Let us cut to the chase: we’re writing to tell the sad news that the trustees have taken the difficult decision to close With Community Limited. This last two years of pandemic and lockdowns meant nothing could be organised and far fewer groups booking, because of the uncertainty of being able to come. Because of the lack of income, financially it has been difficult. That combined with grant making trusts focussing predominately on covid initiatives left us in a position where we no longer have the financial resources to take the project forward. The decision was made to protect the charity from future insolvency.
We are so grateful for your support of With in the past few years. Your prayers, practical support and wisdom have, in various ways, shaped what we’ve done and the experiences of young people on site at With. During our time on site we’ve invited 100s of young people and Christians working with young people into the space that the sisters called home, and in that space, they’ve met with Jesus, met with him in ways that your typical spaces for young people don’t allow. They have gone back to contexts around the country inspired and refreshed and in many cases rebooking again. Our community on site has, for almost a year, served young people and Christians working with them in a variety of ways and contexts. That community has prayed specifically for young people three times a day. And we believe nothing is wasted in the Kingdom of God, what a gift this has been. Guests have joined in the rhythm of life and prayer on site, valued being with us, as well as the beauty and quality of presence in this place, where God has been worshipped and served for a long time. All our guests have loved their time at With, the unique, attentive and relaxed retreat experience we have created. They have talked about the sense of acceptance, peace, refreshment, spiritual nourishment and healing they have found here, as well as a place to unravel questions about faith and life in a supportive environment. We have had curates, ordinands and others on placement who have found their experience transformative for their rhythm of life and prayer.
We’re so grateful for your support of that vision. And are so grateful for your ongoing support of it, even as the current entity comes to an end.
And so, what next? Staff have been made redundant, the lease is being returned and things are wrapping up. We still have some groups booked onto the site in April and May, and your support has allowed us to honour these bookings.
Beyond that? Well, we don’t know. As a leadership, we still hold tightly to this vision, and we’re exploring with the sisters and others whether something could emerge from this. Something smaller, and more sustainable that clings to that original vision, creating a space for young people based on community and prayer. As we continue to dream and scheme, we’d love to continue to invite you all along for the ride. If you’ve got any ideas or wisdom to bring, please get in touch.
In the meantime, we’d love to chat. If you’ve got any questions about how we got here, or ideas on how we might move forward, we’d love to hear from you. Click here to send us an email and we’ll arrange a time to chat.
We’ll be in touch more once we know what might happen, but again, thank you so much for your support.
Grace and peace,
Jamie and James, on behalf of With Community