A celebration of the 40th anniversary of Craigard Day Centre
The Day Centre opened its doors on the 5th of December 1977, becoming the first Adult Day Centre in the Western Isles. The building had previously been home to a succession of North Uist District Council Clerk and Welfare Officers. Following the establishment of The Western Isles Islands Council in 1975, the decision was taken to transform the building into a centre where people with a range of needs – physical, learning and emotional – who were often isolated, with limited opportunities, could meet socially, learn new skills and take part in meaningful activity.
The original ethos was to enable people to achieve their potential and to allow them to contribute their skills and abilities to the wider community. To this end, several local craftspeople became involved and taught their skills to groups and individuals, and a huge range of activities were provided, so that everyone could find something that they were able to learn and accomplish. The work was produced to a very high standard and sold regularly at sales from the centre, showing the members and the rest of the community, how valuable their contribution to island life could be. Particularly in demand from local fishermen, were the handmade lobster creels.
Over the years since then, many different people have used the centre. Some have attended for short periods of need and for others it has provided a structure to their lives over many years. Staff, volunteers and students on work experience, have all contributed to, and learned from, the constantly evolving, lively, supportive dynamic.
Members of the community still support the work of the centre, attending sales and open days, teaching skills and making donations. Some have quietly and faithfully made substantial regular donations which have enabled many extra events to happen – you know who you are!
Much of the work of the service now takes place outside of the centre – at work experiences, at community venues, activity classes etc., but still the centre itself is a hub, for meeting friends, planning activities and pursuing and developing ones own work and interests. The emphasis remains on supporting people to achieve their utmost and to get the most out of life.
“Craigard has provided the Uist community with an excellent resource over the years. In a friendly setting, dedicated and caring staff have supported a wide range of creative pastimes and stimulating activities where each individual’s skills and talents were maximised. Importantly, everyone benefited from the opportunity to socialise and form friendships, while at the same time, family carers were offered a break from their full time caring duties.”
Iain MacAulay, former Director of Social Work