Updated 29 October 2019

   Linked with Pacong - South Sudan, Kutigi - Nigeria, Southern Nyanza - Kenya, Ijesha North - Nigeria, Karnataka Central - South India



References and administration details

Charity Name: Mothers’ Union in the Diocese of Bristol

Registered charity number: 249689

Charity’s Principal  address: 13 Cairndow Way

  Upper Stratton


 Wiltshire SN2 7TQ

Names of the charity trustees who manage the charity:

Mrs Aurea Hart Diocesan President

Mrs Rita Brereton Vice President (Bristol Archdeaconry)

Mrs Margaret Smith Vice President / Trustee

Mrs Anne Pope Vice President (Malmesbury Archdeaconry)

Mrs Pam Mills Diocesan Treasurer

Mrs Mary Head Action & Outreach Co-ordinator

Mrs Diane Henry Deanery Leader (Bristol South)

Mr Chris Pope Central Services Co-ordinator

Mrs Linda Rawlings Deanery Leader (Bristol West)

Mrs Catherine Reynolds Deanery Leader (Chippenham)

Mrs Barbara Tooby Deanery Leader (Kingswood & South Gloucestershire)


The Rev. Dr Janet Anderson-Mackenzie

Structure, governance and management

Description of the charity’s trusts

Type of Governing document  Royal Charter granted 15th June 1926 as amended by

   supplemental Charter dated 6th September 1974 and amended

   24th April 2018

Trustee selection methods   Elected from membership

Objectives and activities:

The Mothers’ Union is a charity whose work consists of supporting and helping families throughout the Anglican Communion in religious, educational and practical projects in accordance with the Aims and Objects set out in the Constitution.  These are:

To promote and support married life

To encourage parents in their role to develop the faith of their children

To maintain a worldwide fellowship of Christians united in prayer, worship and service

To promote conditions in society favourable to stable family life and the protection of children

To help those whose family life has met with adversity.

Mothers; Union, Bristol Diocese is one of the federated, registered Mothers’ Union charities in the British Isles and Europe, together with many more in other parts of the world, supported by the Central Charity of Mothers’ Union.  It is responsible for the overall conduct of the affairs of Mothers’ Union in the Diocese, including the maintenance of the spiritual life of the Mothers’ Union and its members.

The work of the Diocesan Mothers’ Union is carried out voluntarily by its members.

The relationship between Bristol Diocesan Mothers’ Union (Charity No 249689) and the Central Mothers’ Union (Charity No 240531) is maintained formally by the Diocesan President who is a member of the Worldwide Council and attends annual Provincial meetings for all Diocessan Presidents in the Canterbury Province.

Membership in Bristol Diocese

In 2018 we had 665 members (565 Branch members, 47 Diocesan members and 53 IMPC members) and there were 29 branches.

This means that we have lost 26 members during the last year, a reduction in total membership of nearly 4%.   The number of Diocesan members went up by 8 while the number of IMPC members remained the same.  The number of branches has not gone down this year though we lost two branches in 2017.

Summary of the main activities in relation to these objects:

The Trustee Board met eight times (twice more than in 2017) which included the Annual General Meeting in April and the Autumn Council meeting in October with an average attendance of 68%.  There was long term ill health issues for a couple of our Trustees which meant they missed several meetings.  Mrs Mary Head resigned during the year on the grounds of ill health and was not replaced.

The Trustees reviewed both the existing work of the Diocese and proposals for new projects which would further the work of the Charity within the framework of the objectives. These were the main activities during the year:

received regular reports from all project co-ordinators and deanery leaders

looked at possibilities of starting new projects

received reports from Worldwide and Provincial Conferences

looked at how to best manage communications across the Diocese

produced a Safeguarding Policy for Children and Vulnerable Adults and a booklet giving guidance about Safeguarding for Branch Leaders to use.

reviewed what needed to be done for compliance with GDPR

President’s Report

Your Trustee Board has had to face many changes during the year:  

The  Membership Communication Project which means all members’ details are safely stored on a central database which can be accessed by designated people to make sure it is kept up-to-date.  It will make communication much easier within the Diocese.

The rolling out of MULOA

GDPR, all about Data Protection

Consultation on the Constitution & Worldwide Council,

Electing new Trustees for the next Triennium

Safeguarding – in connection with recent media coverage

New regulations from the Charity Commissioners

I thank our Trustees for the work they have put in keeping up with all the new legislation that has come our way.

