fbpx Covid-19 Changes | Othona West Dorset

A Place to be Real Together

Covid-19 Changes

Welcome Back to Community

It’s been a long time without visitors at Othona, but at last we’ll be able to open our doors and we really look forward to seeing you again.

As we open again there are some major changes. There will be fewer people at any one time. We have new precautions and protocols because of the virus. But you’ll also find some lovely new facilities, indoors and out. And for us – maybe for you too – a renewed appetite for being in community with others.

Most of the “Welcome Back to Community” events on offer this autumn and winter follow a similar pattern. You’ll have plenty of time to spend as you wish, because mostly these are events without special themes or facilitators. Instead we’re concentrating on the simplicities of community life. Offering you relaxation, to be sure, but reconnection too.

Zoom and other digital platforms have been a great resource, haven’t they? But at Othona we’re together actually, not virtually. While observing social distancing, we still share healthy home-cooked meals. And gather in the chapel for our spiritual reflections and prayerful quiet. That’s community.

We ask you to join in some of our simple tasks around the house and grounds. Daily jobs but special ones too: are there apples to pick, or shrubs to prune, or books to tidy? That’s community too.

Depending on the weather we may offer a group walk or another outing. Or indoors perhaps a music evening. And each week there is an open discussion as we try to discern together how a community like Othona may evolve beyond this Covid 19 experience.

How do those of us who’ve loved Othona up till now “give it forward” to rising generations in a changing world? As our own vision for this begins to come into clearer focus, we’re keen to hear your experience and your views too.

Our core community is thin on the ground this season. We need your enthusiasm, your helpful presence and your patience when things go too slowly or less than smoothly. But with those provisos we’re relieved to say “Welcome Back”.

Staying Safe

Our priority is that you and we stay healthy. We will have all the hand sanitiser and other materials you’d expect. Our toilets and shower rooms had already been converted in February with soap dispensers and disposable paper towels instead of the old hand towels.

We are undertaking more frequent and rigorous cleaning than before. We ask you to play your part by such measures as frequent hand-washing, wearing masks most of the time when inside and respecting social distancing. Before you arrive we’ll write with more details about how we all stay safe - including this agreement.

We rely on you to advise us if you have any Covid-like symptoms or have been contacted by NHS Track and Trace. We’ll be keeping records of everyone who visits Othona so that we can cooperate with Track and Trace as necessary.

Our Covid-19 Health & Safety Risk Assessment is available here on the site to read if you wish.

Bookings

Please make your booking application online wherever possible. If the website booking form does not work for you, you can email Liz at bookings@othona-bb.org.uk or phone 01308 897130.

Maximum numbers for any event will depend on socially-distanced dining spaces as well as bedrooms and washrooms.

If at all possible please make payments digitally.

We are a very small team at the moment. If you need to phone us (01308 897130), please leave a message if we don't pick up. We will get back to you as soon as possible.

UK Government Tiers (Covid Alert Levels)

Please check Government guidance regarding your area's restrictions. Currently, it is only people living in 'Very High' covid alert areas that are asked to avoid travelling or staying overnight outside of their area. Here are a couple of links you might find helpful:

UK Gov website: Tiers (Covid Alert Levels) - What you need to know

UK Gov website: Postcode Checker - Find out which area you are in

 

Cancellations

More than ever, we have to reserve the right to cancel any event or any individual booking. Among other reasons, it only takes one person here or recently left to contract Covid, for us to have to close at the shortest notice. We hope to avoid this. But if it does happen we will let you know as soon as possible. And we will refund everything you have paid us.

We recognise you may also have to cancel. Normally if you cancel at short notice we only refund part of your payment. For the time being we will relax that policy.

Any time you cancel we will only retain £30 per person as a non-returnable deposit. We hope this lets you make a booking with confidence.

Adjusting our Charging Policy

Virus precautions mean we can only welcome reduced numbers of visitors at any one time. This puts great pressure on our finances. But, knowing how the pandemic has widened the inequality gap, we have decided against any dramatic rise in what we charge.

For each event you’ll find we are quoting Basic and Benefactor Rates, as well as having Bursaries for those in need.

You are welcome to choose the Basic Rate. But if everybody paid Basic, the reality is that Othona would make a hefty loss this year.

Perhaps you’re actually finding yourself better off, maybe spending less in these strange times? If so, please consider paying at least the Benefactor Rate.

We know plenty of people are much worse off due to Covid 19. So we still have bursary funds to offer. If you cannot afford the Basic Rate, please write to bookings@othona-bb.org.uk or phone 01308 897130 to discuss reduced Bursary Rates.

Benefactor, Basic and Bursary Rate payers will all help Othona survive financially this year. The same is true of everyone who has given to our Help Othona in Hard Times appeal – which is still open for donations.

We decided not to charge any Single Supplements this year. Only people from the same household or bubble will share rooms, of course.

Rates for children are calculated as a percentage of the adult Basic Rate. Under 3s come free of charge.