Yorkshire Quaker Governance Group

(Simplifying Charitable Functions Group)

Minutes made by Area Meetings 2023-24 on recommendations for simplification

Brighouse West Yorkshire

11 March 2024  Minute 23.03.09: ‘Keeping the wheels turning’ Quaker governance in Yorkshire
Further to minute 24.01.07. Local Friends have had the opportunity to consider the proposals put forward by Quakers in Yorkshire for a single trustee body across Yorkshire, but with AM boundaries remaining the same for now. Huddersfield meeting have minuted their support for the proposals, and no Friends have raised any concerns with our clerk to trustees. We support these proposals in principle, as requested by QiY, to allow work on the detail now to begin. We are aware that there is much more work to be done, especially on finances. We thank Deryck and all involved in this work.

Central Yorkshire

14 January 2024 Minute 4. Relationship with QiY Trustees
A) Simplification. We have received a minute from the Simplifying Charitable Functions Group entitled Keeping the wheels turning: Quaker Governance in Yorkshire, as follows: [YQG minute reproduced]

David Bower has spoken to the minute and distributed a 4-page document that details the proposals for each LM to consider. This has started the conversation on this issue and we hope that LMs will take time to consider the paper, as well as the online briefings, and report back to our meeting in March. We have had an opportunity to comment or ask questions. There will be much work needed at ground level and it is important that all meetings will feel involved in the process, to ensure a successful outcome. The document from the Simplification group is attached to these minutes.

Our discussion today and previous CYAM meetings on the subject suggest that there is general support within CYAM for the proposal made by the group and we hope that comments to our March meeting will confirm this.

Further details can be found on the Quakers in Yorkshire website. From the homepage and under Simplification go to Recommendations; it is all there.

We thank David Bower for his work on our behalf and hope that he is willing to continue as our representative with this group.

10 March 2024 Minute 4. B) Simplification

From Barnsley LM
Minute 8 in our Business Meeting 27th February 2024.
We have considered the recommendations from the Yorkshire Quaker Governance Group, about merging of th charitable functions of Yorkshire’s Area Meetings. We feel in principle that this is the right way forward, and Ruth will take this leaning to Area Meeting Trustees.

From Pontefract LM.

From Wooldale LM.
Minute 5 item for discussion at CYAM: Simplification of Quakers in Yorkshre and the future of CYAM.
We agree with the proposal to create a single registered charity which will deal with what charity law requires of us. We are open to the idea that Central Yorkshire Area Meeting might be laid down, and local meetings link up with other Area Meetings nearby. We recognise the difficulty of filling roles, stretched finances, and an ageing and declining membership. We thank David Bower for his service in helping to shape these proposals.

We ask our Clerk to send a minute to the QiY group recording our wish to accept the recommendation for simplification of the charitable functions and that we would be willing to support the work that will be required to help this become established.


Craven & Keighley

9 December 2023 – Minute 2023/92 Trustee matters d. Simplification for Quakers in Yorkshire

Trustees have welcomed the minute from the Quakers in Yorkshire Simplifying Charitable Functions in Yorkshire Group proposing that we move towards a single charitable body across Yorkshire with Area Meetings remaining as separate Quaker bodies.
We ask our constituent LMs to consider this proposal together with the background papers which will be circulated and to report back to our meeting in March, when this is likely to be the major topic. Erica Cadbury is available to help all LMs regarding this matter.

9 March 2024 Minute 2024/16 Substantive topic: Simplification
Ann Hindley has shared with us her insights into the proposals outlined by the Quakers in Yorkshire Quaker Governance Group. We have also received from Erica Cadbury a paper outlining the responses to her meetings with Friends in Keighley, Settle and Skipton which came about in response to minute 2023/92d.

We have heard of the fortunate position we are in because of the existing structure of Quakers in Yorkshire. Erica Cadbury’s consultation has shown that Friends are positive about the suggestion from the Yorkshire Governance Group. We are happy to support their recommendations to have a single registered charity covering all Quaker life and work in Yorkshire and that we retain AMs as purely Quaker bodies not having separate legal status.

We are confident that we can move forward as an AM community through this process acknowledging that this may not always be easy.

We thank Ann and Erica for helping us to move forward: Erica’s paper is filed with these minutes.


26 March 2024 – Minute 2024/03/05 Simplifying our structures and processes
The Yorkshire Quaker Governance Group (QiY Simplifying Charitable Functions Group) has been considering ways to simplify Quaker structures and processes. The Group is recommending the creation of a single charitable body for Yorkshire and has asked Area Meetings to consider the recommendation in principle.

