Statement 13 August 2020: Onsite Activity Update

Posted on: 12 August 2020

After careful deliberation, we have decided to extend our suspension of the majority of our onsite activity at the Woodbrooke Centre until November. We are not accepting residential bookings until November at the earliest, although we are exploring phasing in some day events and activities in the coming weeks and months. Our learning programme remains solely online until January 2021 at the earliest.

There are two reasons influencing this decision. Firstly, the government guidelines are not clear when it comes to Woodbrooke – which is classed as many different things. We are still working through what is possible in a regulatory landscape that is often shifting and now also influenced by local lockdowns – some of which are in effect in the West Midlands.

Secondly, after an exploration of demand for Woodbrooke’s services we have found that there is very little demand over the next few months for what we are offering at the Woodbrooke Centre. It is not sensible for us to open while this remains the case, as we would not be able to cover our costs.

We are using this time to explore new opportunities and seek new partnerships. We are keen to use the gifts of the site and those gifts within the staff body, including furloughed staff, to plot a financially viable future that aligns with our values. We are mindful that the environment around Woodbrooke has changed and we need to respond to that.

Our mission as an organisation is to foster the vital ministry of Friends. The growth of our online learning has been heartening and Quakers worldwide have shared with us their appreciation for what Woodbrooke offers.  We really appreciate everyone getting involved and supporting us to do that work. The recent online Swarthmore Lecture shows what is possible even under the challenging circumstances we face. We are continuing to develop our learning programme exploring the types of things we can offer and covering topics pertinent to the challenges of today.

We know how much Woodbrooke means to so many people and our hope is that we will be able to welcome many of you back to our site in a safe way, whilst retaining the essence of what makes the Woodbrooke Centre so special. At the current moment in time, we cannot be sure of when that is and what that looks like and so we look forward to continuing to connect with you online in the meantime.

Further information:

  • All residential activity at the Woodbrooke Centre in Birmingham, including residential conferencing and B&B, is suspended until November 2020 at the earliest.
  • Contact us if you are interested in day events or activities and we can discuss options.
  • Woodbrooke will be offering online learning for the remainder of 2020.
  • Our postgraduate programme continues online and is open to new applications.
  • Woodbrooke will continue to offer opportunities for online meeting for worship
  • There will be no courses at the Woodbrooke Centre in Birmingham for the remainder of 2020.
  • To date, Woodbrooke’s only government support for COVID-19 is through the furlough scheme.

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