Statement 8 June 2020: Our learning in 2020

We want to share with you our plans for our learning programme for the remainder of the year. After careful consideration we have made the decision that we will only offer online and locally-based learning for the rest of this year and that we will not offer residential learning at  Woodbrooke’s centre in Birmingham until 2021 at the earliest. We have not made this decision lightly and we know it will be upsetting to many of you who treasure visiting the Woodbrooke centre.

Our priority is always the safety of our participants, volunteers, and staff. We believe that there are still risks in the coming months, particularly to the vulnerable members of our community. We are mindful of the many people who travel to Woodbrooke using public transport and the disruptions and risks that may be associated with doing this at the moment.

Making this decision now means we can plan our learning programme over a longer period, and with more certainty, insulated from rapidly changing government guidance and a potential resurgence of Covid-19.

Through offering online worship and learning in the last few months we have connected with many people all over the world that we may not have otherwise reached, even prior to lockdown. We know that this has enriched the experience of those who have joined our sessions. We have learnt a lot from how Friends have engaged with our online learning, and we are committed to building on our long-standing experience to improve the variety and quality of our offerings.

Offering learning to communities, as well as individuals, is an important focus for us.  As well as our vibrant programme of online courses and sessions, we have also been reimagining our Woodbrooke on the Road programme. Once it is safe to do so we will be bringing Woodbrooke to where you are via in person workshops in Britain and other parts of Europe. We are already providing tailored online learning for Quaker groups – open to meetings around the world – with blended options available for those coming together in person and joining up with Woodbrooke online.

Our hearts are heavy knowing we will not be offering learning at such a unique and special place for so long. We want people to come and enjoy Woodbrooke’s centre as soon as they feel safe to do so and we can make it safe for them. We are also using this time to prepare for when that will be and ask what that will look like. For the time being all activity onsite, including B&B, is suspended until August 2020 at the earliest.

We are especially grateful for the support and upholding we are receiving from the Quaker community and all those who care about Woodbrooke. Your goodwill, enthusiasm and donations have enabled us to continue to operate throughout this pandemic, allowing us to make these plans for the future. We believe what Woodbrooke can offer is more important than ever and we look forward to working with all of you, in whatever way, as we move forward together.

Key points

  • Woodbrooke will be offering online learning for the remainder of 2020.
  • There will be no courses at the Woodbrooke centre in Birmingham for the remainder of 2020.
  • All activity at the Woodbrooke centre in Birmingham, including Conferencing and B&B, is suspended until August 2020 at the earliest.
  • Britain Yearly Meeting events based at Woodbrooke remain under consideration.
  • Woodbrooke courses at Swarthmoor Hall organised for later in the year are still under consideration.
  • Woodbrooke on the Road may be possible in Britain and parts of Europe when it safe to do so in close consultation with host meetings.
  • If you have any queries about the future of Woodbrooke or how you can help, we welcome emails to enquires@woodbrooke.org.uk.

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