Dulverton Catholic Parish Action Group has secured over 1,000 signatures to its petition to reverse the closure of the Dulverton Residential Centre and St Stanislaus Catholic Church by the Clifton Diocese.

The Dulverton Residential Centre, also known as Exmoor Hostel, sleeps 36, mostly in dormitories. It is popular with schools, colleges, youth and family groups with bookings. This year alone, it has been booked by Radley College, Oxford Brookes University, Downside School, Bath University, GDSA Scouts, St John’s College, Cambridge, Bromley Canoe Club, Hampton School, Henley Juniors, Winchester College, Bristol Ariel Rowing Club, Dauntsey’s School, King’s Rochester School, Channing School, Rochelle Torrington, Claire’s Court School and Winchester College.

The Centre takes groups from 15 to 36 of all ages including family groups coming to the area for a holiday or for a wedding.

Visitors at the Centre come for the rowing on Wimbleball Lake, canoeing and kayaking on the River Barle, cycling, hiking, orienteering and all the other glories of Exmoor.

The Centre brings much-needed customers to Dulverton, including the Co-op, Catley’s Fish and Chips, The Bridge Pub, Mortimer’s, The Copper Kettle, The Lion, Woods, Tarr Steps Farm and many other venues, shops, stores and restaurants, not only in Dulverton but in the and surrounding area.

Despite being run as a not-for-profit charity (£13 to £16 per person per night), the Centre and Church are financially viable and cover their own outgoings.

The Centre does need a facelift, but professional estimates put the cost of this at no more than £50k, funds for which already lie within the Catholic Parish’s own resources.

A spokesperson for the petition states in their press release, “The reality is that the diocese, with over 100 parishes to run, cannot be bothered with the responsibility of this remote rural parish, dwarfed by the demands of such centres as Bristol and Swindon. The Church and Centre buildings are so close that one cannot be sold without the other. The church is collateral damage.”

The Dulverton Catholic Parish Action Group is committed to reversing the diocese’s decision and, among many other measures, has founded a Petition to the Bishop of Clifton which has just secured 1,000 signatures (and still rising).

On Friday 9 August the Parish Action Group Chairman said ‘thank you’ to the Co-op in Dulverton and its store manager, Paul Kingdom, for allowing a petition display in their store-front and ‘thank you with flowers’ to Chrissy Thomas who secured the signatures.

Readers wishing to support the petition should click here.

The Action Group have convened a public meeting at 11am on Saturday 24 August in the field with marquee between Oldberry Lane and the River Barle (just on your right as you go over the bridge leaving Dulverton). Cakes, cider and lemonade will be served. All are welcome.

PHOTO: Paul Kingdon, Co-op store manager on the left, Chrissie Thomas in the middle and Simon Roderick Rous, Action Group Chairman, on the right.

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