A mosaic is defined as a pattern or picture made using many small pieces of coloured stone or glass. Relating this to myself, what I find especially meaningful is how differences brought together can create something powerfully beautiful.
The Quest is one of 120 social entrepreneurs who have been awarded funding from UnLtd’s Inclusive Recovery Fund, a £4.75 million fund to help social entrepreneurs in England deliver their important services while adapting to challenges presented by the coronavirus crisis.
Since its inception in 2013 The Quest has not received a penny in funding…until now! From October 2020 – March 2021 we have been allocated money to continue our essential work – supporting gay, bi and queer men.
Unlike many gay excursions the emphasis here is on rejuvenation and restoration through activities including meditation, yoga, group discussions, snorkelling / diving, walking, experiencing nature, learning about local culture and bonding with your fellow travellers.
Thailand, Bali, Cuba, Europe and America are some of the locations on offer.
An opportunity to experience far off places with a group of diverse and mindful fellow gay travellers.
Great Gay Getaways are designed to give you space to do your own thing as well as join in group options to explore restaurants, beaches, local life, yoga, meditation, walks, culture, nightlife, nature, creativity, holistic therapies, adventure and connection.
It’s hard to imagine being all alone halfway up a mountainside or deep in a valley, but thats exactly where Daniel Havlicek has been for a whole month now trekking 1,000 km to raise money for The Quest.
Part of me is frightened by the prospect and part of me is jealous – how Daniel will emerge from this adventure is unknown but one thing is for sure: it will transform something within him.
This New Year I want to thank everyone who has had any contact with The Quest. Participants, their families, friends, partners and husbands. Thank you because you make up a body of people that have collectively helped shape my life over the last few years.
The work we have undertaken together has changed my understanding, my emotional connection and my sense of purpose when it comes to relationships and Gay men.
I had no idea at the outset how much lay below the surface of my life and of those I came into contact with, but together this has evolved into a rich and eye opening experience. I see things so differently now and as a consequence I have more compassion, empathy and patience. Continue Reading →
This interactive, fun and engaging one-day session delves into the issue of Sex, Longing and Intimacy, explores how they interact, along with how you relate and respond to them.
We will investigate some of the underlying beliefs that drive your behaviour and look at the habits and patterns that get in the way of you identifying and expressing your wants/needs/desires.
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We are getting ready to facilitate our final The Quest Program of 2016. It will be the 31st one, with around 500 guys who have now dared to embark on the Program. Those numbers exclude the thematic workshops, retreats and socials that we have hosted over the years. When we include those numbers, we’ve had over 1,500 guys who have interacted with The Quest in some shape or form.
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When Darren and myself ran our first offering for Gay Men in the Summer of 2011, at the now closed Barcode, under the arches in Vauxhall, I had no idea that we would still be as passionate in creating a space for Gay Men to come together and untangle the emotional and psychological stuff that can often get in the way of living a life in alignment with our values and/or intentions. Continue Reading →
“The Quest ……. which focuses on encouraging feelings of identity authenticity, was successful in reducing feelings of internalised homophobia, which the present project and previous research have both identified as a key factor underpinning decreased wellbeing among BME MSM”
– Black and minority ethnic men who have sex with men, Project evaluation and systematic review (Public Health England, De Montfort University), May 2016
In 2015, The Quest was commissioned by Public Health England (PHE) to deliver its flagship “The Quest Program” to Black, Asian and Minority Ethinic gay, bisexual and men who have sex with men (MSM). The final report from the evaluation can be found here.
Due to the overwhelming requests that have come in over the past year to deliver the program again, and following on from the feedback in the evaluation report, we will be running a subsidized BAME The Quest Program in 2017. This has been made possible by donations from Friends of The Quest initiative, along with our commitment following on from the PHE study.
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“extraordinary, exceptional, amazing, astonishing, astounding, marvellous, wonderful, sensational, stunning, incredible, unbelievable, miraculous, phenomenal, prodigious”
Facilitated by Darren Brady [Certified Daring Way facilitator, Co-active coach and Quest co-founder]
These drop in sessions follow a simple format that focusses each week on different guideposts taken from ‘The Velvet Rage -the pain of growing up gay in a straight mans world.’ by Alan Downs
£15 on the door. (Bring a friend and you come FREE!)
