News about Local Development Work – November 2021
By Summer 2022, there will be Local Development Workers everywhere in Britain. You can find information about places that already have Local Development Workers further down this page.
We are recruiting now (November 2021) and in January for Local Development Workers. We are working with Friends in the patches on the recruitment and welcoming the new worker. Please look at the Job Adverts, and pass them on to Friends where you are. We are likely to find good candidates amongst Quakers in these localities. The first closing date is December 6th 2021. We are holding online information sessions as follows:
Applying to be a Local Development Worker (for anyone interested in the role, either now or in January)
Introduction to local development work (for anyone in a new or existing patch)
November - December recruitment
- East Midlands: Leicester, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Area Meetings
- Oxford & Swindon, Banbury & Evesham, Mid Thames, and Chilterns Area Meetings
- Western England: Gloucestershire, Bristol, West Wiltshire and East Somerset, North Somerset and Mid Somerset Area Meetings
January 2022 recruitment
- South Coast Central: Bournemouth Coastal; Dorset & South Wiltshire; Hampshire & Islands Area Meetings
- London: Kingston & Wandsworth; London West; North East Thames; North London; North West London; South East London; South London
- Hertford & Hitchin; Luton & Leighton; Northamptonshire;
- West Midlands plus North West England (Southern): Central England; Staffordshire; Worcestershire & Shropshire AM; co-working Hardshaw & Mann; Manchester and Warrington; Wirral & Chester and East Cheshire with the LDW in the North West.
For more information about local development work, e-mail us: email@example.com. Please tell us where you are, so we can put you in touch with the right person.
For more information about the new jobs, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
What does a Local Development Worker do?
Local Development Workers are based in different parts of Britain, working with friends in a group of Area Meetings. They are available to individuals, local Quaker meetings, area meetings, and other Quaker groups. Their role is to make sure that Quaker communities are able to thrive. They support us to become the church we envisioned in Our Faith in the Future.
Local Development Workers offer support to Quaker communities in many ways including:
- listening, encouraging and reassuring
- connecting Friends with people and resources
- signposting to other BYM and Woodbrooke services
- facilitating sessions on a variety of themes
- helping to review existing activities or processes
- assisting with major projects.
Any Quaker can contact the Local Development Worker in their part of Britain, about anything related to being a Quaker. The Local Development Worker may provide support themselves, offer other sources of information and help, or work with the wider team to respond in new ways.
We currently have Local Development Workers in the following parts of Britain:
- Zoe Prosser email@example.com Scotland
- Sophie Smith (interim) firstname.lastname@example.org Cumberland and the North East of England
- Wendy Hampton email@example.com North West England
- Bridget Holthom firstname.lastname@example.org Yorkshire
- Helen Oldridge email@example.com Wales and the Southern Marches
- Pip Harris firstname.lastname@example.org South West England
- Bev Smith email@example.com East Anglia
What other support is available?
Quaker Life offers particular support to young people, children and families in the heart of Quaker communities, to help them take part fully in the life of Quakers at local, regional and national levels. You can also find out about the Youth Development Worker scheme which is on offer to Quaker communities through Britain Yearly Meeting.
The wider Quaker Life team will ensure that a range of services is available on all aspects of being a Quaker meeting. Much of this work is done in partnership with Woodbrooke Learning. This includes:
- Networks of Friends who can support one another. This may be through e-mail groups, online meetings, newsletters, in-person gatherings, or offering tailored support from a Friend with relevant skills and experience.
- Resources to provide information and ideas. This includes leaflets, booklets, posters, sessions and study packs, Quaker Recognised Bodies (QRB) and specialist organisations.
- Events and activities which bring people together, provide fellowship and learning, explore areas of interest, and the chance to experiment. Training for Quaker role-holders is an important part of this work, led by Woodbrooke working closely with learning from local development work.
The wider team will include people with specialist skills and expertise in all aspects of being a thriving Quaker community. Some of this will be with team members, some by working closely with skilled and experienced friends.
The local development approach reflects learning from the successful Vibrancy in Meetings pilot. Find out from Friends how Vibrancy made a difference by watching this short video:
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What is meeting-centred support?
Meeting-centred support is the joint response of Britain Yearly Meeting (BYM) and Woodbrooke trustees to today's challenges. It means working in new and different ways to help Quaker communities across the yearly meeting to thrive.
Quaker communities know best what support they need to help build the world described in Our Faith in the Future. And support from BYM and Woodbrooke works well when staff walk alongside Friends to offer help, ideas and challenge. By working together, BYM and Woodbrooke can make the best use of our shared resources and expertise.
There's an appetite amongst Friends to try new ways of doing things. The public health emergency has made that even stronger. The same questions that are being discussed beyond the Quaker community – questions about the right balance of resources between north and south, London and the rest of Britain, and between Britain's different nations – are important for national Quaker work too.
And at the same time, the number of Quakers overall is declining slowly, and meetings are getting smaller. For many meetings, the focus is on keeping going. They care about Quaker work in the world, but don't have as much time or energy to get involved as they'd like.
The Vibrancy in Meetings Pilot Programme, the Youth Worker Development Programme, Woodbrooke Where you Are and online learning, and specialist programmes on property, simpler meetings, mental health, and supporting young adults, have all shown the benefits of staff being personally known, and locally available.
BYM and Woodbrooke are responding by recruiting more Local Development Workers. These are staff based closer to where Quakers are, walking alongside them, connecting them to others, and facilitating their work.
We'd love to hear from you. Find out how to get in touch below.
The new Quakers in Britain Yorkshire Centre for staff of BYM and Woodbrooke
We opened the Quakers in Britain Yorkshire Centre in Leeds in May 2021. It is at 188A Woodhouse Lane, Leeds – a self-contained office suite attached to Carlton Hill Meeting House. This is a new location for some staff working for Britain Yearly Meeting and Woodbrooke. It's also a great venue for meetings and gatherings for Friends in that part of the country.
There are small and large rooms available in the office suite, and in the meeting spaces in the Meeting House. These have good tech for blended activities and are spacious for good social distancing.
Friends have said that work and support based in Woodbrooke and Friends House can feel a long way away. We are trialling this hub for staff outside London and Birmingham.
The hub aims to improve links between local Quaker communities and our yearly meeting-wide organisations. It will also provide more locally-based services to support Quakers. In time it may also become a home for other Quaker groups and projects.
It will also be a focus for bringing together the many staff who are now working from their homes, across the whole of Britain. Learning from the pandemic, we are now an organisation which can do many things online. This means that our staff team only need to come together occasionally. About 30 staff are now working from Glasgow to Totnes; from West Wales to Norwich. The Leeds hub will give us another place to enjoy seeing one another face to face – and for meeting with Quakers as well.