A Christmas shop with a difference will take place this Friday at a specialist care facility in Perthshire, selling luxury handcrafted woodwork made by adults with learning disabilities and mental health issues.

ASC, which consists of three specialist care facilities in Balbeggie, runs a popular woodworking facility for residents. Their handiwork has been sold and donated privately. On Friday December 20 the facility will be open from 11am, giving the public a chance to purchase a unique gift for Christmas, as well as some home baked goods made by staff.

The range of wooden gifts has been launched under the brand name Lotus Gifts, standing for ‘Loving our talents unique and special’.

Heading up the ASC workshop is Bob Foulds, who is continuously impressed with residents’ skills. Bob said: “I love seeing the progress of the people who use the workshop, and the handiwork they are producing – from ornaments to kitchen utensils – is amazing. They see it as not just a place to learn, but their safe space. We operate it like a Men’s Shed. It’s a place where residents can let off steam or half a laugh. They come to the workshop for a cup of tea and a chat and it relaxes them.”

Bob, a former care worker at the facility, developed the workshop from scratch in a former shed. A retired RAF aeronautical engineer, Bob has used his own hobby as a carpenter and maker to great effect, says Jackie Donley, Home Manager at ASC.

Jackie said: “One of our residents just completed a course in turning and lathe working. They are learning really valuable skills and lessons in life.”

Bob runs the workshop on his own. He says there has never been an accident or incident in the almost five years since he has run it. “When residents come into the workshop, there’s no trouble. They treat the space and myself with great respect.”

At the pop-in Christmas shop, ASC will be selling wooden chopping boards, chopping blocks, spice racks and a range of wooden ornaments, as well as baked goods.