Bervie Probus

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At the recent meeting of Inverbervie Probus, 20 members heard Chris Greene introduce the speaker, Richard Firth, workshop co-ordinator, Milltown of Arbuthnott.

Richard explained how the community had come about in 1975 at the behest of the late Viscount John Arbuthnott, who had connections with the Camphill Community.

Originally, the Milltown Farmhouse was used as a home and workplace for a small group of people with physical or learning difficulties.

Day Workshops were introduced in 1996 allowing people living locally with similar needs to find somewhere to work safely under supervision.

Currently there are seven people with disabilities whose home is at Milltown.

There are also a further 22 locals who work in the Day Workshop every week.

Milltown try to provide a relaxed atmosphere where people learn new skills and where employment gives a feeling of self worth and self confidence.

Its main source of funding is a contract from Aberdeenshire Council to provide the services.

This covers wages and food.All other costs have to be met from fundraising.

In addition to gardening, growing plants for sale and making wooden bird houses, tables etc, members also get great satisfaction in restoring old, often rusty, tools.

These are then sent to Malawi in conjunction with the “Tools for Self Reliance Group” and to elsewhere in Africa through “Global Concerns Trust”.

The recipients are people with similar handicaps who had felt useless until given the opportunity to train using the restored tools.

This enables them to earn a living or to finance their education by working in carpentry, tailoring and basket making.

Richard made an appeal for any old joinery tools to be passed on to Milltown, particularly saws, hammers, chisels etc.

They would also like to hear from anybody who would wish to offer their services as Trustees. 01561 362 882 or email: milltownoffice@btconnect.com

After Richard answered many questions, Peter Macinnes proposed a vote of thanks for such an interesting and informative talk.