Improving mental health in the Scottish Borders through caring, creativity & collaboration
At Birkhill House CIC is an animal assisted activity and crafting centre near Earlston in the Scottish Borders, which also offers a variety of horticultural opportunities for visiting groups and individuals. Our mission is to improve mental health in the Scottish Borders through caring, creativity and collaboration.
Set on nine acres of beautiful land about 30 miles south of Edinburgh city centre, the workshops take place in renovated stables dating back to the early 1800s. With a rich farming and equine history, the property is now a busy small-holding, whose residents include Huacaya alpacas, rare breed Castlemilk Moorit sheep, pygmy & Golden Guernsey goats, Ragdoll cats, hens, ducks, peafowl and more.
We engage with local groups and schools to provide tailor-made sessions that offer opportunities to be creative, spend time with our animals, enjoy nature and help with the gardens here.
We also offer a mixture of modern and traditional crafting opportunities ranging from pewter casting to embroidery, mosaic to basket weaving for the general public. We launched a bespoke crafting workshop database in the Spring of 2023, which you can find under the crafting tab. We also run ongoing crafting workshop programmes for both adults and children. Our fleece & fibre workshops place emphasis on traditional hand-processing techniques such as skirting, picking, carding and spinning and we use our very own homegrown alpaca and sheep fibres in the process. We offer workshops in knitting, crochet, weaving and felting, supporting learners from beginner to expert stages.
In 2022, we established a natural dye garden on the estate in conjunction with the Scottish Borders Rape Crisis Centre. This is an ongoing project, which has enabled us to develop a series of natural dye and botanical printing workshops. We are actively looking for more groups to participate in the upkeep and expansion of this beautiful space.
Our on-site shop and Etsy shop are filled with kits, patterns and products designed in-house or in conjunction with local makers. Revenue from our shop sales and commercial crafting workshops supports care for our animals and our partnership projects.