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Contact: Andrew Plant or Tineke Taylor
Address: Milltown Community
Milltown is a small and dynamic community in rural Aberdeenshire. Through living and working together, making connections in the local area and taking part in a wide variety of activities, we encourage people to learn new skills and reach their potential.
We have two houses and a Day Workshop. Milltown House is a registered care home with five residents and Peesie's Knapp is registered for housing support and care at home for two tenants. Altogether 22 people live and work in the two houses.
Milltown Day Workshop provides day services for another 17 people with a variety of disabilities who live locally. The Day Workshop is run by a team of workshop co-ordinators and volunteers. Activities include restoring donated tools for 'Tools for Self Reliance', crafts, working in the gardens and the smallholding. We also make a range of woodwork items for customers and grow plants, which we sell in our small shop.
MILLTOWN DAY WORKSHOP CELEBRATES 20 YEARS
On 15th April the Day Workshop at Milltown Community held a celebration to mark its 20 anniversary, attended by residents and friends, local Councillors and the local MP, Stuart Donaldson.
Before the celebration cake was cut Richard Firth told the story of when the Day Workshop had first begun in 1996 with just him and Andrew Irvine. Richard spoke about the main motive behind setting up the Day Workshop - a motive that is still valid 20 years later. He said that everybody wants to feel appreciated, have a laugh and have some useful work to do that gives them a sense of achievement.
The workshop has come a long way since the early days when the emphasis was on sawing firewood to keep the stove going and restoring donated hand tools for Tools for Self Reliance project.
There is now a large greenhouse, a polytunnel and cold frames for growing plants and a small shop for selling the plants, restored garden tools and wood work items.
There is also a new purpose built workshop for the wood working enterprise. Among all the things they make there, the wood working group have made sets of storytelling chairs and seats for two local schools.
There is a Community Garden with raised beds for small scale vegetable growing; willows are grown for making living willow structures, and there is a clay oven for baking pizzas and bread.
There is a yurt for taking shelter in bad weather and for the occasional drumming session.
Some local potters built a wood fired kiln in the Community Garden that is just beginning to come into use.
In addition to all of this the Workshop people spend time in a neighbour's woodland harvesting firewood for the Milltown stoves and taking part in woodcraft activities.
Later this year there will be another celebration as the 100th Tools for Self-Reliance tool kit is completed and dispatched to Malawi for the use of men and women with disabilities.
As Richard said in his speech, 'provided we can stick to the values that have brought us this far I don't think we will go too far wrong and I hope that in 20 years time someone else is here talking about the years 20 to 40.'