Friends are expecting to hear soon about the other LDWs as a radical restructuring of how Quaker work is organised gets underway.
Friends from Craven and Keighley Area Meeting came together this month to hear about the changing shape of Quakerism and the new Leeds hub, which is expected to open soon.
Paul Parker, the recording clerk for Britain Yearly Meeting (BYM), told the Friend: ‘In the next few weeks, we hope to announce the appointment of local development workers (LDW) to cover Scotland; Cumberland and the North-East; Yorkshire; and East Anglia. No decisions have been made over other staff changes.’
The Leeds hub, at the office suite attached to Carlton Hill Meeting House, is where the Yorkshire LDW will be based. Friends are expecting to hear soon about the other LDWs as a radical restructuring of how Quaker work is organised gets underway. The plan is for there to be a LDW in reach of every Quaker community within five years.
Juliet Prager, deputy recording clerk for BYM, spoke at the Zoom meeting on 13 March about the new proposals. It was mooted that the Leeds hub could be described as ‘Friends House Yorkshire’.
The trustees of BYM and Woodbrooke agreed to create the Leeds hub as a base for BYM and Woodbrooke staff outside London and Birmingham, in order to move central work closer to Friends. Juliet Prager said that she, the new Yorkshire LDW, and Jude Acton, who works with children and young people for BYM, will be based full-time at the hub. Local youth worker Lee Lester, Lisa Cumming from Turning the Tide, and Tracey Martin from Woodbrooke will also be there ‘sometimes’, she said.
Marian McNichols from Settle Meeting, who went to the gathering, told the Friend that she hoped having LDWs would help them to define their own agenda. ‘I think we should be doing more to align ourselves with the immigration and refugee agenda. It’s more difficult for middle-class people to align with this, but there are people at the sharp-end who really need allies.’
Quakers are also awaiting news of how projects at Friends House, London will be affected by the restructuring. Thirty-one staff members opted to take voluntary redundancy in October. The peaceworker and refugee programmes are expected to end, with other teams also shrinking.
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