Report from the Chairperson 2008

The year 2007-2008 has seen great strides in the development of the Pitcaple Project. This is in no small measure thanks to the many generous donations both financially and in kind from many different sources.

A recent grant was received from the Aggregates Levy. This enabled the resurfacing of the road at the side of the site and the extension of the path along the tree trail and the creation of a small car park.

The folks working at Pitcaple prepared the hanging baskets which were installed around Inverurie. For their work a donation £750 has been received from the Inverurie Environmental Improvement Group. This money was used to purchase a Cement Mixer and Rotary Sifter, with a digital camera, printer and laminator to be purchased later.

The Kintore Trust was able to donate £3,000 towards the acquisition of an all terrain wheelchair which makes getting up the hill a great deal easier.

A work squad from Nexen has finished off the Pagoda and constructed the raised beds to facilitate gardening from a wheelchair and we look forward to the support from Nexen continuing in the future.

Similarly the group from Conoco have been able to tidy up the wooded area at the top of the site and provide homes for small furry creatures.

The Garioch Charity shops were able to donate £300 for tools and equipment. The Mary Salmond Trust (which I think includes the First Minister’s salary) gave a donation of £500 for a freezer.

The Brownington Foundation has kindly donated £10,000 for a piece of purpose designed sculpture to go into the Heritage Garden. The design of this garden was a project for the Landscape Design students at SAC Craibstone. The garden will be an ongoing project and may take a few years to complete and then it will mature over the years into a fascinating area which will tell a story of the heritage of the North East and be an extension of the sensory garden.

Lady Aberdeen has also been a benefactor for the garden with a donation of £500 from a fundraising event that she organised last year.

The Daviot Community Cafe has given us £100 for miscellaneous equipment.
The Awards for All scheme has given us £10,000 for the Biofuels garden (to be planted in the Autumn), Heritage garden and under storey pathway through the beech hedges.

The Rotary Club of Inverurie has given us £500 which will also be used for equipment in the Heritage/Sensory garden.

John Bell Pipelines has kindly donated £5,000 for the purchase of an electrically powered truck.

Recently, thanks to the involvement of Tony Archer from Aberdeen Forward, a Community Composting Facility has been installed on the site.

There have been numerous donations form individuals and well-wishers alike, in fact too many to name but we thank them all for their generosity and help.

Towards the end of 2006 we employed the services of a professional fundraiser, Kay Diack. A lot of the money received is due entirely to her efforts – our fundraiser extra ordinary. Kay works tirelessly for PEP Ltd and will now be concentrating on the fundraising for the Visitor Centre. Our goal is to build a visitor centre where you can come and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee and a fine piece or a plate of soup. You will be able to purchase produce grown on the site or other goods manufactured both onsite and at other employment and training facilities. You will be able to dispose of your garden waste for composting and buy a bag of compost. You can learn about renewable and sustainable forms of energy.

The visitor centre will be built from renewable materials and we aim to keep the carbon footprint as low as possible. Pitcaple will become a demonstration of sustainable excellence. If you have a spare £600,000 or £6 towards this major development we will be delighted to sign you up as a Shareholder in PEP Ltd.
We have also been fortunate in the support we have had in kind. There are a number of volunteers who have given of their time and talents to work on the project – Marolyn Mackie, Werner Leye, Gillan Bishop, Alice Macdonald and Carmen Turner. We are grateful for the support from these volunteers and very much appreciate their help and there is always room for more.

In addition to the visitor centre a new craft training workshop is to be built on the site of one of the existing buildings by Social Services. This will provide facilities to employ a larger number of service users at the site, working on a variety of crafts and skills. It is hoped that in the not too distant future we will be able to cater for 30 to 35 service users. Work will start in the New Year and be complete by the time of the next AGM, we hope.

So I hope you will take time to come and walk around the site and see all the developments and the areas of interest such as the Sensory Garden and the Tree Trail where with the information boards sponsored by the Aggregates Levy and Scottish Parliament, will tell you about the various species of trees. Other developments which are still being planned or awaiting completion, will require imagination.

To everyone who has contributed in any way to the success of the project a very big thank-you from me and the Board. Your contribution is greatly appreciated. If I have missed anyone out please accept my apologies and thanks for your contribution.
But last and by no means least are the service users themselves. The Project was conceived and developed to provide them with employment and training, to give them a better quality of life and to enable them to reach their potential. We must never lose sight of that core aim. The service users who come here all enjoy the work and the camaraderie with others and with the staff. Some of them have been TV stars and often feature in the local press receiving donations. This stardom is very justified as much of what you see here is thanks to their hard work so we should also say a big thank-you to them.

Thank you.

Colin Stirling Chairman.

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