Warminster retreat to shut after 40 years

THE trustees of the Community of St Denys have confirmed their plans to close the retreat centre at Ivy House in Warminster next year, although the possibility of leasing it has not been ruled out.

Friends of Ivy House met trustees on December 18 to ask them to reconsider closing the St Denys Retreat Centre, which provides residential retreats and events for groups and individuals.

The fundraising and support group felt there had been virtually no public or staff consultation and not enough time was spent considering all the options.

However, a statement from the trustees said: “The trustees of the Community of St Denys have decided that they will close the Ivy House Retreat Centre in the course of 2014. The trustees will be deciding on the precise closure date later.

“The possibility that another body might be prepared to lease Ivy House on a full repairing lease and to carry on a new retreat centre there has not been finally excluded, though the likelihood is assessed as small.”

Among the reasons given by the trustees for the closure are the running costs and the need for extensive repair and renovation of the buildings over the next few years.

Ivy House has been in use for more than 100 years as a mission college, convent, theological training college and, for the last 40 years, as a retreat house.

Friends’ spokesman Canon Harold Stephens said: “The trustees feel the financial position is weak, but at least they are willing to consider the other options for funding that we suggested. If they can’t run it then another organisation might be able to.”

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