Wantage Sisters give £60,000 grant to Oxfordshire quiet space charity

Children enjoy one of BeSpaces quiet areas

The Community of St Mary the Virgin (CSMV), Wantage, is offering local Oxfordshire charity, BeSpace, a grant of £20,000 a year for the next three years to support its pioneering work.

BeSpace was set up six years ago by local activist Catherine Clayton and received charitable status last year. BeSpace facilitates quiet areas, often in schools, for children and adults to reflect on who and why they are. In these contemplative zones people are invited to process and comprehend their thoughts, feelings, beliefs, emotions and to believe that they are wonderfully made. Starting with one space, the charity has now seen over 270 spaces, almost 30 of them being in the Wantage and Grove areas.

“BeSpace is passionate about giving young people and adults in all communities the opportunity and space to engage with Christian prayer,” says Catherine. “Our aim is to equip local churches enabling them to connect with a wide range of people in schools, work places and community events. The generous grant from CSMV will allow us to build capacity to support and train churches in running prayer spaces with the ever demanding number of schools wishing to have them.”

Speaking on behalf of CSMV, Sister in Charge Sister Stella said, “There are too few opportunities for quiet contemplation in today’s busy world. We are delighted to be able to support the innovative work of BeSpace introducing children and adults to the value of reflection and Christian prayer.”

CSMVs support for the work of BeSpace in schools is the latest in a series of developments underlining the Community’s continuing commitment to Christian education, both locally and further afield. Last year the Sisters took the decision to stay at the Convent in Wantage. This year CSMV has signed a co-operative partnership with the Oxford Diocesan Schools Trust and announced that in the summer the Vale Academy Trust’s central staff team is to move into offic