Do You Want To Take A Child To The GA Meetings?

If so, I invite you to read on…

‘Might you be interested in bringing your child/grandchild to the 2023 General Assembly Annual Meetings

at the Staverton Park Hotel in Northamptonshire from 4-6 April?

For those of you who don’t know, supported by a team of experienced GA volunteer youth leaders, I organise a range of activities for children and teenagers at The General Assembly Annual Meetings. This email is to let you know about our plans, and to ask you to give us a sense of how many young people to expect.

Our intention is to nourish the spirit of our participants through play. The team will provide a range of rich, meaningful sessions which are fun, safe and inclusive.

For younger participants, we provide a mixed programme of free play and guided sessions which are rooted around a theme. Expect there to be art, dance, drama, music and storytelling.

With teenage participants, we invite them to join us as collaborators and cocreators in imagining, designing, and hosting an experience of their choosing. Throughout this process, our participants are supported by our youth leaders who adopt the roles of facilitators, coaches, and mentors. Most of the planning, led by our participants, happens in advance of the event via Zoom.

For the entirety of the annual meetings, the General Assembly will have exclusive use of the main venue (the spa and golf club will remain open to the public, but these are in a separate building). This will help us to make and maintain a safe space for all. All our youth volunteers are appropriately DBS checked to ensure their suitability to support this event. There will be an appropriate number of first aiders on site throughout the meetings.


Day 1:

Session 1: 2pm – kids dinner slot (TBC)

Day 2:

Session 2: 8:45am – 12:50pm

Session 3: 2pm – kids dinner slot (TBC)

Day 3:

Session 4: 8:45 – 12:50pm

Outside of these sessions participants are the responsibility of their parents or guardians. This means that the GA team will not be taking responsibility for the youth participants during breakfast, lunch, and dinner times. The hotel has agreed to organise an early dinner sitting especially for families with young children. I should add that if your child has specific dietary requirements which you’d like us to pass onto the venue, you must let us know through the booking form.

As a family, if you’d value some quality time to yourselves, there’s always the opportunity to do your own thing. You might wish to create a timetable of your own incorporating a mixture of GA Youth programming and family time. We encourage you to use this time in a way which best meets your needs. For instance, the hotel has a pool onsite which offers family swim sessions from 9 – 10am and later from 4 – 5pm. These sessions are supervised by a lifeguard and are free of charge to hotel guests. Perhaps that might appeal to you? Daventry Country Park is a short 7-minute drive from the hotel. For some that might offer an attractive change of scene. Both the venue and the local area have a lot to offer and are worth checking out ahead of your visit.

To help reduce any financial barriers faced by those wishing to attend, The General Assembly, supported by grants from both The Bowland Trust and The Wood Green Trust, provides a concessionary ticket for those under 18 years of age.

The cost is £75.00 per person.

For parents and guardians, depending on personal circumstances, there are a range of tickets available including subsidised, standard and patron rates. Additional financial support can often be sought from congregations and District Associations. Adult ticket prices will be released soon.

To inform parents and guardians of final arrangements, I organise an information evening, via Zoom, approximately two weeks before we meet in person. During this time, I provide a brief overview of each provision, clarify responsibilities and answer questions which arise.

All are welcome, whether or not your children already take part in congregational life. We hope it will be a chance for them to make new friends, as well as for you to have a chance to enjoy what the annual meetings have to offer, knowing your children are in safe hands, having fun, and making meaningful connections. It may be a chance for you to connect with other Unitarian parents too.

As you can imagine, events like this take some planning. So, to enable me to begin preparations, it would be helpful to know if you are considering bringing a young person to the event. Having an idea of how many young people might be coming will give me an idea of how many volunteers I need to recruit in order to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all concerned.

It would be especially helpful to hear from parents/guardians wishing to bring babies or young toddlers as, depending on their requirements, we may source an appropriately qualified creche provider. If this is you, then please, get in touch as soon as possible.

Might you be interested in supporting future GA events as a youth leader? If so, get in touch. This event provides a great opportunity to meet the team and find out what’s involved.

So, to register your interest, simply compete the brief form below by Friday 13th of January 2023.

For those of you who’d like more details, I’ll be holding an information evening via Zoom on Monday 9th January at 7:30pm for parents wishing to attend the annual meetings as well as potential volunteers wishing to support future events. There I’ll give a quick overview of the youth programme at the annual meetings as well as try my best to answer any questions you might have.

To register for this event click on the link below. Of course, you’re very welcome to drop me an email before then. Always happy to help.



Gavin Howell

Youth Coordinator for The General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches.

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