlands, and all the monies raised will go towards supporting quality of live activities for people the charity supports.”

Whilst Allan and Ross took on the challenge of summiting the three peaks in times exceeding their own previous personal bests, it was Ian who carried the responsibility of driving them cross-country within the 24-hour window. 

 Ian Forsyth, Director at System2 commented:

“Allan and Ross did an amazing job - completing the Three Peaks Challenge is no mean feat - and I’m proud to say that I was able to support them in their efforts, albeit by staying nice and dry in the car!  I am, however, extremely pleased to have been able to support System2 Film’s fundraising efforts for a worthwhile cause locally.”

Loch Ness Knit Fest 2018

We attended the two day Loch Ness Knit Festival which took place at the Inverness Leisure Centre on Saturday 20th & Sunday 21st October.

We had a stall to promote the benefits of knitting along with mental health and also had a crafty hamper up for grabs for people that signed up for our newsletter.

Thank you to the organisers for letting us attend this fantastic event - and we hope to be back again next year!

And congratulations to Natalie who won the wonderful hamper!




To kick-start our social media campaign to mark this year's #WorldMentalHealthDay 2018, some of our Head Office team are sharing the things that are good for their mental health.

What is good for your mental health? Get involved!

1️⃣ Print off and fill out the poster below, detailing what is good for your mental health.

2️⃣ Get someone to take a photo 📸 of you with your poster, share your picture across your social media channels tagging Birchwood Highland and using the #WorldMentalHealthDay hashtag.

📧 You can also send your photo directly to us at and we’ll share it on your behalf.

We look forward to seeing all of your pictures throughout the day!

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Recruiting for Mental Health Support Workers


Due to our expanding services, we are currently recruiting for Full Time, Part Time and Relief Support Workers in the following areas -

Inverness Community & Housing Support

Recovery Centre in Inverness

Easter Ross Community & Housing Support

Lochaber Community & Housing Support

Salary: £17,062.50 per year / £8.75 per hour - £18,316 per year / £9.39 per hour

*Application Form

*Guidance notes

Amanda Latham Appointed as Ambassador

Image (L-R): Emily Stokes, Chief Executive; Amanda Latham, Ambassador; Màiri Macdonald, Fundraising and Communications Manager.

Image (L-R): Emily Stokes, Chief Executive; Amanda Latham, Ambassador; Màiri Macdonald, Fundraising and Communications Manager.

We’re pleased to announce that prestigious style consultant Amanda Latham has joined us as our newest ambassador here at Birchwood Highland.

Known locally for establishing her ground-breaking business Define Style Consultancy, and through her role as the Eastgate Shopping Centre’s own in-house stylist, Amanda is set to work closely with Birchwood Highland staff and volunteers to help raise awareness of our vital services.

Amanda has been a keen supporter of our work over the last year or so, especially with the charity shop in Invergordon, as well as helping out at fundraising events. Amanda is also a great believer in building self-confidence and improving self-worth, which is an essential aspect of a person’s recovery and something we promote in our day to day work with individuals we support.

Amanda Latham said: “I’m honoured to be joining Birchwood Highland as an ambassador, especially at a time of such rapid growth and expansion for the organisation.  I’m a people person and that is completely in line with Birchwood Highland’s values, which is wonderful. Having experienced mental health issues myself, I really feel that my business ethos of improving self-confidence and trying to promote the idea that we all deserve to feel good about ourselves will translate into a treasured relationship with Birchwood Highland.”

You can read the full press release here for more information.

Success for the Ben Nevis Challengers

An enormous congratulations to everyone who took on the Ben Nevis Challenge on Saturday 8th September.  Some early sunshine provided a beautiful (if somewhat hot!) start to the climb, with a typically misty view from the top of the Ben once we arrived at the top. 

12 climbers in total took part in the event and Birchwood Highland is extremely grateful for their fundraising efforts.  Well done, everyone!

Here are a select few photos, from the start of the climb and at the top of the Ben.

Image (top, L-R):  Lorraine, Scott and Marie from the Inverness Support Service before beginning the climb.  Image (bottom):  Glorious sunshine provided some beautiful views.

Image (top, L-R):  Lorraine, Scott and Marie from the Inverness Support Service before beginning the climb.

Image (bottom):  Glorious sunshine provided some beautiful views.

Image:  Taking a break at the top!

Image:  Taking a break at the top!

Image:  John Bruce, one of our Directors, takes a selfie at the top of the Ben - after cycling 68 miles from Inverness! 

Image:  John Bruce, one of our Directors, takes a selfie at the top of the Ben - after cycling 68 miles from Inverness! 

Image:  The team from Alert Health, one of our business partners, at the top. 

Image:  The team from Alert Health, one of our business partners, at the top. 

Mikey's Line & The Hive Project Summer Ball


Image (L-R):  Emily Stokes, Chief Executive; Annabel Mowat, Deputy Chief Executive; Màiri Macdonald, Fundraising and Communications Manager; Sarah Smith, Fundraising and Communications Assistant. 

Members of the Birchwood Highland team were delighted to attend the Mikey's Line & The Hive Project Summer Ball at the Kingsmills Hotel on Saturday 18th August.  A wonderful evening was had and Birchwood Highland are pleased to help promote mental health awareness in Highland.

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.”