We popped along yesterday to the open day at Orkney Blide Trust in Victoria Street Kirkwall; where we were greeted by the delightful Ashlie and given a tour of the building.
Orkney Blide Trust is a charity and a voluntary organisation; which offers a befriending and a support network for people with mental health issues and their carers. It gives a meeting point for people to socialise, whilst at the same time building up confidence in the people using the facility enabling them to be an integral part of society.
They have a kitchen and small cafe on site which caters via a lunch box, both for eating in or for takeout, which is served in environmentally friendly compostable packaging. Going by the smiling faces in the cafe I’d say the lunch is a great success.
We then went up into the beautiful gardens which are normally extremely tranquil, however yesterday we were all able to have a little bop to the fantastic music being played for the open day in a tented disco area.
From there we went through into the lounge area where Ashlie very kindly gave us a video interview; in which she explained better than I ever could, just what Orkney Blide Trust means to those that use the support being offered.
Whilst we were wandering through the gardens we spoke with the resident gardener David Sneesby, who was telling us that not only does he take care of the gardens in Victoria Street, but how they now look after the Tankerness House Gardens. They discovered through Gary Burton head of Sport and Leisure at Orkney Islands Council; that the gardening yard was to be demolished, so they struck an agreement which allows them to use the yard through a ten year lease; in return for the upkeep of the Gardens which had fallen foul of Council cutbacks. He went on to tell us how they’ve been building up through a European Social Fund Grant; which has enabled them to employ two full time and two part time workers who are members of Orkney Blide Trust; with David himself acting as gardening adviser. They have also ventured out into private grass cutting and also grow there own vegetables, shrubs and summer bedding plants, which you can buy at four for £5, which I duly did. The idea is to build up enough stock to be able to sell everything next year as a going concern, both to the public and for landscaping.
On site there is also an administration and meeting room.
This is an organisation which is truly an asset to our community and one which I am more than happy to encourage people to go along and support.
Here is a slideshow of the beautiful gardens which can be found just to the rear of Orkney Blide Trust which you can find on Victoria street, Kirkwall.
Reported on by Helen and Kenny Armet