Curious minds come together to explore the personal implications of the new book “Straight Jacket – How to be Gay and Happy” by Matthew Todd.
Written by Matthew Todd, editor of Attitude, the UK’s best- selling gay magazine, Straight Jacket is a revolutionary clarion call for gay men, the wider LGBT community, their friends and family. Part memoir, part ground-breaking polemic, it looks beneath the shiny facade of contemporary gay culture and asks if gay people are as happy as they could be – and if not, why not?
Meticulously researched, courageous and life-affirming, Straight Jacket offers invaluable practical advice on how to overcome a range of difficult issues. It also recognises that this is a watershed moment, a piercing wake-up-call-to-arms for the gay and wider community to acknowledge the importance of supporting all young people – and helping older people to transform their experience and finally get the lives they really want.
“Obama administration urges states to curb the use of solitary confinement” is the headline in The Guardian. It captured my attention so much, but why? I’ve never been to prison or been affected by somebody being incarcerated.
The article continues that Obama has hopes of “reining in a practice that is still widespread despite having been denounced as potentially amounting to torture”
Juan Martinez, the UN special rapporteur on torture has “called for a global ban in all but exceptional cases”
Scientific research has “revealed the adverse psychological effects of locking away prisoners in segregated cells, with some individuals suffering serious depression, suicidal thoughts and behaviour, hallucinations and paranoia within a matter of days “
I started to draw a parallel. From the age of 4, I started to feel isolated and alone. Although I had my family around me there were invisible walls forming. At times I felt distress, separation, something that led me to feeling ‘different’ and often in my own ‘solitary confinement’. I sought comfort through connection and I gained connection through being well mannered and charming. I was the child that adults couldn’t help but pick up, talk to, joke with. In this attention I found temporary relief from the distress of my isolating difference. Continue Reading →
Many people know about us but don’t really know what the program is about, how it works and the incredible impact it has on participants.
This introduction evening is a special opportunity to learn more. Darren Brady and Ade Adeniji – Founders of The Quest – will be hosting the evening that is designed to shed light on why The Quest is becoming known as the ‘Life-Changing’ Program.
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Ade: I think a good place to start our conversation would be on the title of your book “Gay Men and the New Way Forward”, how did you come up with it?
Raymond: I wrestled with the title and had about 6 different working titles throughout the whole process. It was at the end of writing the book when this phrase “the new way forward” appeared. It struck me as the essence and the core of what we’re really about, which is – introducing new ways of being in the world.
Also, at a time when we’re so out of balance because of patriarchy, with the masculine running amok and the feminine devalued. This idea of a “new way forward” is one that integrates balance of masculine and feminine, human activity and nature, and individual rights and group responsibility. It really struck me as very core to the essence of gay men – what we’re really doing, without even conscious awareness; by coming out and by living openly. We can lead humanity through the new way forward when we become aware of our capacities, what we’re currently doing, and then using those skills purposefully. Continue Reading →
In this conflab, Co-Founders of The Quest, Ade Adeniji and Darren Brady talk about Brené Brown’s latest book “Rising Strong” and their upcoming workshop based on her research.
Ade Adeniji: So, Brené Brown released her new book “Rising Strong” few months ago and we will soon be delivering our first workshop based on her new research. What does ‘Rising Strong’ mean to you?
Darren Brady: For me a big part of Rising Strong is slowing down. Its about pausing, breathing and then looking and noticing what is going on. I’ve had a few challenging situations arise in the last week and I have thought – ‘oh, here’s an opportunity to put these ideas into practice’ I also noticed that in the midst of the ‘drama’ how difficult it was to do this.
Ade: Yes, I can relate to that. I can very quickly make up stories about what happens to me and those “assumptions” often feel very correct and give me a sense of comfort – that feeling of “everything is okay and I am okay”. Continue Reading →
I was talking to someone recently about the work of The Quest. I had mentioned ‘shame’ as part of my response to a question he’d asked. “I do not feel ashamed about being gay”, he said very firmly, before I could finish my sentence.
