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  • News

    General the Lord Dannatt, former Head of the British Army, to speak at Conventio

    11 July 2018

    Lord Richard Dannatt

    Keswick Ministries welcomes former Head of the British Army, General the Lord Dannatt to speak at this year’s Convention. Lord Dannatt is one of a number of high-calibre speakers at this year’s Convention which is entitled "SENT – Serving God’s Mission.

    The former professional Head of the British Army and President of Help for Heroes will be speaking on leadership during the first week of the Convention. Lord Dannatt, a committed Christian, was a soldier for forty years before concluding his military career as Chief of the General Staff- the professional head of the British Army. In 2010, he published his first autobiography, Leading from the Front and in 2011 he became an independent member of the house of Lords.

    Lord Dannatt will be the Lecture Speaker in week 1 of the Convention on Wednesday the 18th July from 09:30am – 10:30am. He will be speaking on the ‘armour of God’ from the book on Ephesians on the topic of
    “Sent to the front line: Leadership in a complex world.”
    This talk is free to the public!

    On the issue of leadership, Lord Dannatt comments: “I hope my talk will help church leaders and others to think about the challenge of leadership in difficult times and situations. One very important thing is believing in the importance of what you’re doing, which is a very personal thing and, in my experience, comes from a personal faith in God. My personal faith has given me great peace and purpose throughout my years of service.”

    “ Having served in the army for many years, Lord Dannatt shares how the question of faith will impact everyone at some point, in particular when faced with death. He adds: ”The job of being in the army means facing life and death situations. In my experience there are few people, when the bullets fly, that don’t reach out for something bigger and beyond themselves in that situation. We would call this something “God”. I think it’s really important to be able to provide the opportunity for people to know about God and I am thankful for the Scripture Readers Association (SASRA), which provides a unique opportunity for those in the forces to explore who God is."

    Looking forward to his visit to the North West, he comments on how thankful he is for the many generous donations and support which have come from this region in support of those in the British forces. “I’m always very thankful when I go and speak at public events for the support of the general public, whether it’s supporting Help for Heroes or a parade for a local regiment like The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, because wherever soldiers go on operations, they go on behalf of the people and are serving on behalf of the people. They march ten feet tall when the public are showing their appreciation.”

    Coincidently, Lord Dannatt lives in a small village called Keswick in Norfolk, where earlier this year the River Yare flooded and created a lake in front of his house! He is now looking forward to visiting the real lake at Keswick!

    About General Lord Dannatt:
    Richard Dannatt was a soldier for forty years, concluding his military career as Chief of the General Staff – the professional head of the British Army. Since retiring from active duty in 2009, he was Constable of the Tower of London until July 2016. In 2011 he became an independent member of the House of Lords. He is the Chairman of the Royal Armouries. He was the founder Chairman of the Strategic Advisory Board of the Durham Global Security Institute which focuses on conflict prevention through the integration of defence, diplomacy and development. He is a Deputy Lieutenant for both Greater London and Norfolk. He published his autobiography: “Leading from the Front” in 2010, and a second book: “Boots on the Ground – Britain and her Army since 1945” in October 2016. He is married with four children, and eight grandsons.

    He has been awarded: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath, Commander of the Order of the British Empire, Military Cross, Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service

  • News

    Pencil Factory Conference Centre to create 96 jobs

    28 June 2018

    Pencil Factory Lettering

    Keswick, 27 June 2018 – Ninety-six new jobs will be created through the refurbishment of the former Pencil Factory in Keswick into a conference centre, according to a new report.


    Keswick Ministries is planning to transform the old Pencil Factory into a modern conference centre that will be let commercially to leading businesses and organisations from around the country for leadership conferences.

    KM’s plan will attract 5,000 additional visitors to the town each year outside the main tourist season. The venue will also be available for Christian and local events.

    The report demonstrates that this activity would create 30 direct jobs locally and 66 in- direct jobs within the supply chain. The authors state: “It is important to recognise that Keswick Ministries proposed use of the renovated building will enable a sub-contract market of local staff and businesses that will create employment as a result of services they provide. Keswick Ministries will require outsourced provisions for catering, laundry, retail, bus services, outdoor activities and accommodation.”

    The report concludes that plans for the Pencil factory site; “…clearly demonstrates an employment use for this site both directly (30 jobs) and indirectly (66 jobs) within the locality on an all year-round basis.”

    Commenting, Keswick Ministries', Chief Operating Officer, David Sawday said: “It’s a genuinely exciting prospect. ”The pencil factory building has sat empty since 2007, when the production of the Derwent pencils moved to Workington. We are now creating a facility that will be of great pride and benefit to Keswick."

    The Keswick Ministries team is currently drawing up plans to market the venue and it hopes to host the first conferences in 2022.

    “The Pencil Factory is an iconic building with an amazing heritage. The top floor, where the conference centre will be located, offers stunning views and the opportunity for team activities in the surrounding fells. Altogether, it will make the Pencil Factory a premier destination for company conferences and we will generate income for local businesses and create real jobs,” said Mr Sawday.

    The employment report was carried out by leading planning employment consultants, MJN PDMC Ltd as part of Keswick Ministries' planning application. Their calculations are based on recognised industry standards.
    Refurbishment work on the building is due to start in August when asbestos removal commences. Building work will begin in the Spring of 2019.

    The site will be in use at the Convention this summer for the Operation Mobilisation Global Village Experience with the Convention’s main marquee moving to the site for the 2020 Convention.

  • News

    Traders sign-up to ‘Friends of Keswick’ scheme designed to promote local trade

    26 June 2018

    Friends of Keswick

    Friends of Keswick, the new loyalty card scheme aimed at boosting trade in Keswick, has fifteen local businesses already signed-up and more are expected to join.

