On Tuesday 6th November 2018 we conducted the Milltown Community AGM, attended by tenants, family, co-workers and of course chair and board members. We also made time for socialising and refreshments.





Chartering for Involvement!


My name is Ben Payne and I live at Milltown Community in Aberdeenshire. I like getting involved in campaigns and meetings to give those with intellectual disabilites a voice. At my community we have Inclusive Meetings which are meetings where the tenants can speak out about things that are important to them or the community.

In early 2018 I went to a Keys To Life Refresher meeting in Inverurie. At the meeting I found out a little bit about something called The Charter for Involvement and was really interested.

The Charter for Involvement was written by the National Involvement Network under ARC Scotland. The Charter has 12 statements that say how people who use support services want to be involved, treated and respected. Lots of organisations have already signed up to the Charter to say they would make involvement better for the people they support. I wanted to do that at Milltown so I told co-worker, Kirsty, about it and asked if she could arrange an Inclusive Meeting to see if our community liked the idea of signing up also.

Kirsty and I worked together to make a power point presentation to explain the Charter in an easy way to all the tenants and workers. At the end of each meeting I asked if every one wanted to join. Everyone agreed and said ‘yes’!

We then wrote up an Action Plan to detail what we were going to do to improve certain things in line with the 12 statements. We also wrote down the things we were already doing well at. At the community council meeting in August I presented The Charter once more to get their go ahead to officially sign up. They were very impressed and agreed with all of The Charter’s principles. David Nicoll, the chairman signed the Charter for Involvement Certificate which Kirsty sent to ARC Scotland along with the action plan. ARC Scotland’s response said we are now officially signed up and told us that we are the 70th organisation to do so. I am very pleased that we have signed up and hope to complete our action plan by next year!


 'Having fun at Milltown Family Day 2018. This year's theme was Outcomes.'






Happy Easter from everyone at Milltown








Family Fun Day 2017

On the 1st of July we were delighted to once again welcome a large number of our tenant’s family members to Milltown Family Day.

We had a welcome speech from Ben which included a brief presentation about what midsummer and St. John means in various cultures across Europe and in the UK.

We then split up into various groups to take part in fun activities such as pizza making, crafts and team building. At lunchtime we enjoyed the delicious pizzas from our own kitchen along with salads and fruit punch.

After lunch we reassembled in the wood workshop. We were met by our new workshop manager Juliet who spoke to us about what she had planned for the future and about the new workshop office which is nearing completion. Next the tenants took turns in delivering presentations on what they had been doing over the past year. This was very interesting and entertaining, and used words, photographs and a little Makaton.

A huge bonfire was lit in the field and we all sang a song as the flames roared. This was very fitting as it symbolised the driving out of winter and the onset of summer, the basic theme of midsummer celebrations across the globe.

Finally we all left our finger marks in bright colours on a huge painting of a tree. This will be mounted on the outside of one of our buildings for all to see.

Just as last year a great time was had by all, and we were lucky to be spared the rain.  Roll on Family Day 2018.




Sea View Cafe, Stonehaven.

Two days a week Ben attends Forest View day centre in Stonehaven.  Forest View recently set up a cafe and Ben was asked if he would like to spend one of his days working there.  The ideas is that Ben will gain many skills through his work which will all help towards his plan to one day achieve independent living.

Ben says: ‘This is me in the Sea View Cafe in the community centre in Stonehaven where I work one day a week.  I started here in December 2016.  My duties include washing up, clearing tables and some baking’.


In the photo you will see that Ben is holding a frame which hangs on the wall in the cafe.  It reads:  ‘Sea View supports me to be more independent’.





March 3rd 2017


Nissan Leaf

Milltown Community are proud to announce the arrival of their new electric car.  After much painstaking research by Andrew Plant and an inclusive meeting - which was attended by tenants and co-workers - Milltown voted in favour of a trade in for a new Nissan Leaf.  Our Nissan is 100% electric so produces zero emissions as opposed to our thirsty diesel cars and is a pleasure to drive.  It has a good range on full charge and co-workers are learning how to drive it in an economical way, and where it can be charged up whilst out in the wider community. We have also had a dedicated charging point installed at Milltown so that we are always ready to go.  Our Nissan has proved to be a big hit with both co-workers and tenants and is now the default car for most outings.

We feel that it has been a very good move and hope that other communities will be inspired to look into getting their own electric vehicles.


Milltown House 06.03.17





Milltown Family Fun Day


On the 2nd of July 2016 we were  delighted to greet the  families of  Milltown Community tenants at the Family Fun Day.  Despite all attempts by the weather to keep us indoors we managed to have a tug of war, and egg and spoon race, a barbeque and quiz which all took place on the front lawn in the glorious sunshine.  In the afternoon we had a presentation in the wood workshop which was a great chance for everyone to catch up on the events of the previous year and to reflect on life at Milltown.  Tenants Ben, Duncan, Michelle and Tony all gave a short talks on how  they had been involved over the past twelve months and what they most enjoyed about Milltown life.  Everyone had a great time thoroughly enjoyed coming together in the spirit of fun and togetherness.


We hope you enjoy looking at the photographs taken during the day.








My name is Ben Payne. I lived at home with my Mum and Dad and brother but I wanted to move out. So I went to Milltown Community for a visit and then I stayed for a trial visit. I really enjoyed it, especially working in the Tools Workshop. I re-furbished tools that were sent to Malawi for people to use. I enjoyed chatting with everybody in the workshop and making new friends.


I moved into Milltown House on June 6th 2015. I have a big bedroom. I live with 4 other tenants. Everyone here is very friendly and nice. I work in the Tools workshop on Monday and Tuesdays. On Wednesdays I have a day off. Sometimes I go swimming and spend time in the gym. I also go to the cinema and go to a cafe for lunch and do my shopping. I go to Forest View Day Centre in Stonehaven on Thursdays and Fridays where I do ASDAN courses. I go on the Aberdeenshire Council bus.


At the weekends we go to watch the Brechin City home games and we go to the pub afterwards. On 3rd April some of us went to see Aberdeen play Hamilton Academicals. Aberdeen won 3 nil.


On Sundays my friend Duncan and me go to Arbuthnott church. Some friends of Milltown give us a lift and they take us to other church activities. I always wanted to join the Church of Scotland and so they helped me talk to the minister and he helped me and so I joined the Church on 13th March. I stood up in the front of the church and I felt very nervous and the Church Elders shook my hand. My parents came and we went for a meal afterwards.


I really like to watch the news and politics on my TV. On 16th September 2015 some of us went to a reception at the Scottish Parliament. I met a lot of MSPs and I got some autographs. On May 5th I will be voting at the Arbuthnott Hall for the first time. I am reading all the election leaflets that come through the post and I will ask the people in the Hall to help me fill in my vote so I don’t make a mistake.

Now I am living in Milltown Community I can do lots of new things and I am learning to do more things for myself and to be more independent. The next thing I want to learn is to go to visit my family on the train. We are going to work on this.


One day I want to move out of Milltown and live in a flat by myself with people coming in to support me when I need help.






On 15th April the Day Workshop at Milltown Community held a celebration to mark its 20 anniversary. The invitation had gone out, the cakes had been baked and many old and new friends came for the day, including local Councillors and the local MP, Stuart Donaldson.

‘The two pioneers, Richard (on the left) and Andrew (on the right) with local MP Stuart Donaldson’ 


Before the celebration cake was cut Richard Firth welcomed everyone and 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.


Milltown Day 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. Over the years there have many developments. 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

And, as a sign of this success, 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.’


Newsletter May 2015


Hello and welcome to the May issue of Milltown day workshops newsletter this month has been a little quieter than most but we’ve still been had at work.


We had the family day on Saturday the 30th and it went very well and was enjoyed by all.


We also had a car boot sale that went very well and we sold £69 worth of tools.


The woodwork shop has been hard at work most of May making art screens unfortunately we don’t have any pictures but we made 10 8ft x 6ft and 10 4ft x 6ft screens which took a lot of work.

Also the woodwork shop has been working on this bench. 


 Sheena and her workers have been hard at work in the greenhouse planting lots of plants ready for summer.



They have also had strawberries which are starting to bear fruit.





Donald has very kindly welded a new door for our outside oven.




The grass cutting is proving to be constant job but has been going well.



And finally as usual the tools workshop have all been hard at work refurbishing lots of old tools but we can always make use of more.



Carved bench


Stuart carved out the frame and shaped the bench, and then Martin sanded and stained and then put it together with help from the guys.

Centre piece

Carl built a centre piece for a wedding with help from everyone.

Advent sale

The advent sale went very well and we sold a lot.

Pot men

Fergus and Terry made these pot men for a order.


The valet was a Christmas present for a customer and was built by Terry.

Refurbished bench

This was repaired by Martin for a customer.

October 1st-31st 2014
Editor’s Note
Hello and welcome to the first issue of the Milltown workshop newsletter, this with be a four times a year newsletter keeping you up to date with everything going on around Milltown.  This edition covers the month of October but in future will cover 3 month blocks.

Stewart’s Storybook chair and mushrooms
Carl built the chair and Stuart has been cutting mushrooms and with help from James, Stuart, Brian and Russell to sand and stain ready to be delivered.

All the mushrooms are ready and some of us are going
to deliver the mushrooms in a fortnights time.

Small garden
This was planted by Sheena with help from Pat and Gavin.
We all helped to sow some seeds in trays before they were
transplanted in to the some garden outside.

The earth kiln which was built by Casper, Stewart, Brian and Russell

The ponies are doing very well.

Advent sale
We have started to make items that we will be selling at the advent sale below is a preview of the type of projects we will be selling.

We have also got a wood lathe and have started to make projects with it.

The Shop is still running and has a wide range of items from tools to gem stones and is open Monday to Friday 9am-4pm.

Upcoming Dates
Workers Meeting – Wednesday 5th Nov 2014
Advent sale – Friday 28th Nov 2014 – Saturday 29th Nov 2014

Final Note
I hope you have enjoyed reading the first edition and stay tuned for the winter edition which should be out around January and be packed with even more exciting content.

Writing - James and Jamie
Pictures  - Eric
Interviewer - Duncan