YEARS OF MEMORIES AT DOL-Y-MOCH
PLAS DOL-Y-MOCH is a place many people in Coventry will remember and hold fond memories of.
Most schools in Coventry have gone to North Wales for the Dol-y-Moch experience, and taken away a lifetime of memories, in the last 50 years.
The centre is not just a place for a holiday for the children, but a place they learn to work together, to get them ready for their big step to secondary school and also for later in life.
But, for the centre to carry on providing the children of Coventry with the life skills they need to learn, they need to raise a quarter of a million pounds.
For the 50 years Dol-yMoch has been running they have welcomed over 100,000 children in to the famous house.
Catherine Bourke, or Faf as she is known at Dol-y-Moch, has been involved with the education centre since the 1970’s when she first visited as a teenager.
She said: “I first came in the 1970s when I was 14 with my school Bishop Ullathorne on a ten day course.
“Since then I have been hooked on outdoor adventure and even went back six months after my first visit on an advanced course.
“I’ve loved it ever since and when I had free weekends I would come and volunteer and soon enough I got a part time job and have now been full time for around ten years.
“The centre is so important to children in developing their life skills. They can learn to work as a team and understand that at one point in their lives they will have responsibilities. But we make it fun for them - we have the mountain adventures, kayaking and rock climbing to incorporate school studies such a Personal Social and Health Education and history but make it fun for them too.
“That is what makes Plas Dol-y-Moch so special.”
After 50 years the centre is in need of a refit and to do this they need £750,000 - money they cannot raise on their own.
Fortunately they have a £500,000 grant from Coventry City Council meaning they have to raise £250,000.
When the outdoor education centre first opened they could only house 30 children.
That has now doubled but with an increasing popularity they need to change around the facilities to keep up with the demand.
Not much has changed over the last half a century but as children and staff alike take the familiar drive up to the house a noticeable change in the grounds becomes apparent.
They have upgraded the stable block to enable schools with special needs pupils to stay there comfortably.
All of the rooms have en suites bathrooms and are a sign of what a bright future Dol-y-Moch has as they start their 50th anniversary celebrations.
Alistair Cook, head of the centre, says there are great plans for the future.
He said: “We originally set a deadline of 2020, that by then we wanted to comfortably house 60 children at one time.
“At the moment, with the current dining room, if we are at full capacity that isn’t possible.
“The kitchen staff have to put up tables in the common room for some kids to eat, and that goes against our ethos of everyone eating and sitting together at dinner time.
“We know we have work to do on the showers too. They are a little outdated, so all of this money that is raised, will help provide newer facilities.
“Hopefully this will then allow us to invite more than 100,000 Coventry children over the next 50 years.”
Once the money work will start to convert the old dining room and kitchen into a brand new shower block and common room.
There will be a new dining room erected in a separate building for more kids to sit together and eat at the same time, but will keep the traditional feel of Dol-y-Moch that so many people love and remember.
Crossing water on ropes and kayaking at Doly-y-Moch. Above, the kit room and Berth Y Gest beach