It’s a response I’ve heard from a few people when I have mentioned “Shame” and “Gay” in the same sentence. In this particular conversation, I responded by mentioning the work of Dr Brené Brown, who defines shame as “the fear of disconnection”. I explained that, according to Brené, the majority of the population feels shame, which can be triggered for a variety of reasons because, as she and many others have said, “we are wired for connection”. Brené goes on to say that “when we stop caring about what people think, we lose our capacity for connection.” He was not buying it and the conversation soon moved onto other topics. As I left that evening, I found myself replaying the dialogue over and over. The word ‘ashamed’ had struck a cord and I could not get it out of my mind. Continue Reading →
Jean-Felix Callens attended The Quest Workshop in November 2014…..
Firstly, it was recommended by my psychotherapist. Secondly, it was recommended by two close friends.
It was life affirming and life changing. I experienced “a before and an after” The Quest. I had done a lot of work on myself prior to attending the programme and The Quest did not only consolidate this work, but it also took it much further. Darren and Ade have designed a solid and powerful programme that took me on a challenging and supportive journey of self-discovery in a diverse group of gay man who are all, included myself, learning to love and accept ourselves on a deeper level. Continue Reading →
The Quest Co-founder, Darren Brady talks to Paul Cons (CEO of Konditor & Cook) about his recent participation on The Quest Programme and the reason his company is supporting our Social Enterprise
Darren: Paul, I was so delighted when you recently became involved with The Quest. Could you explain more on how that came about?
Paul: I guess you told me about it a couple of years ago and I was interested, but also very involved in my own personal development work and possibly a bit nervous about trying something else out. However it planted a seed. So when you announced you were doing The Daring Way™ Program with Brené Brown, I was impressed by her TED talk, and again whilst a bit nervous at first, decided to take the plunge. It was an amazing weekend, and after that doing The Quest Programme seemed like a no brainer! Continue Reading →
Ian McCurrach (Editor of The Quest Newsletter) talks to Tahir Saleem (a previous participant on The Quest Programme) on being a Volunteer Assistant on The BME Quest Programme
Ian: Tahir, you recently took part as an assistant on The Quest Programme for Black, African, Black Caribbean, mixed Black and other ethnicity (BME) Gay Men, and Men who have Sex with Men. Why do you think it was important to deliver this programme for this group of men in particular?
Tahir: Asian and black gay men in my opinion and from my own life experience, definitely do have a considerable need for a programme such as The Quest Programme taking place in our community. Coming out is really a near impossible feat for us. Our culture typically involves the extended family, the neighbours and community playing quite a significant role in our life and usually an abundance of religion.
Ian: What issues do you think this group of men has to deal with that differs from other gay men?
Tahir: This is principally in two ways: firstly we battle a different culture and norms that make it considerably harder to deal with being gay, and then secondly upon acceptance of our own sexuality we become a visible sub group of the greater gay brotherhood. The black and Asian family, or peer culture, is embedded with shame, especially gay shame. Continue Reading →
The theme for this year’s The Quest Annual Retreat has been confirmed, and for one very special weekend in July (3 – 5) you’re invited to join us for an ‘Adventure Playground’ experience focusing on relaxation, play and connection.
Leave the city behind, turn off your phones, forget about work, let your emails pile up and give yourself an amazing opportunity to connect with yourself and a wonderful group of gay men in the peace and tranquillity of a beautiful countryside estate in Sussex. Continue Reading →
Graham Hadley attended The Quest Workshop in May 2013……
I was introduced to The Quest through a friend who had been on the weekend workshop. I had been doing lots of personal development work through an organisation called ‘The Essence Foundation’ and a series of gay men events through Loving Men. I was intrigued to see how The Quest was different to Essence and Loving Men.
I did go along to a Quest First Tuesday gathering in Soho to get a better idea about The Quest before going on the course. I received such a warm and friendly welcome that I decided to do The Quest weekend workshop in May 2013. Continue Reading →
Robert Ramcharan attended The Quest Workshop in January 2012…..
After coming out as gay in my 40’s, I increasingly became a big believer that I personally needed to continually examine and develop myself and not stand still or fear change. I began to believe that I needed to think about my actions and reactions in the light of a wide range of developmental guides, regarding human thought processes.
