Thursday 22 February
The Salisbury Centre is a thriving community of people. We hold regular community events where newcomers to the Centre are very welcomed. Our community is composed of a wide diversity of people, some come occasionally and others have been involved for a number of years.
We welcome people from all faiths and backgrounds. Our intention is to be as inclusive as possible to all, inviting people from all genders, ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientations, class and ages. The ground floor is wheelchair accessible and we have recently installed full accessible toilets.
I am now retired from my working life as a social worker, educator and manager as well as a psychotherapist working in the voluntary sector and privately. My first contact with the Salisbury Centre was through my psychotherapy training which brings together western and Buddhist understanding of human behaviour. Since then I have followed a Buddhist path and have worked in the Salisbury centre and attended classes and events there. From 2012 to 2017 I was a trustee of the Centre, and saw it through difficult and challenging times. Since my retirement from psychotherapy I have run some groups there and been involved in thinking about how the Centre could look. In early 2020 I rejoined the board as a trustee. I love the beauty of the Centre, and its central message of bringing heart mind and body together in a spiritual path. Not always easy but always rewarding
Colin Abdul-Malik Orr has been a trustee of the Salisbury Centre for 2 years, and facilitator of the Friday evening Sufi Dhikr group for over 3 years. He is a student of the Sufi Shaykh, Shaykh Nazim. He works as a gardener, but has had previous careers as a bookseller and as a mental health worker. His home is in Fife, which is why he is rarely seen at the Salisbury Centre during the day!
Neill Walker is Scottish, born in South Queensferry, Edinburgh, and is very actively involved in spiritual, social, cultural, environmental, and political events and projects in Scotland. Neill is also a freelance photographer who photographs widely across contemporary Scottish society.
Following a long career in the corporate world, I started The Surefoot Effect, CIC after receiving an award for Social Innovation in 2012. Surefoot supports organisations tackling the Climate Emergency and social justice issues. My work includes training facilitators for group work, resilience workshops, mentoring, assisting community groups with defining and working with their values, and working with corporates to lower carbon impacts. Via Surefoot I’ve secured funding for and managed several Erasmus+ projects with European partners in the Adult Education strand, focusing on tackling the climate emergency and building resilience for individuals and communities. I am on the board of the Scottish Communities Climate Action Network and a facilitator of Natural Change, a programme offering transformative experiences of nature for wellbeing, resilience and purpose. I have a Masters degree in Environmental Architecture and was previously Centre Manager at the Salisbury Centre. My love for the place has brought me back in this role.
My connection with the Salisbury Centre dates back to the early 1990s when I enrolled in Taiji, overtone singing and other classes. My early career centred on the research and development of writing aids for people who use Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) because they have little or no speech. I also developed educational software and toys in partnership with special schools and AAC centres in the UK and Sweden. My interest in Taiji and Qigong led me to study Shiatsu. On qualifying, I helped to set up and run a Shiatsu clinic in the New Town with other practitioner partners. Latterly, I was the manager/administrator of Communication Matters for 15 years; Communication Matters is a UK-wide charity supporting people who use AAC and the professionals who work with them. Most days find me outdoors with my camera, aiming to capture and share something of the beauty in this extraordinary world of ours.
I have always had a deep love of nature, animals and exploring having grown up in a small village surrounded by fields, woods and farm land. Throughout my summers during my degree I spent my time travelling and volunteering around the World. I moved to Edinburgh to complete my undergraduate degree in Sports Science and completed my course in Sports Massage and Cupping. After this degree, I moved to New Zealand for two years, where I volunteered at a number of permaculture farms and spent much of my time exploring the beautiful lakes, mountains and coast lines. On returning home I studied massage therapies and have a great passion for alternative therapies. During my studies I worked for the Go Green Team at Edinburgh College, specifically working with students to help them reduce their carbon foot-print. I am very excited to join the Salisbury centre team and to work with such a beautiful community.
I moved to Edinburgh in 2021 to do an MA in Arts, Cultural and Festival Management. My involvement with Salisbury Centre started with a poetry reading around the fire for the 2022 Spring Equinox. I immediately felt the warmth and connection to this beautiful place and its community. Soon after I started running the Community Movement and Theatre Workshops, as well as helping with admin work. With the completion of my studies, the role of the Facilities Manager became available in the Salisbury Centre and I saw it as an opportunity to learn from and grow with the Salisbury Centre community. I feel privileged and excited to be working in this place, and I hope to contribute to the accepting, vibrant and colourful community life at the Centre.
Hi, I'm Alan. My gardening interests are more in permaculture and forest gardens, I'm keen to introduce much more edible stuff all around the garden and more native wildflowers. Currently I also teach spoon carving and whittling. I have also worked in forestry, habitat surveying and conservation. I like a bit of foraging and hope to make people more aware of the wild plants in the garden that are not weeds, but free food. Also hoping to do more laughter yoga, perhaps here in the garden.
'One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times' - cfr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes. Hi, I am Francesco and I strive everyday to become a better version of myself. Originally from Italy, I have completed a degree in Ecology at Edinburgh University and dedicated the past 10 years contributing to social-environmental activism and community building. I also have had many years travelling, training and working across Central/South America, Asia & Australia, becoming deeply inspired by grassroots networks and by tribal spiritual traditions, Natural laws and Shamanic practices from all around the World. In the process I have studied to become a Shiatsu Practitioner, Movement Instructor, Singing voice facilitator, Ceremonial space holder and a Carrier of the Sacred Fire. I am currently the co-founder of the international Lotus Consciousness Network and share my passion for rituals & group mantra chanting with my partner Katie in our Inner Cheile duo. I am now deeply honoured and committed to be helping the Salisbury Centre to thrive, and to help narrowing the gap between Spirituality, Creativity and Activism.
Resident & Community Development Lead
I love living at the Salisbury Centre. It feels close to living in a village, with a rich tapestry of different generations and life experiences weaving together to support and inspire one another. As Community Development Coordinator I imagine my role as a mycelial network amongst the roots of our Salisbury Centre ecosystem, supporting the exchange and connecting of ideas. Outside of the Salisbury Centre I offer student-led mentoring and creative projects to teenagers in East Lothian, supporting them to find and explore what they love. My deepest wish is to support myself and others to grow and thrive in love; through community, creativity and education.
Becoming a resident of The Salisbury Centre at the beginning of 2022 felt like a manifestation of what I'd been calling in for my whole life. Community living, shared ownership, collective decision-making, and nurturing a place and community together - these ideas always inspired me. I see them as the way forward for our society. Day to day, I work quite a lot, because I enjoy my work! Some of it consists of developing ideas and writing them down. Some of it is in event organizing and community development. At the Salisbury Centre, I co-lead an Authentic Connection Group where people come to experiment with new ways of communicating and expressing themselves to generate more connection. Relationships stemming out of this group have been one of the most potent spaces for my growth. When I don't work, I like being outside - running, walking, hiking, and recently also gardening. I want to learn how to grow my own food. I also like just being at home, reading, writing, having friends over, and playing games. I appreciate my home more and more, and it's especially easy when that home is The Salisbury Centre. I feel really held, nurtured, and supported here.