Happy Birthday St Colms aged 40

As they say life begins at 40 and Wednesday saw St Colms reaching that grand old age, and when we arrived at the centre the party was in full flow and bursting at the seams, with people laughing, chatting and dancing all with great gusto. The atmosphere was electric, the air charged with excitement. There was plenty of goodies on hand to refresh any dance weary bodies, giving tasty sustenance for the dancing to continue right up until 3pm, when the party was sadly due to finish.

Happy Birthday being sung below.

St Colms is a care centre in Kirkwall situated of Pickaquoy Road behind the Glaitness Primary School where people with learning and physical disabilities can access the centre’s services from all over Orkney on a daily basis helping to improve their overall well being, giving those that use the facility a focus not to mention lifeskills.

The facility offers a wide range of skills actvities from card making and crafts, to cooking and serving in the cafe to woodworking and gardening and is an essential and integral part of Orkney’s community.

Whilst there, we were given a tour of the woodwork department and the garden and were very impressed with the work areas as all areas have been designed to cater for all needs including the workbenches which are wheelchair friendly.

Many of the products crafted within the workshop are made from reclaimed wood and looking at many of the workbenches whilst there I’d say that the current focus is on a vast array of Christmas goods, Stars, Snowmen, Christmas trees, Reindeer in fact the overall appearance was observed to resemble Santas workshop where elves can be found hard at work.

The actual organisation for the woodwork is called “Wood B’ Good and the products available all year round include:

  • Orkney Creepie £65
  • Bird Table £45
  • Outdoor Name Plaque £12
  • Planters from £32           to name but a few

All of these objects can be found on sale in The St Colms centre intself or very often at Restart on Junction road.

We then went on up into the garden and polytunnel where gardening skills are being learned aided by the Blide Trust with the added bonus of having worderful produce to use at the end. On show were onions drying, tomatoes and grapes on the vine and courgettes to name but a few, with great conotations of wonderful soups being made for hearty lunches throughout the winter months. Some of the harvested produce was on show in the main facility.

The following video is a short walk through the polytunnel

Our guide throughout the facility was Emmy who told us that the staff are made up of employed workers and volunteers with staff often splitting their time between St Colms and The Lifestyles Centre (which can be found beside the swimming pool.) Here is a wee interview with Emmy:

Returning back down stairs we were met with the sound of disco music and dancing with those in their wheelchairs giving a whole new interpretation to Rock n’ Roll, oviously nothing need be an obstacle to dancing. Fiona and I even joined in for a little boogie.

It just goes to show that no matter how able or unable the body, with the right care, encouragement and facilities everybody gets to grow to the best of their ability where happiness is tangiable, it exudes, it encompasses, it emanates, don’t take my word for it, go visit:

St Colms is open from Monday to Friday 9.00am to 4.30pm

The Cafe is open every Friday from 10am to 2pm where I can personally atest to the bacon rolls.

Related Links: Cheese Scones and Bacon Rolls

Reported on by Helen Armet

Video and photo footage by

Fiona Grahame and Helen Armet



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