The theme for the year was “Following in Mary Sumner’s footsteps … “ and this theme was incorporated into our activities and worship during the year.  We had a very special visitor at our Annual General Meeting in 2018 – Lynne Tembey who was Worldwide President.  She spent three days with us and one of the highlights was the service held in Bristol Cathedral when we celebrated Lady Day which unusually fell in April instead of March because of the early date for Easter.  

It was Lynne Tembey’s last year as Worldwide President and it was a year which saw many changes in the governance of Mothers’ Union.  The new constitution which was signed at Worldwide Conference in February, was written for our time – and its more flexible so can respond to modern ideas. Amendments to the Charter were approved by Order of HM The Queen in Council on 24 April 2018. The elections for the next Triennium were conducted under the new rules. Communications too have been modernised by the setting up of the Central Membership Database.  Once this has been brought up-to-date it will be easier to ensure people get the communications they want and need to be effective members of MU.

All this does mean that we on the Trustee board should be looking at revising our own constitution for Bristol and that will be one of our tasks during 2019.  The big noticeable change is that Diocesan Presidents are no longer part of Worldwide Council.  The world has been divided into eleven Zones and each one has a Zonal Trustee on the Central Trustee Board.  Britain and Ireland still has the biggest representation with the five Provinces each represented by a Zonal Trustee – Canterbury, York, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.  Diocesan Presidents elect their own Zonal Trustee and Provincial Presidents and the Worldwide President.  In Canterbury, Nikki Sweatman has been elected as our Zonal Trustee though she remains as Provincial President for this year.  We have elected Susan Baker from Ely to be our Provincial President elect to take over from her in 2020.  This has opened up the Central Trustee Board as each Zone is represented on the board and this year we have appointed the first WWP to come from outside Britain & Ireland – Sharen Harper from Guyana.  

The Unit committees at Mary Sumner House have been disbanded as the staff want to share the work that the committees did with the membership all over the UK.  They are setting up Communities of Interest which any member can join if they have a particular interest.  All communication will be through postings on the website and emails.  The Communities cover:  Finance, Governance, Membership Directory and Website, Policy, Faith, Fundraising, Communications, Development (covering projects like AFIA, Prison work, Refugees, etc.) Membership support, and development, and MU enterprises. Any member can be involved in any of these areas.

Following Worldwide Council in February, Diocesan Presidents and one Trustee from each Diocese received extensive training in the project MULOA (Mothers’ Union Listens, Observes, Acts) and  there was a second session in July.  We are encouraged to take this training out to our members and so far we have delivered sessions in Swindon and at a branch meeting in Bristol West There are planned sessions for a Deanery meeting in Kingswood and South Glos and another Deanery session in Chippenham.  .  

In May we observed “Thy Kingdom Come …” initiative by using a special service in our branches or linking in to the live streaming of the service from Coventry Cathedral on the internet.  

During the year I attended as many Deanery events as possible and visited several branches.  Reports on our various projects are given below and there has been a lot of exciting work done.  We were  particularly pleased to note that Gill Wilding’s work leading the Friends for Parents team at Bristol Children’s Hospital was recognised by the Prime Minister along with other workers in the NHS.  The volunteers at Ashfield Prison were told how much their work is valued when they attended a special tea party given by the prison staff in appreciation of how it helps them in their work.  Cathedral Welcomers have annual meetings with the Senior Staff here and they too are told how much their work is valued.  We know that the coach trips to Weston-super-Mare are very special for the families who go on these and we get letters from parents and children who benefit from these trips.

I represent the Mothers’ Union on Diocesan Synod and attend the meetings as invited by the Bishop.  I look forward to meeting our new Bishop of Bristol, Bishop Vivienne Faull, as I feel it is important to keep contact with the Bishop and the Diocese.

The Annual Meeting and Services were held in Swansea in 2018 and six members from Bristol Diocese were able to attend.

As we look to the future, the Trustees will be looking at the following developments:

Increased and younger membership. Younger people could perhaps be encouraged to come to MU if it was in a different form ie evening suppers.

Prayer to be at the root of everything we do.

Publicise Mothers’ Union whenever possible to raise awareness.

