London Link Group

Young Quaker London Link Group

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London Link & QHA Christmas Open Shelter Set Up

We must have broken a record: 40 (!!!) or more London Linkers gathered, sorted and set up the Quaker Homeless Action (QHA) Open Shelter.

This was our forth year, so we can definitely consider it as tradition. But never (?) or at least not often have we reached these numbers! Some “Linkers” brought along friends, or younger siblings and parents. This brought participants up to about 60 people shifting boxes, moving furniture; decorating the hall; creating order to the novels; sorting and arranging food, clothes, toiletries and other stuff. All this hard work aimed to create a welcoming space for homeless people or for those who are lonely, or both over Christmas.


It’s had work, yet many of “Linkers” come back year after year to help. And so QHA now relies on London Link to set up the Shelter. So mark your diary for next year!



Among the hard work, there is always lots of laughter and opportunities to meet up with Friends not seen for a while,make new Friends and chat as we worked. And it’s all for a great cause! Lunch is provided by QHA: hot fresh pizzas! We tried to go vegan but the pizza place didn’t have enough, so there were some pepperoni (sausage) pizza’s too, and salads. (It’s just easier to serve one kind of pizza that everyone can eat.)            

Sadly, because of lack of volunteers the Shelter was only open a few days, rather than the full week it usually is. And, it was not 24-hours like previous years. So, those of you who are ‘graduating’ out of London Link, make a note: QHA welcomes volunteers 18+! Next year, you could be helping in the Shelter. And maybe giving the time you would have been with London Link to other worthy causes and charities.

If you know of any charities or groups that would welcome London Linkers help, let us know. Send a message to


It was gratifying to see such a wide age range, right from those who were 11 years old and attending a London Link event for the first time. One such new “Linker” reported “Everyone was so nice!” and wants to return next year!




This QHA Shelter is a space where volunteers offer a welcomed and kindness, and food, clothes and shower (for those wanting). Unlike most winter shelters, the QHA shelter welcomes guests with their dogs. The QHA mobile library is parked at an entrance, For the second year we were at the American International Church, Tottenham Court Road

Quaker Homeless Action has come to rely on the energy and commitment that London Link folk give to setting up the Open House shelter over Christmas.  Hope to see you next year!

Augene, Rebecca, Alan, Michael, Sally, Krishna, Fred, Georgina

Epic in Epping

Young Quakers from LLG attend climate strike earlier in the day

On the 20th – 22nd September London Linkers Gathered in Epping. We had one of our most ambitious and “logistically heavy timetable” – Michael Wood events planned, and we’re happy to say we succeeded, with the assistance of 7 brilliant volunteers, in showing 14 “Linkers” not 1, not 2 but 3 centuries worth of delight in Essex in a weekend that utilised 5 trains, 3 buses, and 1 (not so) secret nuclear bunker!

Epping Meeting (established in the 1700’s) offered to host London Link in their beautiful Meeting House situated in the Market Town of Epping. The fun started on the Friday night with a tasty pasta dish (with roasted broccoli proving an unexpected hit with the young folk), games and a peaceful Epilogue.

Metropolitan number 1

An solid (veggie) cooked breakfast gave everyone the energy they needed to make the early start on Saturday – with a huge stack of sandwiches being constructed around the tidying up. We made it to the bus stop on time and all (just about) piled on to the vintage (Routemaster) 339 bus with a group of

Morris Dancers(!) for the pretty journey to our destination – the historic Epping and Ongar Railway where we spent a happy 20 minutes at the North Weald Station admiring the trains, architecture, Morris Dancing and the gift and tuck shops (we won’t let on to parents and carers quite how many snacks were purchased but it is was all for a good cause).  An 1800’s steam engine (Met 1) (perhaps appreciated more by the older members of the group) conveyed us to Ongar Station where a mad dash got us back on the 339 for a trip to the 1950’s and a product of the Cold War…..

