The forum was launched by Keswick Ministries to develop a higher level of two-way communication between the annual 3-week summer event and the town, and to encourage a greater level of connection between the town and the Conventioners.
The Friends of Keswick and Enjoy Keswick schemes both proved popular in 2018 and are set to continue. Friends of Keswick is a loyalty scheme that encourages visitors to shop and eat locally. The Enjoy Keswick website will also be refreshed and expanded and is supported by the Enjoy Keswick brochure, which is distributed free to all Conventioners. Both aim to profile local shops, restaurants and activity centres and help businesses boost trade.
As was the case this year, a stand promoting Keswick will again feature at the Convention’s exhibition marquee, Base Camp, on the Rawnsley site. The marquee hosts a coffee shop, a relay of the main Convention services and displays of Christian charities such as Caring for Life in Lancashire, which supports previously fostered adults.
These and other measures were discussed at the Town Liaison Forum where traders, councillors, tourism, local authority services and Keswick Ministries met to discuss Convention plans and how to maximise the benefits for the community.
The Convention Programme
Among the topics discussed, were updates on the Convention programme, which will run from July 13 until August 2. Week One will continue to be in school term time and no afternoon meetings will be planned for all three weeks of the Convention.
The main elements of the programme are in the mornings and evenings, with one evening concert per week from 9.15pm to 10.15pm.
James Robson, Ministry Director for Keswick Ministries, said: “We used to have a talk in the afternoon at 2.30pm. But, after listening to the town, we decided to give Conventioners more free time in the afternoon so they can fully enjoy all Keswick and the locality has to offer.”
At the meeting town representatives were encouraged to pass on details of the programme to food providers, as Conventioners tend to eat earlier in the evenings to then go to the 7.30pm sessions.
“We know that restaurants serving meals earlier are benefiting from that,” added Mr Robson. Keswick Ministries representatives will also be visiting local businesses in the Spring to brief them on the Convention programme, so businesses will know when Conventioners have spare time to shop and eat and have information on the opportunities to participate in Enjoy Keswick and Friends of Keswick.
Keswick Ministries shared ideas to encourage town engagement in the afternoons by organising events such as walks, outdoor activities, and perhaps a visit to the cinema.
Details of the 2019 Convention speaker programme are now available. Again, world-calibre Christian ministers and praise leaders have been invited:
Week One (July 13- 19) John Risbridger is the main speaker for the morning meetings and worship will be led by Colin Webster. John Wyatt, Professor of Ethics and Perinatology at University College London, a well-known speaker on issues of artificial intelligence, and beginning and end-of-life issues, will be among the seminar lecturers.
Week Two (July 20- 26) features Vaughan Roberts, as the main Bible reader and worship will be led by EMU Music. Count Everyone In will again offer meetings and activities for adults with learning difficulties.
Week Three (July 27- August 2) US pastor, Ray Ortlund from Nashville, USA, will be the main Bible reader and worship will be led by Olly Knight. Evening speakers include Any Orr-Ewing from Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics. As part of the Week 3 Keswick Unconventional Programme, art masterclasses are planned, which would be open to the town.
The main meetings are live-streamed globally.
Steve Wilde, from Cumbria Police is working with Keswick Ministries on safety. He said: “We’re making sure our planning is right so Conventioners have a safe and enjoyable time over the three-week period.”
New Complaints phone number
David Sawday, Keswick Ministries’ Chief Operating Officer, said “robust” complaints measures will continue, with the addition of a new, dedicated complaints telephone number for the 2019 Convention in case complaints arise.
The Derwent Project & more visitors to the town of Keswick at other times of the year
Updates were given on the Derwent Project, as the Lake District National Park is expected to make its planning decision in February. Work will then start on demolishing the old admin and packing buildings, and refurbishing the ground floor of the former Pencil Factory, in readiness for the main marquee to move from Skiddaw Street to the Pencil factory site in 2020.
Representatives heard that Keswick Ministries’ growing Teaching and Training programme is bringing more visitors to Keswick throughout the year.
The next Town Liaison Forum is set to take place on February 12th, 2019.