Spread MULOA.

Look at addressing areas of concern such as membership and family life.

To sum up it was felt important to keep all projects going and to involve younger people. I feel that even though we do a have couple of vacancies at present we can face the next three years with a strong and enthusiastic Trustee board.  

Activities during the year achieved by our units:

Faith & Policy

During the year the following were achieved:

providing services for Deanery Festivals, Wave of Prayer and Advent

providing prayers for Diocesan meetings

organising the Wave of Prayer across the Diocese, trying to include Diocesan Members

circulating prayer needs by email

planning a Diocesan Quiet Day in September which was led by our Diocesan Chaplain

working closely with our Diocesan Chaplain. It was noted that she had a heavy workload and that she was on EMDL (Extended Ministerial Development Leave) from April to July 2018.

Social Policy

During the year the following were achieved:

provided regular reports to Trustee Board meetings

sent out ‘16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence’ information to all branches and diocesan members

a group held a vigil outside Bristol Cathedral during the ‘16 Days of Activism’ with placards and attended a special Eucharist marking the event in Bristol Cathedral

kept members up to date with Social Policy by email

Action and Outreach

Cathedral Welcomers

Members from across the Diocese continue to provide a welcome, 5 days a week, for up to 600 visitors a day of all nationalities to our Cathedral.  We have over 60 volunteers and during the year the days were extended to include Saturday mornings.  Welcomers also assist at the Cathedral Education events.

Friends for Parents

The team provides support for parents of children in the Bristol Childrens’ Hospital.  Many patients come from some distance and they arrive when their child is admitted as an emergency and the help and advice they receive from the team is much appreciated.  Members support this project mainly by providing tea and coffee for the parents’ rooms though there are currently three MU members on the team working alongside other volunteers.  During 2017 there was a service to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Friends for Parents which was set up by Bristol Mothers’ Union in 1987.  Support is also obtained from the Guild of Friends of the Children’s Hospital and fund-raising by families of members as well as MU Branches.

AFIA (Away From It All)

This project can provide holidays for families in need but in this Dicoese we concentrate our funding providing coaches for families to have  a day out at the seaside in Weston-Super-Mare. This Diocesan Project has enjoyed an exciting varied summer and has given an amazing number of families a happy time with good memories. This year we we were able to send coaches from Swindon, Chippenham and Kingswood.   Kings Meadow Flat, which supports deprived families in a housing estate in Kingswood Deanery, almost filled a 70 seater coach this year. The RISE project took 210 children and adults to Weston-s-Mare during the first week of August on three separate days. The Calne RISE Project which is in Salisbury Diocese was provided with a day out by the Local Rotary Club having learnt what was happening with the MU in Chippenham.  All families on the day’s out received a cash donation from the MU this year because working alongside these folk we know that poverty has increased and the decision was made to ensure every family would be able to have at least ice creams. The coaches were £350 each day for the 70 seater coaches from our usual coach company but unfortunately they were unavailable for the Swindon trip.  As we had taken 2 coaches in 2017 and were and could have filled another from the area we booked the maximum number of seats for most economical cost which was a 90 seater coach for £800.  The Weston pier owner was very co-operative and instructed the security staff of all changes. All who went on these coaches were given free admittance to the pier and the owner was also very aware of the safeguarding issues realising we did have vulnerable children within our groups. Thanks go to the local MU members and local Project Workers concerned for well organised days out when Safeguarding, Health and Safety and care of families and the coaches was worry free.


This holiday project for disabled children at Emerson’s Green was supported in 2018 as part of AFIA.  Disabled children and their siblings came together from over the South West and on arrival were allocated one health professional and one disabled carer per disabled child.

Ashfield Prison

This is a fairly new project but there are now 23 volunteers willing to welcome visitors to HMP Ashfield at Pucklechurch on Saturday afternoons.  Many visitors have travelled long distances and appreciate the welcome drink, biscuit or cake and friendly word on arrival.  The prison authorities have made MU very welcome and during the year there have been improvements to the visitors’ reception area.

Virtual Babies

This project is run in partnership with Salisbury Diocese. We have two MU volunteers who go into a secondary school in Swindon to help organise young people who take a Virtual Baby home for the weekend.  The feedback at the end of the weekend enables volunteers to give parenting advice to the young people and they sometimes go into schools to give talks to Year 9 about parenting. Another MU volunteer assists with a Virtual Baby scheme in Corsham.

