Activities

Poetry Group COVID-19
NB From March 2020 all activities at Dissenter premises were suspended, except for the storage of Food Bank supplies, which volunteers deliver to people's homes in ever-growing quantities. In July 2020 the headquarters for the Food Bank were moved to more appropriate municipal premises while an outpost was maintained in the old vestry at Dissenter.



Dissenter of Sidmouth - at the centre of Sidmouth - is now managed by a range of organisations as a co-operative Community hub, comprising the original Meeting House, and an attractive hall built as a memorial to Annie Leigh Browne in 1938, with a larger Dance Studio (originally the 19th century School room).

Many groups share these facilities. Users take joint responsibility for the safety, security and maintenance of the buildings, grounds and equipment and meet with the Trustees as a cooperative management team every three months.
We are investing in reducing our carbon footprint and minimising waste.

Dissenter of Sidmouth is the focus for creative activity, intellectual enquiry and political debate.
Our range of indoor and outdoor locations accommodate occasional public meetings, "meet the author" book launches, rehearsals for performing artists, table tennis, fund-raising events and self-organised parties for children, young people and the young in heart, as well as demonstration experiments as part of the annual Sidmouth Science Festival.
Dissenter is a venue for singing tuition and public concerts by the South Coast Vocal Practice http://alexbaritone.co.uk/vocal-practices/.
Sidmouth civic arboretum is making use of our grounds to enhance the entrance to the town with specimen trees in the lawned garden in front of the meeting house and in the disused Dissenters' burial ground (now a Peace Garden commemorating the early 21st century lay leaders Elizabeth and Hugh Barlow). The inner courtyard garden has been used for a range of open air projects. Our grounds provide recreational space for the town's workers throughout the week, and opportunities for therapeutic gardening as well as public access to what is not an official "public toilet".

Our Dance Studio is regularly used by the East Devon Dance Academy for tap and modern dance, while other organisations offer African Contemporary Dance, Bhangra Bollywood Dance, Keep Fit, and Pilates classes.
The Dance Studio is also a polling station when needed.
The Leigh Browne memorial room is the meeting place for the Poetry Group founded by a previous minister Rev. Brian Packer. Poets and readers meet each month. Participants choose a published poet to make selections from, and identify a common theme for poems to be shared at the following meeting.
There are regular meetings of a Quaker Study Group, the Sidmouth Arboretum group, and a film club; with periodic meetings of the East Devon Constituency Labour and Liberal Democrat parties and the East Devon Independent Alliance. There are also occasional meetings of the Vision Group for Sidmouth and other civic societies, residents' associations and campaign groups such as Extinction Rebellion.
The Leigh Browne room is a reading room with a substantial library of theology, philosophy, history, science and feminist books and journals.
The annual Sidmouth Folk Festival uses all parts of "Dissenter of Sidmouth" for children's workshops, concerts, fundraising for charities and the sale of musical instruments.

Free Wi-Fi is available in all parts of Dissenter (password: "Community"). Three upright pianos are available for public use.