I had come from what would I call ‘a life for others’, rather than myself, where I was married to a woman for nearly 20 years, with no male sexual encounters or gay experiences, up until the age of 40. I had 2 kids with my wife, which meant a lot of responsibility. I had been bought up with quite a bit of Roman Catholic guilt, as well as coming from an Asian West Indian background, involving expectations of what a “normal” life should be.
When I inevitably came out (I really had no choice in the matter, not because the situation was out of my control, but because not living my true self was impossibility). I went very wild, but eventually discovered that even this behaviour was not me either.
I had recently done a course which encouraged me to get involved in a community project. I had read “The Velvet Rage” by Alan Downs regarding the fact that shame was a significant (hidden) driver behind many gay men’s behaviour; I was very keen on getting involved in any project that bought Alan to the UK to speak to gay men. After some private research and advice from friends who had heard of Darren and Ade and their work, I met them in a West End restaurant. We talked a lot and I found them passionate and engaging. I was encouraged to first try the course and perhaps possibilities would develop from there, given my personal belief, I had no hesitation in agreeing. Continue Reading →
Ian McCurrach talks to Shaun de Wet Steyn about his experience of The Daring Way™ workshop.
Ian McCurrach: What drove you to enrol on The Daring Way™ workshop? What did you expect, and in what ways did you hope you would benefit?
Shaun de Wet Steyn: I’m a bit of a self-confessed Brené Brown groupie (there are a few of us around), having watched her TED talks a dozen times and read Daring Greatly.
From a content perspective, her work really struck a chord with me, leading to many ‘aha’ moments. And I find her a phenomenal communicator, using intelligence, humour and warmth to amazing effect. So it felt very natural to want to take my experience of her research to the next stage and that is what attending The Daring Way™ workshop offered me: a group, experiential setting to reflect, share and listen to other humans wanting to dig deeper into what gets in the way from us living fulfilled lives and developing and maintaining rewarding relationships. Continue Reading →
Peter Cotton attended The Quest Workshop in November 2014…..
I have come out as a gay man late in life and have been keen to develop an enjoyable and supportive network through which I can have fun, learn more about myself and discover what it now means for me to be gay. Part of that network has been a gay men’s massage group “Men in Touch”. I was enjoying the tactile aspect of the group as well as the opportunity to form relationships. So when “Men in Touch” (or “Touch Magic” as it was then) joined forces with The Quest to run a day workshop on “Making Room for Love”, I signed up for it. Through that, I was introduced to the two Quest facilitators, to their style of working and to the original basis of their work: “The Velvet Rage” by Alan Downs, a book which, co-incidentally, I had read not long before. Through the autumn of 2014, I attended several First Tuesday Quest Socials, found them very congenial events and eventually signed up for the November workshop. Continue Reading →
Paul Ryan attended The Quest Workshop in April 2014…..
When the train hits the buffer it comes to a stop; well my life hit a buffer and I felt there was no way to go forward – just like the train hitting the buffer, with no way forward.
It all started with my best friend dying, and within weeks of his death I lost my job, and learned that my mother did not recognize me when I went to see her, (she passed away on the last day of my workshop). My confidence went down like sinking ship, I felt I did not belong, had no value in life, was unloved, unworthy of anybody and did not love myself. I had two choices – to go down the road of life long depression and a life of loneliness or find help to recover my confidence and rebuild my social life make new friends and stop procrastination my life and avoiding myself.
Ian McCurrach talks to Nirmal Sandhu about being Gay, British and Asian
In what specific ways is it difficult being a gay BME around the issues of sexuality in your experience? I’m thinking family, culture, friends and peers.
Family: Being gay feels at odds with a sense of responsibility that I used to feel about carrying on my family’s name. I am the eldest child and had a sister who died 16 years ago and so I felt a real pressure to marry and to carry forward the family name. I am from a Sikh background and there is a great emphasis placed on the role of the traditional family and your role within a community and actively participating in the community rather than acting on individual preferences. The dominant feeling is that being gay is dissolute and runs counter to these values because it doesn’t take into account the benefit of the community as a whole. I remember being called out on my choice of living away from my parents, and taking ownership for the way I want to live my life at a religious blessing by my parents local priest. Continue Reading →
Tobias Oliver attended The Quest Workshop in November 2014…..