In January we asked Local Meetings to consider this, and we now receive the following minutes from them and also from LAQM Trustees:
Adel business meeting held on 15 January 2024
Minute 10 – Quakers in Yorkshire proposal
The Yorkshire Quaker Governance Group (QiY Simplifying Charitable Functions Group) has published a recommendation to move towards a single charitable body in Yorkshire rather that the present seven Area Meeting Charities. We agree that in principle the proposal is the right way forward. If LAQM agrees to this proposal we hope that we will find ways of helping Adel Friends to keep abreast of work being done by QiY and its implications for Leeds.
Carlton Hill business meeting held on 3 March 2024
Minute 7 Simplifying our Structures and Processes of Quakers In Yorkshire
We have been asked by Area Meeting to report back our thoughts on simplifying our structures and Processes in the Yorkshire Area. Friends have read the document “Keeping the Wheels Turning: Quaker Governance in Yorkshire”. We welcome the content of the report and support the direction of travel specified within it. We send this minute to Area Meeting.
Gildersome business meeting held on 28 January 2024
Minute 24/7 Area Meeting Structure in Yorkshire
We can see various hypothetical advantages to this proposal, for example, the requirements on local Trustees are becoming more onerous. However, we are concerned aobut increased centralisation and think that this new procedure risks being more managerial and bureaucratic. A body such as the proposed one could lead to decisions being made by Friends without local knowledge. The Yorkshire Governance Group would need to come back with a much clearer method of how the new body would function, in particular with regard to issues such as the unified management of property. We think that there is great danger in this proposal. Quakers are contracting; we fear that this proposed new body could lead to even greater contraction. We are not minded to accept this proposal, as outlined.
We forward this Minute to Leeds Area Quaker Meeting.
Ilkley business meeting held on 26 March 2024
2024/17  Response to the proposals regarding Quaker governance in Yorkshire
At a Food for Thought discussion on 18 February, we considered the proposals and made a record of our deliberations. We are largely in favour of the general proposal but wish to send to LAQM the full range of comments raised at our discussion, for further consideration by the Yorkshire Quaker Governance Group. The comments will be sent a separate document, as appended to this minute. (The document is attached in Appendix 2024/03/01.)
Roundhay business meeting held on 25 February 2024
We have considered the working group’s proposals, and are broadly in agreement as to the proposed changes, but we are aware of the danger of introducing more complexity.
We note that there will still be a responsibility laid on all associated with our Quaker bodies to uphold Trustees in their labours on our behalf, and we must make sure that there are clear lines of communication.
With respect to safeguarding, it will still be necessary for each local meeting to make sure that training and arrangements for DBS certification are in place.
AM Trustees held on 4 March 2024
2024/15 Trustee Matters (iv) Simplifying our structures and processes
We have considered the minute and background notes. We feel in principle that this is the right way forward and that it would be very helpful to have Charity Commission responsibilities held at this level.  We would however ask Area Meeting to consider the additional costs required to pay for professional support and advice and the amount of work that would still need to be carried out at local and area meeting level.

Rosie Darwood, who is a member of the Yorkshire Quaker Governance Group, has reminded us about the reasons for the proposals, and about some potential challenges.

We agree that these proposals should be explored further. We have heard of potential benefits and we have also heard some hesitations, including about whether key decisions will be taken away from local Friends. We recognise that the detail will be important. We hope the exploration will be creative and inclusive as we work together to develop new ways of organising.

Pickering & Hull

9 March 2024 – Minute PHAQM/2024/24 Quakers in Yorkshire Simplifying Charitable Functions Group
We have received minutes on the proposals from Beverley, Pickering, Scarborough, Kirkbymoorside and Malton local meetings. They spent time in thoughtful consideration and questioning. All concluded that the proposed changes would be beneficial, but raised certain caveats and questions which we agree to pass on to the group as follows:

We recognize that the proposed group of Trustees would have bigger responsibilities and we hope that Friends can be found to fill these roles. Care must be taken with lines of communication so that they do not seem remote from Area Meetings, that Friends understand what is being done by whom and that smaller Meetings are not neglected. There are also questions about how the new Trustee body will be held accountable and whether meetings of Quakers in Yorkshire would be overburdened with administrative detail.

There was a concern about possible tension between the ‘secular’ work of governance and the spiritual discernment of Area Meetings, but we affirm that all our work is undertaken with the help of the Spirit.

We send this minute and the accompanying minutes from Local Meetings to the Simplifying Charitable Functions group, and we uphold all those who will be involved in taking this process forward, affirming our strong sense of the integrity of trusteeship and governance work as part of the spiritual discipline of being a Quaker.

