A Place to be Real Together


by Tony Jaques
Monday 6th July 2020

That headline sounds dramatic, doesn't it? But I don't apologise. These are dramatic times, for many other charities and for Othona. You may well have been wondering how we'll weather the storm.

Today I'd like to offer you a broad brush picture of Othona's finances. For everybody who cares how we'll survive - and if we will.

I've checked this for accuracy with our treasurer and chair of trustees, but this is my own overview - not an accountant's report.

The briefest summary of all goes something like this:

1. In the last nine months we've spent more than half our reserves in improvements at our two centres in Essex and Dorset. (Watch the video below to see what's been happening here at West Dorset!)

... Read More

by Tony Jaques
Saturday 4th July 2020

Othona began in Essex where our other centre is to this day. The landscape is very different there, but like us they are near the sea on a stretch of relatively unspoilt coast.

Way across the fields, near the village of Bradwell, you see two large buildings remaining from the old nuclear power station (Bradwell A) that stopped generating back in 2002. But go there today and you'd also see all sorts of heavy equipment digging boreholes to test the feasibility of a second nuclear station, Bradwell B.

This annotated sketch shows you the relative positions and sizes of... Read More

by Robin Shaw
Saturday 4th July 2020

A BIG thank you to Low Carbon Dorset as part of the European Regional Development Fund for a grant of almost £14,000. This funding is enabling us to install photovoltaic panels, mechanical ventilation with heat recovery and an air source heat pump in our new Four Seasons Studio. As a result, we will be saving a huge 14.9 tonnes of CO2 from Dorset air each year. Thank you so much!

by Robin Shaw
Friday 22nd May 2020

This year we were going to open Othona West Dorset’s new Four Season’s Studio and our Dorset Art Weeks exhibition was planned to spread from there into our lovely Chapel. Obviously, this is not going to happen this year so we thought we would provide a taster exhibition online instead, as the artists have all been busy making work to show you. This gives us the added bonus of being able to post video links for some artists.

We invite you to 'Wide Open DAW - a Dorset Art Weeks exhibition goes online!

Our group of established and emerging artists all... Read More

by Elizabeth Sayers
Friday 24th April 2020

Thank you for all your messages of support for the Community. We love hearing from you and sharing your experience. 

We are all looking forward to the time when the centres can be reopened and we can once again enjoy a warm, welcoming community at both centres. Until that happens these are just some of the actions that the Trustees are taking to make sure that our staff at the centres stay safe and well and that Othona comes through this time in as good a position as possible. 

Othona Finances

As you know, following government guidelines, the centres have cancelled their programmes and closed to visitors until restrictions are lifted. Like all small businesses, having no income for an unknown length of time puts considerable pressure on our... Read More

by Tony Jaques
Friday 20th March 2020

With regret we have cancelled all our planned events up to and including the Annual Quiet Day on 7th May.

We'll review this decision early in April and decide what further cancellations may be necessary. Dorset Art Weeks (in which Othona participates) has also been cancelled, affecting our programme from 23 May to 7 June.

During the time of closure we are doing all we can to sustain a sense of community among our many friends near and far. We will be keeping in touch via our e-newsletters. So if you don't already receive it but would like to, you can sign up here for our newsletter!

Thank you to... Read More

by Tony Jaques
Thursday 12th March 2020

Are you coming to stay with us? Or considering a booking? You may want to know how we’re responding to the outbreak of Covid-19. We aim to take all reasonable measures to keep everyone at Othona safe and healthy.

Measures against infection

  • We recently changed all towels in toilets and shower rooms, as in our kitchen, from cotton to single-use recycled paper towels
  • We have increased our regular sanitising of e.g. door handles, switches and handrails
  • We are displaying simple reminder information about e.g. handwashing
  • We have plentiful supplies of soap, tissues etc.
  • You are welcome to bring any protective items you wish to use

If someone becomes unwell

by Robin Shaw
Thursday 5th March 2020

Four Seasons Studio, our new multi-purpose building that's being built on the site of our beloved but bedraggled Art Building continues to grow right before our very eyes. We are very excited and fascinated having a front row seat to its construction. Hats off (or maybe 'on' given the miserable weather?!) to Dave Fowler's building team. They have carried on working throughout the storms (Respect!) and have begun the internal fitting phase of FSS.

You can see for yourself in this short 40 second video recorded at the beginning of Feb. And/or have a look at our Four Seasons Studio Team page and/or... Read More

by Tony Jaques
Monday 20th January 2020

As you know, Othona isn't just a place but a loose-knit community of people. Those of us who live and work here would be absolutely lost without many others who give their time and effort in all sorts of ways!

One such way is practical volunteering. We're experimenting this year with a new pattern for this kind of help. We've begun scheduling Local Volunteers Days (LVD) for which you can sign up online, using Eventbrite. There will usually be places for just 6 volunteers per LVD.

Does this seem bureacratic? Why not just turn up?... Read More

by Tony Jaques
Wednesday 15th January 2020

We had become very aware over the last few years that the toilet and washing facilities in Community House were in need of a serious overhaul. They were cramped and hard to keep clean, the showers weak and not always hot enough, etc. These facilities dated back to the time our warden, Tony Jaques, first took on the role - 25 years ago this April 2020. Thank you for your patience with them (and Tony? Just kidding ;-D)!

Well...it's happening!!! Working with a local architect and designer, we have planned a toilets and washrooms revolution! The first floor washing area will be totally transformed. The work has now started and we are closed for residential events until end of Feb 2020. Roll Up Your... Read More