A 2022 review of the East Kent Buddhist Sangha and a way forward.
What have we achieved in the last year?
Our goals were to become more visible and to attract diversity, especially with younger people. Also to explore setting up a centre and formalise the care that our sangha can offer.
Sara, our social media co-ordinator, has done wonders. She has created interesting and informative Facebook and Instagram pages for EKbuddhists and Mind Matters (a more secular platform). So far, six people from this have come to the Pilates Shed on Saturday morning, two people to beach meditation, and five people to sangha evening.
We have created a beautiful website which allows people greater access to what we offer. This is regularly updated.
Our drop-in class at Pilates shed is becoming more popular on Saturday mornings. The 'A' frame we leave outside brought one person into the class.
What else have we achieved?
Continuing success of Year 2 study and post mitra study online.
Networking with other organisations.
Continuing success of BAM (Buddhist Action Month) inc Geoff’s sponsored walk.
What is our Vision for the following year?
We feel that we are just getting into our stride with social media and marketing, that the seeds that we have planted are beginning to grow and that it has taken a year to achieve this. So we see the next year as a year of consolidation, building on the structures we have set up.
We have asked Vajradevi to give order members and mitras some teacher training on meditation. Our aim is that all the people who teach are confident and clear about what and why they are teaching and that we create an environment where people are encouraged to be curious about their practice. And hopefully, this will ensure consistency in the way we teach meditation.
Other new initiatives include:
A sangha lunch club
A new study group for beginners
A new Monday lunchtime class at Pilates Shed in January
A new group forming in Canterbury
Over the last year, Prajnasisya has explored how our sangha can offer care to people in the sangha and community. Care has always been an important element of our sangha and we do it well. An initial idea was to set up a care home/sangha centre, but this was found not to be viable with the human resources that we have. However, we have decided to be part of the Local Care Network set up by the Abhayaratna Trust and in January several interested sangha members will go on some training by Age UK to get this off the ground. (Please let Prajnasisya know if you are interested in joining this group).
A sangha centre team was set up to explore how we could set up EKB Centre using Christina’s legacy.
They invited Bill Giles, a charity fundraiser, to explore some possibilities.
He made these four important points:
1. If you are going to buy a property, you will need to do some fundraising for the mortgage and other costs. To do this you will need to set a very clear Vision so that your aims match the criteria of charities/organisations that are offering funds.
2. If you decide to rent you will probably be looking at commercial properties and will have to invest some of your capital into making the place suitable. Also, leases can come to an end and you may lose everything you have set up.
(With both of the above, you would need to appoint a project manager).
3. Set up a benevolent fund so that we can support other initiatives elsewhere in Triratna.
4. Do nothing.
So we have decided to put the idea of setting up a centre on hold and review it this time next year. At the moment with what we are offering we don’t currently need a new centre.
Building on this shared Vision, we asked for comments from others at our Sangha Evening on 21st September 2022, as follows:
Provide translations and explanations of pujas on the website.
Provide a glossary of key words.
Pay for google advertising of the Website so that we have more hits (ask Jared).
Instead of using our legacy to buy a centre, buy some woodland and set up a retreat place.
Use physical advertising eg, local papers, magazines, shops, Landmark.
Online weekly lunchtime meditation.
Pop up meditation in Margate, Dover etc.
The idea of Local Care Network was well received esp services for the elderly.
Paper handouts of what we do to hand out when appropriate.
Design an A4 handout “About Us” to have a sangha evening for newcomers.
And the general consensus at the meeting was that we have achieved a lot in the last year and that the teamwork approach is working well.
With metta from