The Quest Programme for Gay Men (London)

Registrations

Our next The Quest Programme will take place on Fri 19 – Sun 21 July 2019. Closing date for registrations is Fri 12 July.

REGISTER HERE

During the programme we will be Investigating the past, Exploring the present, Releasing the pain and toxicity of the past and present, and Cultivating the awareness and tools to enable a wholehearted and nurturing present and future.

Thank You

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 →

Reflections on The Quest

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.

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 →

Introduction Evening

What is The Quest Program?

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.

When: Wednesday, 22 February 2017 / Thursday, 4 May 2017 / Thursday, 7 September 2017 / Thursday, 5 October 2017
Time: 7.00pm – 9.00pm
Where: SSE, 139 Tooley Street, London Bridge
Tickets: £10

Continue Reading →

Sweet Dreams: Why bakers have become Quest backers!

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 →

The Two-Way (Being Asian and Gay in the UK)

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 →

Join us for our annual summer retreat – ‘The Adventure Playground’

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 →

Speaking from the ‘I’

My Story‘ is an ongoing series featuring previous participants of The Quest Workshop.

Robert Ramcharan attended The Quest Workshop in January 2012…..

What brought you to The Quest Workshop?

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 →

THE TWO WAY

 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 →

Speaking from the ‘I’

My Story‘ is an ongoing series featuring previous participants of The Quest Workshop.

Peter Cotton attended The Quest Workshop in November 2014…..

What brought you to The Quest Workshop?

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 →

My Story‘ is an ongoing series featuring previous participants of The Quest Workshop.

Paul Ryan attended The Quest Workshop in April 2014…..

What brought you to The Quest Workshop?

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.

Continue Reading →

The Two Way

Ian McCurrach talks to Nirmal Sandhu about being Gay, British and Asian 

Ian McCurrach
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.

Nirmal Sandhu
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 →

My Story‘ is an ongoing series featuring previous participants of The Quest Workshop.

Tobias Oliver attended The Quest Workshop in November 2014…..

What brought you to The Quest Workshop?

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 →

My Story‘ is an ongoing series featuring previous participants of The Quest Workshop.

Mark Ward attended The Quest Workshop in December 2012…..

What brought you to The Quest Workshop?

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.

Continue Reading →

My Wish for 2015……

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:

  1. What I rediscovered from my journey with The Quest in 2014 was…….
  2. My 2015 Wish for myself is………….
  3. My 2015 Wish for Gay Men everywhere is………
  4. My 2015 Wish for the Gay Community is………..

Continue Reading →

My Story‘ is an ongoing series featuring previous participants of The Quest Workshop.

Ian Smith attended The Quest Workshop in September 2014…..

What brought you to The Quest Workshop?

I had developed a general malaise towards life. I felt disconnected from my friends and my surroundings. Feeling that no-one understood me and because of that I didn’t want to try and connect with them anymore. At weekends I would only leave the house to scratch the itch of needing sexual contact, otherwise I would have been in my pyjamas all weekend. Life wasn’t getting worse, but it definitely wasn’t getting any better. I decided some changes need to be made. Continue Reading →

My Story‘ is an ongoing series featuring previous participants of The Quest Workshop.

Steve Harding attended The Quest Workshop in June 2014…..

What brought you to The Quest Workshop?

I became aware of the work of The Quest through a mutual friend of Ade’s. Over the years I have done a fair amount of personal development work, but this has been largely one to one and I was keen to gain a new perspective on my ‘story’ through group work.

What was your experience of The Quest Workshop?

I found The Quest workshop challenging, nourishing, enlightening and overall a life-enhancing experience. Continue Reading →

My Story‘ is an ongoing series featuring previous participants of The Quest Workshop.

Jide Rowland Macaulay attended The Quest Workshop in April 2014…..

What brought you to The Quest Workshop?

First it was my curiosity to find out what was going on. I knew that I had issues, mostly especially at the time I was struggling with many undecided matters about my sexuality and importantly decisions about my future. Deciding how to deal with issues with my “family of origin”, dealing with both internalized anger and external abuses, my religious community and reconciling my sexuality as a black gay man of faith, and of Nigeria descent.

What was your experience of The Quest Workshop?

Extreme, candid and authentic, extremely genuine and a life saving experience. Whilst I have attended numerous workshops about being gay and life, The Quest workshop stood out as exceptional, and I have since challenged myself to build on what I have learnt, so I can move forward positively. Continue Reading →

THE QUEST THIRD BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION & FUNDRAISER

Thomas Doogan talks about the recent 3rd birthday bash for The Quest

Don’t you just love it when people feel entertained, have a lot of fun and all for a good cause? Well that’s exactly what happened when we recently celebrated The Quest Third Birthday at The Proud Archivist, which sits canal side in Haggerston.

From the moment I arrived, I could see the effort that has been invested by the party committee, Michael, Neil, Kenni, Rod, Peter and co! They created a special space for us for the celebration. For me it’s seeing this effort that really displays what community means and how everyone’s effort can play a big part in success.

We were met with champagne, always a good friend, and a room so beautifully dressed up and decorated. And were there balloons?? You betcha! Continue Reading →

Reflections on The Quest Summer Retreat

Dan Hall and Thomas Doogan share their reflections on attending The Quest Retreat, which took place in West Sussex from 4 – 6 July 2014

Dan Hall

Not long ago I spent an evening dancing, rather well I’ll have you know, to Suede and Kate Bush at the RVT in Vauxhall. Within an hour of my arrival I was clamped to a massive ex-rugby player and we snogged non-stop for the next three hours. It was a good night.

Inevitably the lights came up and I asked whether we should go to his place or mine. He smiled kindly, wrote on my hand, “Read VELVET RAGE”, kissed me, and left. Horny and irritated, I ordered the book the next day and consumed it in almost one sitting.

Fifty per cent I found to be pop-psyche rubbish. All that stuff about seeking approval from disapproving fathers was nonsense in my world. And, for me, the intrusion of the author’s own life into the narrative got in the way of the copy. But enough of the book chimed to make an impact and I thought too much of my life rested on: if he’s not worth fucking, he’s not worth knowing. Even without the direction of The Quest, it was clear this was a pretty shitty attitude. Continue Reading →

The dilemma of ‘hook-up’ apps

In this Conflab, Ade Adeniji, Co-Founder of The Quest and Sunny Bahra, a previous participant of The Quest workshops, talk about gay men and the dilemma of hook-up apps.

Ade: @HuffPostGay recently featured a piece entitled “why I’ve given up on hooking up” where the writer talked about his journey with ‘dating’ apps. What were your thoughts?

Sunny: The article really resonated with me as I, of late, have been having a similar attitude to the whole scenario of “dating apps”. As humans we all crave connection and online dating is the, relatively, new way of meeting and conversing with people – whether you are straight or gay.

Ade: So, what is your attitude towards these apps? I for one think that its all down to the user and the underlying ‘hunger’, ‘need’ or ‘intention’ that is driving them to use the apps. Continue Reading →

“KILLING MY MOTHER” – Review

….. by Michael Gaffney

Ade - Story 1I was fortunate to witness Ade’s recent performance of “Killing my Mother“. What an arresting title and it soon became apparent how it came about. The performance was performed at the School of Social Entrepreneurs where The Quest hold it’s workshops.

I have experienced many profound and powerful feelings in this venue and this event was no exception.

I was immediately drawn in to the emotion of Ade’s vivid, visceral and candid story of his life. The immediacy and power of events was conveyed by the story being told in the present tense, although the story moved backwards and forwards between different years. I was moved to tears on more than one occasion and there were also flashes of humour, which meant that the story felt incredibly rounded, grounded and real. Continue Reading →

The Two Way

Ian McCurrach talks to Peter Collins about his experience of marching in London Pride

IM: Peter, I have never taken part in London Pride before, so what would you say to me, or others who have no previous experience about what they might expect to find?

