Statement 14 March 2020: Woodbrooke to suspend onsite courses in response to COVID-19

Woodbrooke has been closely monitoring the situation with the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic and reviewing the advice issued by Public Heath England in response. After careful consideration, and with deep regret, we have decided it is in the best interest of our participants and associate tutors to suspend all onsite Woodbrooke courses from Monday 16 March initially, until 30 April. We will review the situation on an ongoing basis in relation to events that are further ahead. Our library will also be closed throughout this period.

Government advice to help protect vulnerable groups may in part be applicable to those travelling to and being at Woodbrooke. There is no extra risk to participants being at Woodbrooke, compared to any other public space but it is likely that the situation will worsen in the coming weeks. We hope that by taking this decision now we can minimise the impact on course participants coming to Woodbrooke in the near future.

In response to the pandemic Woodbrooke will be looking to expand its online worship and online courses in the coming weeks, in order to continue to offer learning and spiritual nourishment to the Quaker community. Those who have course bookings with us will be contacted about alternative arrangements and refunds in the coming days, including participants on our Equipping for Ministry programme.

Woodbrooke as a venue is not affected by this announcement and will remain open until further notice, for conference users, B&B guests and staff. If you are due to attend a conference at Woodbrooke you should contact the conference organiser, who our reservations team are liaising closely with.

This is not an easy decision for us to take as an organisation. It will have significant financial consequences for us that may impact our ability to serve the Quaker community in the long run; but we feel it is the responsible thing to do. We are upholding all those affected by the COVID-19 outbreak and are hopeful we can forge virtual connections with many of you over the coming weeks, especially at a time where it will be important to come together while being encouraged to stay apart.

Additional information:

  • If anyone wishes to offer to help facilitate Woodbrooke online worship, please contact: worship@woodbrooke.org.uk.
  • Courses running at Woodbrooke over the weekend of 13-15 March will continue as normal.
  • The Writing Retreat starting Sunday 15 March at Swarthmoor Hall will continue as planned.
  • We will make decisions about Woodbrooke On-the-Road events in discussion with the host meeting.
  • We are in contact with Equipping for Ministry participants and will continue updating them in relation to the Equipping for Ministry in the coming weeks.
  • If you have any queries about your conference or B&B bookings with Woodbrooke you can contact our reservations team on: Enquiries@woodbrooke.org.uk. Our reservations office is open 9am-4pm Monday to Friday.
  • Those who have course bookings with us will be contacted by us about alternative arrangements and refunds in the coming days, including participants on our Equipping for Ministry programme.
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