Knitting – jumpers, twiddle muffs and blankets

Knitted garments continue to be collected in large numbers from across the Diocese and also neighbouring dioceses.  They are knitted by members and non-members and donations also come from some knitting groups.  Jumpers have been taken to many countries in Africa, Asia, South America and Eastern Europe.  Muffs go to local care homes or to the Bristol Royal Infirmary. Knitted hats are provided for the Mission to Seamen in Avonmouth.

Bible Society Christmas Books

In 2017 our members distributed 4,500 Christmas story books to children schools, playgroups, toddler groups, Crib Services and Messy Church groups. As previously these books were much appreciated as were the visits from MU members.


This charity runs Childrens’ Centres in North Wiltshire and we continue to support families needing help particularly in Chippenham.  Occasionally families are moved into the area and need their new home to be completely furnished and local people are good at producing what is needed. They also benefit from the coaches provided through AFIA.

Kingsmeadow Flat

This is a new project for MU Bristol.  Currently we are providing some toiletries and cleaning materials which are distributed through the Kingswood Food Bank.  We also sent one AFIA funded coach from this estate.   We hope to be able to continue with this support in 2018 and perhaps be able to help finance Forest School activities for some children.

Asylum Seekers – Malcolm X Centre, Bristol

The Centre caters for those actively seeking asylum and provides learning opportunities for members. There is also a requirement for groceries, toiletries, men’s clothes, sewing machines, and wheeled suitcases and back packs.  Bristol MU provides rice, tinned fish and other items much of which is donated by members.


We try to keep in touch with our link Diocese which are:  Pacong, South Sudan; Southern Nyanza, Kenya; Kutigi and Ijesha North, Nigeria; and Karnataka Central, India.  We send Christmas cards and Easter greetings by email but have had limited response.  We have also helped to fund building work for an MU Hostel in Kumi, Uganda through a member who takes teams of volunteers out to Kumi to work on projects there for periods of 2 weeks or more.  We also pay for a Teaching Assistant for a disabled child in an orphanage in Malawi – without this assistance the child would not be able to attend school.


One of our branches in Swindon used to support the Service User Swindon Team, a crime reduction charity working with drug users to aid rehabilitation.  Sadly this work came to an end in 2018 when the funding was withdrawn.


We thank Penny Wheeler, MUe representative in Kingswood and South Gloucestershire Deanery, for all that she does to promote the sale of MU goods in the Diocese.  She has been the representative for nearly 10 years during which time there have been big changes.  Her aim is to firstly receive income for our Diocesan Projects through the 10% of the net value of goods sold being returned to the Diocese and secondly to raise awareness of Mothers’ Union through the sale of cards in churches and at Diocesan events.  She holds a huge range of high-quality cards which are sold at reasonable prices.  During 2018 she had orders and stock sales amounting to over £2,500.  She would like to see more branches encouraging sales within their parishes by having a small selection of cards to sell in their churches.

During 2018 we have also:

distributed copies of Families Worldwide: a free publication for members produced by Mary Sumner House

collated orders from branches for ‘Families First’ bimonthly magazine which is produced by Mary Sumner House

ensured whenever possible that Mothers’ Union cards etc/ is on sale at all our events and available for our branches

circulated to branches the monthly newsletter emailed out by Mary Sumner House

promoted our activities on the Bristol MU website


Our Unit co-ordinator sends Easter and Christmas messages to indoor members and also requests cards from MSH for those celebrating 90+ birthdays, Golden and Diamond Wedding anniversaries, and long membership certificates.

As we look forward to 2019 we hope that all our units and projects will continue with their activities reaching out to families and those in need.  A new Trustee Board has been elected for the new Triennium.  Your Trustees plan to use MULOA (Mother’s Union Listens, Observes, Acts) to help promote the work of the Mothers’ Union to those within our churches and on the fringes.  The Trustees will meet regularly and hope to start working on a three year plan for the Triennium 2019-2021.


The trustees declare that they have approved the trustees’ report above.

Mrs Aurea Hart

Diocesan President

Mothers’ Union

in the Diocese of Bristol

Registered Charity No 249689

Annual Report for the year ended 31st December 2018