Thank You for 2016!

We’d like to say a huge thank you…

As we near the end of 2016, our year of Hearts, Minds and Highlanders, Pauline Burnett, Birchwood Highland’s Fundraising Manager, would like to say a huge thank you to all of the staff and service users who have contributed their skills, time and enthusiasm to the events.

We couldn’t do it without the support and generosity of all of you. The following businesses and individuals have all been instrumental in our successful year:

A is for… Ambassadors

Our wonderful ambassadors Nicola McAlley & Steve Robertson

Music promoter Steve brought Music Is Life workshops to the residents and staff at the Recovery Centre, while super-busy STV reporter Nicola gave up some of her time this year to volunteer for a few hours’ work in the garden and kitchen and ensured great coverage for our Migrant's Matter Conference as well as doing the Mad May Mile for us. Thanks guys!

B is for… The Beast Race

Sarah Smith, Andrew Greig, Jayne Geddes, Sheila MacLeod, Sheila's daughter and Derek Thain teamed up to take on The Beast Race. A 10k obstacle course around - and in! - Loch Ness, it certainly challenged them all physically and mentally. Massive thanks to the brave team who raised over £1000!

B is also for… Birchwood Highland’s Big Belladrum Heart

We’re delighted to say the heart looked fantastic in both its naked form and once hundreds of festival-goers had added cloots and lovelocks! Thank you to everyone who added a cloot or a lovelock to the gorgeous structure. We couldn’t have done it without the following individuals and businessed who donated their time, skills and enthusiasm for free….

Joe Gibbs, Sam, Derry and the Belladrum Tartan Heart festival team for finding the heart a beautiful home; Jim Oliver, Alan Mackay, Iain Kershaw and Dave Mackay and the team at Serimax for creating something truly amazing; Sandy and the team at Grampian Steel for supplying the materials; Donald Macarthur at Fairhurst for making sure it was safe; Gordon and the team at Bannerman (Tain) Ltd. for transporting the heart through narrow lanes and, last but not least, Jamie and the team at All-Round Signs for helping us shout about it. 

Birchwood Highland’s Big Belladrum Heart raised £3000 at Bella 2016 and we look forward to seeing you all there again for Bella 2017!

C is for… Caring & Sharing

Izzie MacDonald of Caring & Sharing is a great support to charities and groups across the Highlands. Caring And Sharing donated £1000 to the Easter Ross service user fund to enable outings and workshops for the guys there.

D is for… Dinner With The Stars

In May we put on an ambitious dinner in one of the Highlands’ best new buildings, UHI Inverness College. There are so many people to mention here as it was an amazing evening of generosity from the Highlands and beyond. Thank you to all of the staff who supported in the hectic run-up to the event, came along to help set and enjoyed the evening’s shenanigans. 

Our wonderful chefs on the night were Jamie Scott of The Newport, Mark Dickson of Bunchrew House Hotel, David Barnett of The Torridon, Elizabeth Brown of Capability Brown’s and thanks also to Phil Stewart of Nourish, Inverness.

Our wonderful location was UHI Inverness College and we would like to thank Georgie Parker, Diane Rawlinson, Martin White, Robbie Sherrifs, Pauline Tuthill and all of the students who assisted at the event until the wee small hours.

Our suppliers were fabulous, too: thanks to Ali Asher and all of the staff at Ashers; Gary Williamson and the staff at Williamson Foodservice; James and Stevie and their team at Hastie & Dyce, Douglas Greig and the team at Highland Print & Design; Annette and the team at Glenmorangie; Donna Peacock at Highland Cordials; Heidi and the team at Munro’s Nursery; Dan and Rohaise Rose-Bristow at The Torridon; Mangus and the staff of Coast & Glen; Nigel Parkin and the staff at Bunchrew House Hotel; Grant and the staff at North Of Scotland Marquees; Kim at Black Orchid; Highland Wineries; Speyside Glenlivet Water and last but not least Craig and the ever-supportive Limelight Events Services guys. 

Our special thanks go to Bruce MacGregor, Eilidh Davies and Conor O’Hara for performing and hosting the event so brilliantly, and the wonderful Paul Spencer of Dingwall Mart for hosting the auction. 

Thanks to everyone who made the night such a success, especially Ronnie Macintosh, Deirdrie Smyth, Scott Bremner, Donald Mackenzie, Gemma Palumbo, Maggie Blyth and friends and all of the guests for their generosity on the evening. 

The event raised £10,500 which was an amazing result.

D is also for… Birchwood Highland’s Directors

They’re a hands-on bunch, whether it’s helping out at the finish line of the Highland Cross, bidding for auction prizes at dinners, starring in films , helping put up bike sheds, attending Board Meetings during the year, or answering really tough questions on quiz nights, they’re there supporting us. Thank you guys. We appreciate your efforts, skills and time – you know it matters!

D is also for…Dows Bar staff

Glenn, Moira and the staff at Dows Bar for our monthly quiz and Tune Bingo nights, great food and smiles.

