Work on new Dartmoor Wing and shower block
Thank you to everyone who has contributed to our building development work.
We begun work on our new Dartmoor Wing in 2020 – a two-storey building at the back of the Hermitage Wing on the site of the crumbling garages. The new building will enable us to increase the number of single rooms we can offer to group retreatants, as well as provide badly-needed extra bathrooms.
It’s fantastic to have got to this point, thanks to the open-hearted and generous support of our sangha. The external structure is now completed and we hope to finish the work in spring 2022.
Our retreat programme will continue and various plans are in discussion for how best to keep noise and disruption from the building works to an absolute minimum.
The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the need to advance the priority we gave to building a new shower/toilet block at Gaia House to enable retreats to go ahead even if social distancing measures continued well into 2021.
The shower block was completed in 10 months and first used in June 2021, while we were still very much restricted to social distancing conditions and this allowed us to open to more retreatants than we would otherwise have been able to, thus extending our service to more people, but also helping to firm up our financial security once more.
We created seven shower cubicles and invested in a ecologically sustainable way to heat the showers, by buying a heat exchanger that uses our existing biomass boiler, which means near to zero carbon output in heating showers.
We are incredibly grateful for the support of our sangha during this period of transition and evolution. The continued expressions of love and generosity we receive will help Gaia House to blossom into this next incarnation for the benefit of all who come here.
Since we moved to our beautiful, peaceful site in West Ogwell in 1996, there have been no major structural improvements made to the building. In fact, the house remains pretty much the same as it did 50 years ago, with the last major upgrade in 1967 when the Garden Wing was built.
Yet, the demand for what Gaia House offers has increased significantly over the last 20 years and our facilities are stretched to the limit.
To address the challenges that we are experiencing, we have developed plans to enable our site to catch up with the vast numbers of people now visiting Gaia House each year and help us to increase accessibility.
The aim of these plans is to improve facilities for group retreatants by increasing the number of single rooms we can offer and increasing the number of toilets and showers available. In addition, the plans aim to improve our coordinator accommodation and minimise disruption to the retreat space by moving our offices outside the main house.
In time, with further fundraising efforts, our aim is to develop the ground floor of the Garden Wing to provide an accessible bedroom and bathroom suite. The final component planned is a beautiful covered walking meditation area running alongside the Meditation Hall.
Thank you for your support!
Present and future generations will benefit from your generosity.
“I have been involved with Gaia House almost since its inception, and I am heartened again and again that it continues to be a refuge for people in need of kindness, understanding, nature and quiet. This building project will be an opportunity to improve the facilities so that all of us, teachers, staff and students alike, can benefit.”
“Gaia House is where I healed from years of pain, learnt about love and became the whole human being I was always meant to be.
Discovering Gaia House saved my life. I hope it will be there for centuries to come, making the teachings of wisdom and kindness available to all who seek them.”