As Quakers, our faith is a “do it together" church. All our Quaker communities and meetings are run by the people who are part of them. However, everyone needs a bit of help sometimes. The daily life of Quaker worshipping communities is supported by a staff team who work across Britain to help them to be thriving, inclusive, and all-age.

We will have Local Development Workers supporting Quakers across Britain during 2022 – you can find out more about this below. We provide accompaniment, resources, networks, events, activities and training. We work in partnership with Woodbrooke Learning and Research.

Read on to discover more, and to find out about the support we offer to encourage youth, children and families in our communities, and about the Quakers in Britain Yorkshire Centre.

Find out more

    News about local development work

    During 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.

    Next steps for 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
    • Herts to Northants: 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: supportmeetings@quaker.org.uk. Please tell us where you are, so we can put you in touch with the right person.

    What does a Local or Youth 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.

    Youth development work

    Youth Development Workers work with Quaker communities to initiate, facilitate and deliver a range of opportunities for Young Quakers. They work with local Friends to offer events and activities for children and young people to build community effectively. They help to promote participation among different age groups and empower Quaker communities to engage with and respond more readily to younger people?

    Any Quaker can contact the Local or Youth Development Worker in their part of Britain, about anything related to being a Quaker. Workers may provide support themselves, offer other sources of information and help, or work with the wider team to respond in new ways.

    Find out who the Local or Youth Development Worker is in your region

    We currently have Local Development Workers in the following parts of Britain:

    Patch 1: Scotland
    Local Development Worker: Zoe Prosser
    zoep@quaker.org.uk

    • East Scotland AM
    • North Scotland AM
    • South East Scotland AM
    • West Scotland AM

    Patch 2: Cumberland and the North East
    Local Development Worker: Melanie Thomas melaniet@quaker.org.uk

    • Cumberland AM
    • Northumbria AM
    • Teesdale & Cleveland AM
    • Wensleydale & Swaledale AM

    Patch 3: Yorkshire
    Local Development Worker: Bridget Holtom
    bridgeth@quaker.org.uk
    Youth Development Worker: Jo Baynham jonathonb@quaker.org.uk

    • Brighouse & West Yorkshire AM
    • Central Yorkshire AM
    • Craven & Keighley AM
    • Leeds AM
    • Pickering & Hull AM
    • Sheffield & Balby AM
    • York AM

    Patch 4: North West England (North)
    Local Development Worker:
    Wendy Hampton wendyh@quaker.org.uk

    • Hardshaw & Mann AM
    • Kendal & Sedbergh AM
    • Lancashire Central & North AM
    • Manchester & Warrington AM
    • Pendle Hill AM
    • Swarthmoor AM

    Patch 5: Wales and Southern Marches
    Local Development Worker: Helen Oldridge
    heleno@quaker.org.uk

    • Mid Wales AM
    • North Wales AM
    • South Wales AM
    • Southern Marches AM

    Patch 6: West Midlands and North West (South)
    Local Development Worker: TBC

    • Central England AM
    • East Cheshire AM
    • Staffordshire AM
    • Wirral and Chester AM
    • Worcestershire & Shropshire AM

    Patch 7: East Midlands
    Local Development Worker: Sarah Shaw sarahs@quaker.org.uk

    • Leicester AM
    • Lincolnshire AM
    • Notts & Derby AM

    Patch 8: Thames Valley
    Local Development Worker: Moya moya@quaker.org.uk
    Youth Development Worker: currently being recruited

    • Banbury & Evesham AM
    • Chilterns AM
    • Mid Thames AM
    • Oxford & Swindon AM

    Patch 9: Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Northamptonshire
    Local Development Worker: TBC

    • Hertford & Hitchin AM
    • Luton & Leighton AM
    • Northamptonshire AM

    Patch 10: East Anglia
    Local Development Worker: Bev Smith
    beverleys@quaker.org.uk

    • Cambridgeshire AM
    • Ipswich & Diss AM
    • Mid-Essex AM
    • Norfolk & Waveney AM
    • Southern East Anglia AM
    • Thaxted AM

    Patch 11: South West England
    Local Development Worker: Pip Harris
    piph@quaker.org.uk

    • Cornwall AM
    • Devon AM
    • West Somerset AM

    Patch 12: Western England
    Local Development Worker: Jac Blacker jacb@quaker.org.uk
    Youth Development Worker (most of the patch): Zephyr Blofeld zephyrb@quaker.org.uk

    • Bristol AM
    • Gloucestershire AM
    • Mid Somerset AM
    • North Somerset AM
    • West Wiltshire & East Somerset AM

    Patch 13: South Coast Central
    Local Development Worker: TBC

    • Bournemouth Coastal AM
    • Dorset & South Wiltshire AM
    • Hampshire & Islands AM

    Patch 14: London
    Local Development Worker: TBC

    • Kingston & Wandsworth AM
    • London West AM
    • North East Thames AM
    • North London AM
    • North West London AM
    • South East London AM
    • South London AM

    Patch 15: Kent, Sussex & Surrey
    Local Development Worker: Ruth Audus rutha@quaker.org.uk

    • East Kent AM
    • Surrey & Hampshire Border AM
    • Sussex East AM
    • Sussex West AM
    • West Kent AM
    • West Weald AM

    How is the local and youth development team supported?

    The local and youth development teams are supported by a group of staff who manage them and their work. They, and a small number of other Quaker Life staff, have a responsibility to deliver support to Quaker communities nationally. They are as follows:

    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.

    You can find out more about areas of support on the Support for Meetings page. You can contact us: supportmeetings@quaker.org.uk.

    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.