Sheffield & Balby

14 January 2024 – Minute 7. Yorkshire Quaker Governance
We have received the 18th November 2023 minute of the Simplifying Charitable Functions Group, now the Yorkshire Quaker Governance Group. We have also received a paper setting out the background to the minute. Both of these have been sent out in advance and are attached to these minutes. We also have access to additional material at

We have heard from our representative on the Yorkshire Quaker Governance Group, Ann Hindley, of its recommendation that there be one Yorkshire-wide registered charity replacing the seven Area Meeting charities which currently exist.

The Yorkshire-wide charity would be responsible for finance, property, safeguarding, employment, compliance (risk management, data protection, health & safety, etc.) and public accountability. The charity would require paid professional support and advice. Area Meetings (AMs) would continue to operate as Quaker bodies, without separate legal status. They would be responsible for spiritual and pastoral matters and for witness.

We were asked to share what questions we had on the recommendations so far, that could be fed into the group’s discernment in developing the proposal.

Whilst we recognise the value of pooling some areas of responsibility – particularly financial and property related we feel we would need further information and time for discernment to know if we think this is the right way forward. In our Area Meeting we delegate a great deal to Local Meetings and value having a trustee body that includes Friends with a range of experience to represent our Quaker community. We heard concern about finding Friends to serve on the centralised trustee body and whether this more formal and distanced group might not be able to make the nuanced and quick decisions that serve us well at the local level.

We can see that a new arrangement could provide solutions to some of the current difficulties experienced in our own and other Area Meetings. We see the advantage of reducing the number of trustees needing to be found and a potential lessening of the burden on existing roles.

We are concerned that the burden placed on the Trustees of a Yorkshire wide charity would be significant and that it might be difficult to find Friends to serve in these roles.

We have made a note of the questions asked on the matter, which list is appended to the minutes. We ask that these are taken back to the Governance Group to be included in their continuing discernment. We understand our AM trustees are also considering the group’s proposal and we ask them to respond to the group directly. In principle, we agree that the group should proceed with its work to reach the next stage of the change process, taking into account all the queries they will receive and in the understanding that we are not yet clear that we unite with the proposed structure.  We will be glad to be involved in further discernment when the group are ready to bring us further information for our consideration.

We thank Ann for her work on the Governance Group and for presenting its recommendations to us today.


13 January 2024 – Minute 2024/6 Simplifying Meetings: Minding the Future
David Olver, Clerk of QiY Trustees has sent a minute from the QiY Simplifying Charitable Functions Group which was circulated with this agenda together with additional information. The Group recommends moving towards a single charitable body across Yorkshire with Area Meetings continuing as separate Quaker bodies but not as Charities. David would like Area Meetings to respond in principle by 30 April 2024.
Martina Weitsch, Clerk of YAM Trustees and a member of the Simplifying Charitable Functions Group, spoke to Friends about this recommendation and how it came to be made. She focussed on the current duplication of work amongst the seven Area Meetings in Yorkshire, on the extent of responsibilities and the difficulty in appointing enough Trustees to carry out this work. Friends raised a number of questions and made numerous comments all of which were noted by the Assistant Clerk. There was concern about the tightness of the timetable and also awareness of the need for rethinking in this kind of way and of the support that Trustees may well need. Particular mention was made of the way Welsh Friends have embraced a similar reorganisation and we were reminded that big Quaker projects can bring joy and fun.
We thank Martina for her presentation which is circulated with these minutes. In March we shall consider: ‘Is this a good direction of travel?’

9 March 2024 – Minute 2024/19 Simplifying Meetings: Minding the Future

Further to minute 2024/6 Local Meetings have been considering the minute from David Olver (Clerk of QiY Trustees), discussed at Area Meeting in January 2024, which recommends moving towards single Trustee body to replace he Area Meetings within the ambit of Quakers in Yorkshire. In this way our governance would be simplified and Friends enabled to give service to the Society in other ways. To help Friends in their consideration Martina Weitsch, Clerk of YAM Trustees and a member of the QiY group considering this, held two Zoom sessions in which she gave her AM presentation on the subject and took questions. 35 Friends attended.

Is this a good direction of travel? In principle is a single trustee body for Yorkshire a good idea? On balance Friends think it is and encourage the QiY Simplifying Charitable Functions Group to produce detailed proposals for Friends to consider.


Papers for 2023 meetings

Papers for meeting on 29 May 2023:

Papers for meeting on 26 June 2023:

Meeting on 31 July 2023:

Meeting on 1 September 2023: