New support for Quaker communities
Quakers have strengthened their network of local support with the appointment of local development workers in Yorkshire and Scotland.
“A living faith is about relationships," says Rachel Matthews, Head of Supporting Quaker Communities, for Quakers in Britain. “This underpins this exciting way of offering integrated support to Quaker communities. Expanding local development work, planned long before the Covid-19 pandemic, is part of our new way of working."
This is a joint Britain Yearly Meeting/Woodbrooke programme. By summer 2022 a local development worker (LDW) will be available to every Quaker community across Britain. The trustees and committees whose discernment shaped the way forward were helped by a positive external evaluation of the pilot programme.
A living faith is about relationships.- Rachel Matthews, Head of Supporting Quaker Communities
The new LDWs joining the team in this phase, Zoe Prosser and Bridget Holtom, will be working in Scotland and Yorkshire.
They will be part of the Supporting Quaker Communities team for Quakers in Britain. This team will ensure that a listening ear, advice, guidance, problem solving, facilitation and signposting, is available locally. Working jointly with Woodbrooke's Learning and Research team, they will develop resources, networking, activities and learning which respond to needs they identify. They can draw on wisdom and expertise from Quakers across the country.
Four LDWs covering Cornwall, Devon and West Somerset; Kent, Sussex and Surrey; Wales and the Southern Marches; and North-West England were already in place. Their work has been making a difference through locally delivered support.
Recently, a local meeting in Lancashire was struggling with how best to appeal to children and young people. Their LDW suggested strategies to engage children, such as having more all-age worship, so that 'it's all more integrated'. As the children felt more involved, one told her school teacher she identified as a Quaker and this was new.