Sunday 1 August
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 are due to install full accessible toilets by year’s end.
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!
I love the synchronous magic that happens between people when they come into the Salisbury Centre, whether it's for the first time or after decades of history with this place. You can often find me here meditating with a group of mindfulness practitioners, or wandering happily in the garden. It's been a joy to have contributed to the team of trustees over the last year in this time of change and growth within the Centre.
Neil is originally from Aberdeen but has lived in Edinburgh for over thirty-five years, most of which has been spent as a local resident of the Salisbury Centre. He has been attending events/workshops at the Salisbury Centre since the 1980s and feels a close affinity with the Centre and with its aims. Complementary therapies play a large part in Neil’s life. He has studied massage and qi gong. He is married to a homeopath and reflexologist, and they have two daughters. Neil has a background in administration and finance, having spent all his time in Edinburgh working in the funeral services industry. Neil is a keen supporter of Aberdeen FC and is also part of Edinburgh City’s Walking Football group. He can often be found on his allotment, or browsing in one of Edinburgh’s many second-hand book stores
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.
I have lived in Edinburgh for nearly 40 years, as a mother bringing up my two children, co-director with my ex-husband Jimmy Boyle of the Gateway Exchange for 10 years in the 90s, running a therapy centre in Inverleith called the Mews for 20 years, as a therapist, counsellor, energy healer and more recently interfaith minister. The Salisbury Centre has a special place in my heart as a place for spiritual and personal growth, also for the creative arts. I was a trustee for 10 years and have recently stepped back into this role. I am a regular visitor to Findhorn and am committed to supporting a living connection between this long standing spiritual community and the Salisbury Centre - both are places of light, hope and inspiration for those following their inner calling, whose deepest desire is to lead a heart centred, nature based and ecologically sustainable way of life.
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.
My journey began in Canada, and has evolved across continents, with a focus on learning for sustainability and creating spaces and experiences which enhance individual and community well-being, nurturing a greater capacity to care for our planet. Since qualifying in community education at the University of Edinburgh, I have led several projects in the sustainability sector, complemented by my previous experience in social justice, conflict mediation, outdoor experiential learning and most recently, working with the Eden Project in Cornwall. I believe in making the most of what Mary Oliver called ‘this one wild and precious life’, so in my free time I follow my passions which include being in, on, or beside water, photography, wild spaces, natural health and adventuring with my partner and our dog.
'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.
As a teenager I knew I was looking for something, but it took me years to find out what I was looking for. A centre like the Salisbury Centre, offering many different ways of developing oneself, helped me on the way. I like meeting like-minded people and want to contribute to the Salisbury Centre's work: IT, bookkeeping, fixing things, I was a trustee for a while, any excuse to spend time in the centre. My personal practice is Tai Chi, Okinawa kobudo, transformational breath and many forms of meditation.
As a facilitator and environmental anthropologist, my research and work revolve around human-nature (dis)connection and planetary health. I focus on regenerative culture, transformative learning, seed saving, and the stories we tell of who we are in relation to nature. I’m currently finishing a postgraduate degree at the University of Edinburgh and am passionate about bridging the gap between academic research and community action. Since stumbling across the Salisbury Centre in my first week of living in Edinburgh in 2019, it has become a big part of why I feel at home here. Over the last year and a half, I volunteered as a Climate Champion for the Living Lighter Project, have been involved in community celebrations and events, facilitated workshops on seed saving, and the garden and I have helped each other grow. Having been a keen naturalist and avid seed-saver since my early childhood, I’m excited to join the team to bring our new Seed Library Project to life.
My background is in the voluntary and community sector, most recently at Citizens Advice Scotland, and prior to that in London and Brighton. I have a passion for arts and music (particularly drumming), and really enjoy organising events that are inclusive and uplifting. The Salisbury Centre is clearly a very special place, with a long history and the support of many wonderful people. This sense of community is more important now than ever.
I moved to Edinburgh in August 2018 with my family, starting a new adventure. My two teenaged daughters began at a new school, while my partner (who has family in Edinburgh) and I put our efforts into developing a new home. Back in Spain we left Abrazo House ecological learning centre (www.abrazohouse.org), a project we founded in 2006 in a tiny village near the north coast of Spain. We built it with the help of hundreds of volunteers from all over the world who came to get their hands dirty and learn about ecology, natural building and sustainable living. Now there are a couple of friends staying there and taking the project forward. Professionally, after 20 years as a project manager, administrator and researcher at the University of Deusto, Bilbao, Spain, I quit my job and decided to look for something different, which would allow me make a difference to the environment while developing my spiritual, psychological and creative life. I met the Salisbury Centre community a year ago and I have been volunteering with the Living Lighter Project for the last few months. I feel very much in harmony with the philosophy and ethos of the Centre and I am very happy to be part of this Community. With Gratitude.
Originally from Western Australia, I moved to Edinburgh in 2019 and fell in love with this beautiful city. Having always had a love of nature and wildlife, I studied ecology and went on to work on behaviour-change conservation campaigns, and supporting grassroots groups of young people to take climate action. I am passionate about empowering individuals to create meaningful change in the world, and believe that nurturing people’s wellbeing and creativity is integral to this. ‘My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.’ - Maya Angelou
Olga is currently resident at the Salisbury Centre and helps to organise different Centre events, such as the Monday soup suppers and the seasonal festivals. Olga Bloemen was born in The Netherlands and moved to Scotland quite a few years ago to study Social Anthropology. Now, as a facilitator with Tripod, she supports groups and organisations working for social and ecological justice in Scotland and beyond. She’s interested in how we can support each other to act with hope in this time of climate emergency, and she’s been exploring the Work That Reconnects as a way of taking care of the inner dimension of activism. She is a passionate cook and loves bringing people together to share food and conversation. She tends to agree with Mary Oliver: “There is only one question: How to love this world”
Susannah just recently moved in as a resident of the Salisbury Centre. She helps organise Centre events and offers various creative spaces in the Centre. A full bio is on the way.
Over 30 volunteers are currently involved in the daily life of the Centre. They are crucial to running the daily meditations, upkeeping the garden, preparing the different community meals, organising events, supporting the administration work, running the library, looking after the plants and the building and so much more!
The Salisbury Centre is a thriving community and this section is due to be shortly updated with the profiles of those contributing to it so generously.