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Accommodation, food and accessibility: FAQ

Do I have my own room?

Centre accommodation varies. At The Hurst there are all single rooms with ensuite bathrooms. At Lumb Bank and Totleigh Barton there  are mainly single rooms and shared bathrooms, with some shared rooms (for two people). Shared bedrooms are discounted, and will only be allocated to same sex.

How many people share my bathroom?

Again, this varies by room and by centre. Most bathrooms are shared, but never by more than five people. There are plenty of other washing/ toilet facilities available and people rarely have too long to wait for a morning shower. At The Hurst all rooms have ensuite bathrooms.

Are the houses cold? Are hot water bottles provided if I get cold?

The houses are all adequately heated but they are large and very old, and you might find it different from what you are used to. In winter (and sometimes summer) there is always a roaring fire to warm you up and we can always find you another blanket or an extra heater for your room.

Do I need to bring my own towel?

Towels are provided, but will not be replaced during the week unless requested.

Is there a house cat or dog?

There are no house cats, but some of the centre staff have dogs which come to work with them (all very friendly). We do not provide facilities for you to bring your own pet.

What are the facilities for the disabled?

Arvon welcomes writers with disabilities. If you have any specific access requirements, please discuss with us prior to booking and we will do our utmost to accommodate your needs. All communal spaces, including workshop spaces, are accessible to people with mobility issues. Each centre can accommodate a personal assistant or carer if required, and if there are spaces available. Accessibility to bedrooms and bathrooms varies by centre.

The Hurst has the most comprehensive facilities for disabled people, with wheelchair access to every room via a lift, with all rooms equipped with ensuite bathrooms, five of which are wetrooms equipped for wheelchair access.
Lumb Bank has a bedroom with a specially adapted ensuite wetroom equipped for wheelchair access.
Totleigh Barton has a wheelchair-accessible bedroom with ensuite bathroom.

It is always wise to call the centre hosting your course prior to booking. You can also find specific information on accessibility at each centre at http://www.arvon.org/centres

Is it possible to be allocated a room that suits my needs (eg ground floor room)?

We will allocate suitable available rooms according to the information you supply, so it’s advisable to discuss your needs with centre staff prior to booking. Once we are certain we can meet your needs, accommodation will be reserved in your name.

Can my personal carer come and not participate in the course?

Some of our centres can accommodate a personal assistant subject to availability of space, and if so there is no additional charge for that person. As above, we strongly advise that you contact the centre before placing your booking.

I am not used to cooking for others and just want to come because of the writing – do I really have to cook as well?

Cooking and eating together is an essential part of an Arvon week. You will cook one evening meal and you’ll also be responsible for some washing up. These duties are confined to a few hours in total, so the rest of the week is left free for writing. Please don’t be nervous about cooking for the group. You will cook in a team and receive lots of support from centre staff.

What food/meals will be provided? Do I need to bring recipes or ingredients?

All your meals will be provided during the course. You will also have fruit, cake and biscuits to fuel your imagination throughout the week!

• Breakfast is self-service at a time that suits you. There will be a selection of cereals, bread, jams, and often eggs and bacon.

• Lunch is prepared for you by centre staff. Each centre likes to showcase local produce and suppliers, so there is no set menu. There will be a mix of hot and cold food, depending on the season. You might have a cold buffet of bread, cheese, meats and salads, or soup or another hot dish.

• Dinner is prepared by participants using recipes and ingredients provided by centre staff. You will cook once and work in a team, using tried and tested recipes. You’ll be supported by staff who start you off and help you organise the tasks. There’s plenty of time to prepare dinner and get to know your fellow cooks – it’s a great opportunity to form new friendships and reflect on the day’s insights.

What if I have specific dietary requirements?

As our centres are in rural locations, it is important to know your requirements in advance so provisions can be bought in. When you book your course, please let the centre know your dietary requirements. Staff will then design menus to take these into account, eg allergies, dairy- or gluten- free, vegan or vegetarian. If you have specific medical or religious requirements, please inform the centre staff.

Can we buy and drink alcohol at the centre?

Yes you can buy and drink alcohol at the centre. On the first night, each centre provides wine. For the rest of the time, we ask students who wish to drink to complete an alcohol order for the week and pay for it in advance. Staff will explain how the system works at their centre. They’ll help organise the order and deal with the supplier. Please bring cash to pay for your alcohol as there may not be a cash machine nearby.

What things should I pack for an Arvon course?

We recommend you pack the following:

A pair of walking boots/boots/outdoor shoes
Waterproof jacket or coat
Warm clothing – in spite of central heating and open fires, a large country house can be cold
Basic toiletries
Paper and pens
Laptop (if you prefer to write on a computer)
A usb (if you would like to print your work)
Torch

Click here for FAQ about choosing the right course