E is for… Ellerium Games

Much fun was had when the staff at Ellerium Games in Inverness laid on a 24-hour games marathon for James Wilson, one of our trekkers. What a hoot!

F is for… film stars

We called on Alison White, Joni Phippin, Ryan Harkins and Stuart Williamson to take part in a short film. Called One Ordinary Day, Four Ordinary Lives it was made for 2016’s Scottish Mental Health Arts & Film Festival. The film highlighted the sameness, not the difference in people’s lives, asking the question if one in 4 of us will experience mental ill health, which one of us is it… and does it matter? The film has been viewed over 12,600 times so far on Facebook and makes for a really rewarding watch.

H is for… Highland Cross

Our massive thanks and admiration go to the runners, riders and organisers of the event. We had a great time supporting you all at the finish line where we took bikes from very tired competitors, handed out medals and soaked up the fabulous atmosphere. To then be handed a cheque for £45,000 to enable us to build vital social space at the Recovery Centre was the icing on the cake!

H is also for… Highland Third Sector Interface

Mhairi and her team awarded Birchwood Highland a £4,800 grant to fund hardware and training for a pilot scheme trialling remote care. The project goes live early next year so watch this space.

J is for... the Jeffrey family

Andrew ran the Edinburgh half marathon, raising £414, while dad Gavin helped on many fronts – as a willing quizzer and a kind donor of furniture. Jumpin’ Jeffreys, we salute you!

J is for... Jo MacFarlane

Hailed as the Poet Laureate of Recovery, Jo is an Edinburgh-based poet who quite literally bounced back from mental ill health. After trying to commit suicide by jumping from Salisbury Crag in the capital, she now writes beautiful and challenging poetry. We are indebted to her for allowing us to use her piece ‘First Aid’ for a film we made with the festival-goers at Belladrum. The film reached over 26,000 people and if you haven’t seen it yet you can go to our Facebook page.

K is for… Kit Fraser and the staff at Glow Bar, Inverness

Author, bar owner and raconteur Kit gave us a great evening’s entertainment at Glow Bar, Inverness. The owner of Hootananny, Kit’s always on form and told us his secrets to being happy. We enjoyed not only his talk but the accompanying cocktails, too!

L is for… The Legion, Dingwall

Marian and the staff at The Legion in Dingwall have been very supportive for our trekkers Rosie and Fiona, laying on Tune Bingo and a successful Christmas Fayre for people in the town. We loved the singalong and the mulled wine!

M is for… our Mad May Mile friends

Thanks to Gus Macdonald for allowing us to run riot in daft costumes around Whin Park one day in May! We raised around £1,000 - and a few eyebrows - on the day!

R is for… Roy and Morag MacGregor

Roy and his wife Morag have always been so supportive of Birchwood Highland’s Easter Ross service. We enjoyed hosting them in the newly-refurbished offices on Invergordon High Street, where speeches from service users explaining the difference Birchwood Highland had made to their lives left most of the happy gang in tears.

R is also for… Our runners

Three runners all the way from Switzerland supported Birchwood Highland in September's Loch Ness Marathon. Thanks to Sabine and Estelle ran the Marathon and Stefano and Jake ran the 10K. Jess also ran the 10K for us.  They raised over £1,357. Thanks also to Gwen Peddle who raised £450 single-handedly in the Brodie Castle 10k!

S is for… Socially-aware businesses

We’re delighted to say that two people who use our service will be taking on the trek in the Himalayas and to speed them on their way local firms Innes & Mackay and Castle Group Security have donated £500 and £1000 respectively to their fundraising pots. Thank you for your generosity!

T is for… Our intrepid trekkers

This April nine brave souls will take on the Himalayas. With a special package created by Julia McLeay of Spirit Journeys Worldwide, we are packing our bags for the trip of a lifetime. Our thanks go to the wonderful Julia for all of her help in planning and herding us all into position! Special thanks and good luck wishes go to Kelly Howley of Clark Thomson Insurance, Rosie Deverell of Birchwood Highland’s Recovery Centre, Birchwood Highland Support Worker Andrea, Birchwood Highland Community Services Manager Linda Birnie, Fundraising Manager Pauline Burnett and the wonderful Fiona MacKenzie, Andrew, Breck and Anthony for all of their fundraising efforts and commitment to getting fit! We salute you! Race you to the top!

If you would like to donate to the trekking team, click here.

T is also for… Teenage Fanclub

The fabulous band allowed us to use the lyrics to ‘Save’, one of their great songs, for a film we made at Belladrum. The film reached over 16,000 people on Facebook. To view it go to our Facebook page. 

V is for… V8 Café

Ronnie Dyce and his team laid on a prize bingo night for Andrea Morgan, one of our trekkers. Basket supper and bingo… what’s not to like?! 

Y is for… You

Without your ongoing hard work and dedication in your day to day work as well as your support for Birchwood Highland's wider objectives, including its fundraising efforts, we wouldn't be half as successful as we have been or have had as much fun this year.

Thank you for 2016. We look forward to more great achievements, fun and excitement in 2017.