The last two years has seen a great deal of challenge and change, both good and bad, for me and my family. Perhaps inevitably, this brought with it a greater sense of introspection and self-examination. (I turned forty a few years’ ago, so perhaps it’s just a mid-life crisis or ‘spiritual awakening’!)
Whatever the reason, I felt compelled to take a long, hard look at myself and my life. Something I have so skilfully avoided in the past, mainly because it’s difficult and I don’t usually like what I see. I had a good idea what was probably lurking there and it scared me. I was afraid.
Then I picked up a flyer for The Quest in Soho on a visit to London – I live in Sheffield, but am frequently in the capital to visit family or for work – and it spoke to me. I kept reading it, and visiting The Quest website. Continue Reading →
Mark Ward attended The Quest Workshop in December 2012…..
I ‘came out’ to everyone at the age of 48 in the summer of 2011. I had spent years of living a heterosexual life peppered with some vague mumblings to a few close friends about being bisexual. In my adult life I had never had sex with a man, but had experienced two physical relationships with women in my late 20s and early 30s interspersed with long periods of celibacy. So I was ‘out’ but pretty confused and unsure ‘how’ to live my new self.
In my many searches on the Internet looking for answer to my confusion, I came upon a reference to the book “Love me as I am” and I eagerly ordered a copy. The book both resonated with me and left me with even more questions. At the end of the book was a link to The Quest website. I visited it and then without much thought or procrastination (unusual for me) I found myself booking onto a workshop. I didn’t know what it would involve or whether it would be right for me, but I knew I had to take the leap (any leap) and ‘do’ something.
Ade Adeniji (Co-Founder of The Quest) speaks to Jeremy about being black and gay, online dating, relationships, being an outsider, and much much more.
Jeremy Helligar is a journalist, author, pop culturist and world traveler from New York City, where he spent 15 years working as a writer and editor for People, Teen People, Us Weekly and Entertainment Weekly. In 2006, he moved to Buenos Aires, where he learned Spanish and launched his own blog, Theme for Great Cities, a travelogue, memoir, entertainment bible and Sex and the City rolled into one. He followed four and a half years in BA and two and a half years based back and forth between Melbourne and Bangkok with one month in Berlin, one month in Rome, and one month in Tel Aviv, before landing in Cape Town. Jeremy currently resides in Sydney, Australia. He is the author of “Is It True What They Say About Black Men?: Tales of Love, Lust and Language Barriers on the Other Side of the World“.
Ade: I first came across your work on The Huffington Post and when I then started reading your book (Is it true what they say about Black Men) I immediately felt this urge to have a conversation with you, because right from the beginning you talk about being black and being gay. What was your inspiration for writing the book?
Jeremy: It’s funny because it happened in spurts. I didn’t set out to write the book. I have a blog called “Theme for Great Cities.” I’ve been maintaining that for about six and a half years now. And it just started off as me wanting to share my thoughts with the one or two people who I figured would end up reading it. Over time friends and strangers who ended up reading the blog kept telling me ‘you really ought to write a book. Because you have all of these experiences, you’ve traveled to so many interesting places, you’ve met so many different people, you should write a book’. And after a while I started saying maybe they are on to something, maybe I should write a book.
And the title, well…. a lot of times I talk to different writers and they have a lot of trouble coming up with a title because they want something that encapsulates the theme of the book. For me I don’t think that the title “Is It True What They Say About Black Men?” necessarily encapsulates the theme of the book, but it’s definitely the theme of my life since I left the United States. As I’ve said so many times before, it’s the one question that I’ve heard in every country, on every continent, in different languages. With the book title, I wanted to take ownership of it and have a little bit of fun with it. Continue Reading →
We are conscious that this time of year is often a time of reflection and anticipation. We therefore felt it would be a lovely idea to once again kick start the new year with a blog post featuring some of the gay men who have journeyed with The Quest.
We hope that by sharing their responses we can highlight that we all connected and ‘hardwired for connection’; even though our journeys might often take us on different paths and look very different on the surface.
We asked the men to complete the four statements below: