It's a busy time at Alltnacriche. Last weekend, 60cm of snow fell in 36 hours and the snow plough was pressed in to action. The schools residential season starts next week, we are close to completing the re-roofing of the main building and the contractors have now fenced off the site to commence construction of the new staff housing. This a major milestone, and if I'm honest there is a sense of apprehension which is equal to the excitement as all the machinery rolls in.

The staff housing project has been on the agenda for a long time‚ way before I came in to post. Since the appeal to supporters in October 2008, there has been a lot of preparatory work. A small project team was drawn together. Drawings, costings, detailed site, soil, plant and animal surveys, business cases, sustaintability statements and finally a legal agreement were all pre-cursors to obtain full planning permission from the Cairngorms National Park Authority. While one team has been working on the design and the planning process another has focussed on the fund raising, and we have been tremendously blessed as both trusts and individuals have given to the project.

The competitive tender process was completed at the end of January‚ with bids lower than anticipated. On the same day the Board gave approval, the building warrant arrived. At this point we still have a financial shortfall‚ but there is enough in place to commence construction. Through this whole process we have been encouraged by answered prayer - too many to recount. We have been blessed with the involvement of professionals who share the vision of the centre in the project. The manner of the granting of planning permission was completely unexpected. This week, ground works commence on site. Good foundations are important, so we ask you to join with us in prayer for the progress of this project, for the start of this new season of school residentials and SU Holidays ministry at Alltnacriche‚ and the interaction of the project and ministry.

We'll keep you up to date on the blog, and through @SU.

Paul Bayton

I've been leading the team at Alltnacriche since 2008, having been involved with SU Scotland for the best part of 25 years, as a camper, leader, team leader and volunteer at many work parties at Kingscross. I previously worked at RBS and was also a director of a youth work project in Linlithgow, where my family and I lived prior to moving take up this role.