01316675438 2 Salisbury Road, Edinburgh, EH16 5AB
About UsOur Community

Our Community

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.

The Trustees

Colin Abdul-Malik Orr

Trustee

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!

Kristine Mackenzie-Janson

Trustee

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.

Israel Salinas García

Trustee

Colombian Born. Sociologist/community development worker, Reiki master and holistic therapist. Working with the board since 2014 .

Sara Trevelyan

Trustee

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.

The Team

Alan Mitchell

Living Lighter Project Gardener

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.

Brenna Nyznik

Living Lighter Project Manager

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.

Francesco Benvenuti

Events Administrator

'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' - Clarissa Pinkola Estes. Hi, I am Francesco and my daily life purpose is to become a better version of myself. Originally from Italy, I have spent many years travelling, training and working across Central/South America, Asia & Australia, becoming deeply inspired by world tribal spiritual traditions, Natural laws and Shamanic practices. In the process I have studied to become a Shiatsu Massage 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 group harmonic mantra chanting with my partner Katie in our 'The Inner Cheile' duo. Yet, I have also completed a degree in Ecology and dedicated the past 10 years in Edinburgh to social-environmental activism and community building. 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.

Geetam

Volunteer administration support and accountant

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.

Maria Almudena Garrido-Diez

Office Administrator

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.

Mika Moriyama

Living Lighter Project Volunteer and Outreach worker

Originally from Western Australia, I have just recently moved to Edinburgh and am excited to be in 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

Virginia Bjertnes

Centre Manager

Originally from Switzerland, I have been living in Edinburgh for the last four years. I started in my manager role here at the Salisbury Centre in June 2019. Before that, my personal and professional journey got me involved in various fields of the Third Sector; social justice, climate change, social work and even contemporary arts. I am also currently a storytelling apprentice with the Scottish Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh and work a few hours a week with a City of Edinburgh Council project called Seasons which are creative drop-in sessions for people suffering from mental ill health. I like to approach life as Jane Goodall once expressed: “You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”

The Residents

Olga Bloemen

Resident & Community Development Worker

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 Phillipson

Resident & Community Development Worker

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.

The Volunteers

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.