Picnic at a nuclear bunker

But before starting our tour of Kelvedon’s (once) Secret Nuclear Bunker it was agreed that feeding stomachs took precedence over feeding minds and we had our picnic sitting next to a stack of military equipment (and a replica missile) – not a usual location for Quakers.. Once in, we spent several hours exploring the 3 floors of the bunker which started life as an RAF ROTOR Station, then had a brief period as a civil defence centre, then becoming a Regional Government HQ before being decommissioned in 1992. It was designed for up to 600 military and civilian personnel, possibly even the Prime Minister (there were several dummies meant to be representing Margaret Thatcher in different locations which were properly scary), in order to organise the survival of the population should there be a nuclear war. The communications, medical, working and sleeping spaces were fascinating but also quite spooky – though nowhere near as scary as the government information films and adverts telling people what to do in the event of a nuclear war. The official commentary was very dark and confirmed my reasoning that survival might not in our best interests…..


Vintage Routemaster bus

A sit in the sun to absorb both the horror, and a piece of flapjack, preceded another bus ride on the bouncy bus back to Epping for a cup of tea, sit in the garden, and for groups of Linkers a wander around the shops. After a full day, Saturday evening was chilled with board games, music and a gorgeous potato and spinach curry.

On Sunday morning we joined Meeting for Worship and many of us then spent a happy Children’s Meeting making cards to thank Michael for his 10 years as Clerk of London Link!

Thank you to Epping Meeting for hosting us!

Next committee meeting we will be planning our programme for late 2019/2020, watch this space! Helping set up the Quaker Homeless Action Christmas Shelter and Winterval at Westminster in the New Year are likely to be the next two events. Sign up to our mailing list to get notification.

We look forward to seeing you all again soon,

Alan, Amy, Eli, Margarita, Michael, Philip (and we can reassure everyone that Michael hopes to volunteer in future events – phew).


p.s. Note for parents/guardians – Unfortunately this time there were some issues with respect for Meeting House property in the library/female sleeping area – despite being asked to leave the contents of a cupboard belonging to a hirer alone, after the event we found this not to have been respected, leading to the loss of chocolate and sweets belonging to an Alzheimer’s group who were understandably upset. Please remind young people that they agree to adhere to the boundaries at our events and that we do rely on the goodwill of Quaker groups to host us, which part of this is respecting the building and contents! Thanks

Event announcement – Epic in Epping

Come and have an epic time with us in Epping on the evening of the 20/09/2019 to afternoon on 22/09/2019.

All the usual fun Quakery stuff. Plus we’re hoping to do a couple of trips out to some local attractions such as the Epping and Ongar railway!

There will be a group travelling from Central London to Epping or you can meet us at Epping Quaker Meeting House.  More details will be sent to those who are booked on.

If you’re planning on being on the climate strike we have some plans around this too, such as a luggage room and joining some other activities lead by BYM staff.

If you have any questions or haven’t received the event details please email

Please fill in the booking form ASAP.


Hampstead 2019

A group of 8 young people and 5 volunteers from London Link Group (LLG), aka ‘Linkers’ (nickname pending), spent the weekend at Hampstead Meeting House from 26th to 28th July 2019.

The small group meant the weekend was quite casual this time around with lots of chilled sessions and discussions with the obligatory Friday night getting to know you games and use of the many nooks of the Meeting House for a few rounds of the classic Sardines.

After a well-deserved lie-in on Saturday, we started our sessions. The weekend’s main conversations, focused on looking at the upcoming Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) arms fair Expo and the mobilisation of people resisting the Expo. We looked at the promotional material that DSEI used, which noticeably omitted the actual use and consequence of arms. We also partook in an exercise where we had to guess the cost of the armed forces and military equipment which was quite the eye-opener. This session opened up lengthy discussions on the high number of recruitment ads that target young people, centring around the supposed attractive perks of choosing a career in the armed forces.

From the alternative perspective, we looked at promotional materials by the network of groups from within Stop the Arms Fair, including Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT). From this, we explored how Quakers engage in the activities through living their beliefs and putting their faith into action. We specifically looked at the activities that Roots of Resistance (RoR) will be doing within the days leading up to DSEI. It’s likely that some of the LLG may end up attending RoR with their Local Meetings.

Mother Nature decided Saturday needed rain, which scrapped our plans to go over to Hampstead Heath for a picnic lunch and a dip in the swimming ponds. Instead, when the rain settled, everyone had free time to roam around Hampstead. The evening was another chilled affair with more classic LLG games and board games.

