VAP’s work in the UK > Current projects > Othona Community
Othona is set at Bradwell-on-Sea, in a beautiful, remote corner of Essex, just behind the sea wall at the mouth of the River Blackwater. Othona is the name of a Roman fortress and next to it is the Saxon chapel of St Peter’s-on-the-Wall dating from 7th century AD, one of the oldest churches in Britain.
An ecumenical Christian community, Othona was founded just after the Second World War, in 1946, in a camp containing displaced Poles and German prisoners of war, for the purpose of peace and reconciliation.
VAP has held a workcamp here every year since 1977. The international volunteers work and live as part of the community consisting of residential staff and volunteers who organise the community on a daily basis. Other visitors join in for a week or more and help with the daily tasks like washing up and cleaning. The centre has a programme of activities based around people working, worshipping, studying and playing together. There can be from 20 to 100 people staying each week, depending on factors such as school holidays, the weather, and the topic of the week’s course.
The work of the international volunteers varies from year to year. In 2005, for example, it included painting the external walls of a building, laying a path on the grounds and digging out a new sand pit for children. In 2008 Othona welcomed VAP volunteers for two workcamps of two weeks each.
There is a second Othona centre at Burton Bradstock in Dorset. A work and study camp with the theme, “Living in a community” was organised here in 2006.