The Vibrancy in Meetings Pilot Programme is doing something new for Quakers in Britain – exploring whether having locally-based staff can help meetings to thrive as communities, with a vital Quaker ministry, becoming stronger, more connected, more confident, more engaged, and more sustainable. It is a pilot programme running until September 2019 and has been funded by legacies to Britain Yearly Meeting, and also supported by Woodbrooke’s resources and facilities.
Local Development Workers
Four Local Development Workers are working in the following pilot localities:
- Devon, Cornwall and West Somerset – Pip Harris.
- The North West – Wendy Hampton.
- Wales and Southern Marches – Helen Oldridge.
- Sussex, Surrey and Kent – Carrie Comfort.
Local development workers are getting to know the Meetings and understand the issues affecting them. The local workers will be a two-way conduit for communication and support between Friends, Meetings and the wider work of Quakers in Britain. The workers will encourage and inform the initiative, aiming to facilitate and sustain action by others, locally and across the Yearly Meeting.
They won’t be able to solve every problem – but they will spend time with Meetings, be alongside them, offer possibilities, share good ideas and best practice, support developments and new initiatives, and put them in touch with help from other Meetings, groups and staff of Britain Yearly Meeting and Woodbrooke.
Their focus depends on the Meeting, but might include thinking about how Meetings meet their spiritual, practical and pastoral needs; property and employment; supporting older or younger Quakers; witness in the world; deepening worship, supporting discernment or spiritual development both as individuals and Meetings.
Who else is involved?
Rachel Matthews is the Programme Co-ordinator. She is based at her home in Carmarthenshire, but works closely with colleagues in Woodbrooke and Britain Yearly Meeting. Her role is to manage the team, and to develop and promote the programme, within and beyond the localities.
There is also a Steering Group whose members are drawn from across Britain Yearly Meeting. The group bring together both experience and enthusiasm to support and guide this programme and have described themselves as “providing guidance, acting as a keel to keep the ship stable and on course”.
The programme is a joint initiative between Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre and Britain Yearly Meeting.
How can I be involved?
Could you use your experience and enthusiasm to be a champion – helping us to explore and share ideas and news about this work? If so, please contact Rachel Matthews using the details given below.
Are you interested in helping to make your meeting more vibrant? – Then please get in touch. Your meeting might fall inside one of the pilot areas, in which case we will let your vibrancy local worker know that you’re interested, once he or she is in role. If your meeting is not in one of the pilot areas, we’d still like to hear from you and will do what we can to help.
Please contact us:
Rachel Matthews, Programme Co-ordinator
07419 991 638
Evaluating the programme so far
The vibrancy programme has teamed up with NCVO Charities Evaluation Service to investigate whether it is achieving its goals and to explore the way the programme is set up, managed and received. Click the links below to download a PDF copy of the first report.