As always, it was a pleasure to attend Meeting for Worship with Hampstead on Sunday, ending the weekend in the late afternoon. Over the whole weekend, suggestions for future LLG were collated. Who knows, we could have Kayaking added to the activities and maybe raisins will be added to the shopping list?

Thank you Hampstead Meeting for having us and thank you to the volunteers and the young people for a wholesome weekend.

Until next time!

Sally, Amy, Tas, Nick, Sue

Brighton V

On the 15-17th March 2019, 21 young people and 5 volunteers met for London Link Group Brighton 2019!

This event coincided with the international climate strike that was organised on the Friday 15th. We were all impressed to hear stories of this march and glad that members of London Link Group could help bring young Quakers together for it. We headed off to catch a train, a few snacks-to-boost-our-energy-levels later we arrived in Brighton Meeting House to the welcome of local Brighton Young Quakers, the meeting house and dinner.

Our theme for the weekend was ‘Welcome’, so this not being lost on us… we welcomed everyone to the event! it was great to have a number of new faces with us. We didn’t have long left of the day so we had an Epilogue (a short reflective evening Quaker meeting) and then a bit of free time and bed.

Saturday Breakfast filled us with veggie sausages, scrambled tofu, potato waffles, toast and beans!  We then ran a marathon workshop, based on a resource from Becoming Friends Together . We considered ‘what makes a good welcome’. From exchanging smiles, reaching out to people, asking how they are, to making sure there is always a space for someone to join a group (e.g. sitting in croissants not doughnuts!  O ⇒ C ).

After this we ventured out into a very windy Brighton and in groups went to explore. The young people having exhausted Brighton of it’s cultural, arts, architectural and historical sights (or was it Tescos? I forget..) and the volunteers having drunk all the teas and eaten all the cakes, gathered back at the meeting house for lunch, that being a wrap we had a little more free time until gathering again to hear from two young people who came to the UK as refugees.

Supported by the The Humming bird project they spoke movingly about their journey to the UK from Syria, the incredible danger of their journeys, such as hiding in lorries headed for the UK and the treatment they had in Calais by police. We were shocked that even in a welcoming (to us) place like Brighton they struggle against racist behaviour and islamaphobia on a daily basis, keeping themselves only just afloat with the money they are given to survive on compounded by the difficulty to get any work because of different qualifications or outright discrimination.  At least an hour past where you could have heard a pin drop.

Their stories were that of immense hardship and difficulties, but incredibly they still had enough hope and determination to try to live their hopes and dreams. They explained that part of what keeps them going was being able to share their stories with people like us, countering the increasingly hostile environment and being a part of the humming bird project to try and make sure that future refugees don’t suffer as they did. Truly inspirational.

After a break to digest this session the young people organised some games, quieter games like bannagrams, cards and mafia broke way to several rounds of everyone’s favourite game: sardines. Before dinner we practised a song that we were invited to sing in ‘all age worship’  (like regular Quaker meeting but a bit more programmed to help involve all ages) on Sunday. You can hear our second practice of the song in the video below .

A curry dinner gave us the energy for a fantastic ‘open-mic’ session. We had 10 or so brave and excellent performers, including our very own Eli Carjaval performing his own song “about finding those places and people that help you express your whole self, without fear.” A clip of him singing to us also below . Thank you to everyone who contributed and the audience who listened and encouraged so well.

What a day!

A very gathered and still epilogue. Some hot chocolate then bed.

Sunday sun shone in to the Meeting House. A breakfast of cereal and toast took us to joining all age worship which was coordinated to also be on the theme of ‘welcome’.  After this some participants and members of the meeting joined a workshop run by Ben Pink Dandelion about making our meetings accessible and focusing on things that are important.

Lunch time all too quickly lead to saying goodbyes as we left to journey home.

As one participant said “One of the best trips ever, Will enjoy channelling my new found inner Quaker whenever in need, thank you so much”.

Thank you to everyone who was involved and made it such a great weekend.

You’re more than welcome here.

In Friendship,

Michael, Kathy, Amy, Philip H, Alex and Eli


London Link Singing Citizens Shanty by Boff Whalley (after Roll the Old Chariot Along)


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