    Founding members of the initiative are the Keswick Tourism Association (KTA), Keswick Ministries, who run the Keswick Convention and Newlands Activity Centre. The scheme will be launched to the public at a welcome event for Keswick Conventioners on July 14th, 2018.

    Throughout the summer, visitors to Keswick can participate in the Friends of Keswick loyalty card scheme as a way of supporting local businesses and giving back to the local economy. Participants get their cards stamped at a range of businesses around the town. Once they collect 10 stamps, they can claim a free Friends of Keswick badge and will be entered in a prize draw.


    Retailers, food outlets and activity providers have signed-up to the scheme. Traders include Evergreen Florists, Alexandra’s on Packhorse Court and Soap Co. on Main Street.


    Alexandra Boardman, of Alexandra’s, said: “I am happy to support the Friends of Keswick Scheme. Part of what makes Keswick a great place to visit is its unique selection of shops, cafes and attractions and so I am hoping that an initiative like this will encourage visitors to try cafes and shops that they may not have been into before and explore what we have to offer.”


    Debra Binns, Evergreen’s owner, said: “The reason we decided to join was because a lot of the conventioners come in already; it’s a way to show support to them. We are also a very big community shop so it’s lovely to be supporting the community.”


    While Kim Nowak, business development and marketing co-ordinator, of Soap Co., said: “The Keswick Convention has always been our busiest three weeks in the year. If it’s something we can do for other shops and businesses, then I’m fully up for it.”

    Vanessa Metcalfe, Tourism Manager of the Keswick Tourism Association, said: "It’s great to see that a range of different businesses have joined the scheme. There is still time for anyone who has not yet signed-up to get involved.
    “We want to help businesses maximise their trade during the summer months and hope that this new initiative provides a boost for the town. We will be encouraging all visitors who sign-up to the loyalty card scheme to support local businesses, as well as enjoy the beauty of the area.”


    Keswick Ministries' Chief Operating Officer, David Sawday, said: “Each year, the Convention brings thousands of visitors to the town who form a life-long love of Keswick, and who return again and again. We want to encourage them to engage even more with local businesses and we believe Friends of Keswick will help develop and drive those relationships.”


    Window stickers will be distributed to participating businesses. Their names will be displayed on the KTA website and the Keswick Ministries ‘Enjoy Keswick’ website. Those who have already signed-up will also feature in the Enjoy Keswick insert in the Keswick Convention handbook and be promoted during the event itself.


    Friends of Keswick is one of a number of initiatives, including the Lake District Pound, introduced to strengthen support of local businesses. Keswick Ministries has also freed-up the afternoon Convention programme to allow conventioners more time to explore the local area.

    Businesses taking part in the scheme are: Alexandra’s, Allerdale House, Cake and Salad, Ever Green Florist, Fultons Jewellers, Keswick Museum, Mountain Warehouse, Newlands Adventure Centre and Keswick Climbing Wall, Present Moment, Silver and Thread, Soap Co, Sweet Treats, The Card Collection, The Wild Strawberry and The Honey Pot.

    Businesses can sign-up to the loyalty card scheme via KTA by emailing: vanessa@keswick.org

  • News

    Global Village Experience comes to Keswick Convention 2018

    11 June 2018

    Global Village

    For the first time ever, the Global Village experience will come to Keswick as part of the Keswick Convention.

    It dramatically highlights the difficult situations millions of people around the world find themselves in and how the good news of Christ can make a difference.

    The experience uses multimedia and employs actors to bring to life the severe conditions many people live in and challenge participants in their response to a divided world.

    The experience will run during the Keswick Convention from the 21st of July to the 3rd of
    August 2018 in a large marquee set up in front of the old pencil factory.

    It is the first time that this area of the site will be used as part of the Convention.

    As well as the Global Village marquee, the site will also host accommodation containers for the actors and staff of the experience.

    Registrations to take part in the experience are now open and people are encouraged to register as soon as possible as time-slots are limited.

    "We are very excited to be able to make this unique experience available. It is wonderful to see the pencil factory site come to life through it and inspire many to step out of their comfort zone and make a difference in the world. It is a real eye-opener and something we encourage everyone to take part in.

    “Participants will be taken on a simulated journey designed to experience first-hand the broken world that surrounds us. Inside the village travellers might meet somebody from a foreign land or might even recognise someone that lives next door. It offers a small window into the world of suffering around us and has already been transformational to many,” says David Sawday, Chief Operating Officer, Keswick Ministries.

    The experience ties in with this year’s Convention theme: SENT. Over the last 140 years, whilst attending the Keswick Convention, thousands of Christians, such as Helen Roseveare and Amy Carmichael felt called to go out on mission and reach out to a suffering world.

    Global Village 2

    "I am excited for OM’s Global Village to be part of Keswick 2018 and to be able to challenge British church-goers as to what their role in missions could look like.

    “Often, we believe that missions is something reserved for the ‘super holy’ among us, or as a dull bi-annual evening service - but God gives us all the opportunity to reach out to the lost all the time. It isn’t something to be kept separate, but as an integral part of our walk with God.”, says Kris Johnstone, Head of Communications for Operation Mobilisation.

    The broken world presented in Global Village will only scratch the surface of the needs of this world. Not representing any particular people group or plight, Global Village demonstrates that the opportunities to help are not always the obvious ones.

    Global Village is multi-sensory experience that creatively brings missions to life and defines the relevancy of it into our lives. People are encouraged to sign up to gain new insights into the needs of this world. Often participants find their purpose in life through this unique experience.

    The experience has been developed by Operation Mobilisation.

    It is not designed as a youth event, but for everybody aged 13 and over.
    To find out more, see a short video and to register, please go to: https://www.uk.om.org/globalvillage.