PC: London Pride is an extraordinary event, especially if you’ve not taken part before. For me it’s an outright celebration of being gay from across the community, with a huge variety of expressions and identities of what it means to be gay to thousands individuals and hundreds of groups. It’s also a fantastic and colourful extravaganza, a real sight to behold, and a unique way to meet and party with people you’d never come across anywhere else. But London Pride also goes beyond being a celebration and for many is an important statement to London, the nation, the media and the government that we are here, we are here to stay and we are a force to be reckoned with. Continue Reading →

The Two Way

Ian McCurrach talks to Ade Adeniji

5 Steps to Authentic Self Expression

IM: What are the main outcomes of the Authentic Self Expression WorkOUT?

AA: The session is an opportunity to deeply explore the different aspects of self-expression and examine how we ‘show up’ (or not) for each one of them. The intention is that participants leave with a clearer idea of what authentic self-expression personally means to them, identify the gaps between where they are in relation to authentic self expression and where they desire to be and during the day we will spend time practicing closing the gap. Continue Reading →

Reflections on the Journey

Darren: As we approach our third year anniversary I thought it would be interesting to talk about the journey so far and where we intend to go next.

When you look back over the last 3 years what stands out for you?

Ade: So many things stand out – too many for this conflab!

I remember reading The Velvet Rage when it came out in 2005 and really connecting with it and wanting to share the insights with every gay man I knew – well that did not happen and it simply rested on my bookcase, until you and I came together for our 6-week journey with a group of gay men in the Summer of 2011. That 6-week journey with The Velvet Rage really stands out for me. I thought I knew a lot of stuff, but by the end of the first evening, I remember saying to you – ‘gosh, I am getting a lot from this, much more than I could have ever anticipated’.

The other thing related to that which also stands out for me, is the hunger for this sort of deep exploration amongst gay men. I remember us having a number of enquries as to when we would be running the next group. Continue Reading →

The horizon beyond Same-Sex Marriage

As the first same-sex marriages take place in England and Wales,  Ade Adeniji and Darren Brady talk about the issues beneath and beyond the legislation and their impact on Gay Men.

Darren: What impact will same-sex marriage make to Gay men?

Ade: It will have a multiple impact. Not just on gay men, but on their families and other people that they interact with. First of all, I’ll just like to say that this legislation is a great thing, because for starters it signifies that same-sex relationships are just as valid as heterosexual ones. For gay men, it means that our relationships go beyond sex and invoke intimacy, longevity and love. It also shows those in our lives who might not embrace us for being who we are, that at least the legislation validates the expression of our relationship – not that it needs validating in the grand scheme of things; but it is symbolic.

Darren: I agree. I think for future generations who are born into a time where all human beings can choose to marry, it will reset the button. Continue Reading →

The Quest One-Day Workshop

5 Steps to Authentic Self-Expression

This interactive, fun and engaging one-day workshop for Gay Men is all about (re)connecting and (re)aligning with your Unconditional/True Self, and allowing that aspect of You to come forth – without Shame or Judgement; but with Love, Joy, Integrity and Passion.

Date: Saturday 10 May 2014
Time: 10.00am – 5.30pm Continue Reading →

Growing Up Gay in a Straight World

In this conflab, Ade Adeniji, Co-Founder of The Quest and Sunny Bahra, a previous participant of The Quest workshops, talk about the notion that ‘Gays need to grow up’.

Ade: Beige Magazine recently ran an article with the headline ‘Gays need to grow up‘ and it struck a cord with many people. What were your thoughts on seeing the headline?

Sunny: Well it’s been something that I have been thinking about for quite a while and the article just prompted me to talk to you about it. Why do gay men have this perceived attitude of not wanting to grow up? The article gave some interesting insights, but I think the issue is much deeper than they were willing to go.

Ade: Yes, I had thought about the theme recently too; I was getting ready to go out and had caught sight of myself in the mirror and for a minute or so I wondered whether what I was wearing was ‘age appropriate’.

But don’t you think that for many gay men, particularly those without children, it feels like time is frozen and we are forever young?

Sunny: I think that is only a tiny part of the argument. Sure children and any responsibility like that will make you “grow up” – but lots of straight people don’t have kids and their behaviour can be very different. Continue Reading →

The Quest Weekend Workshop

Ade Adeniji and Darren Brady, Founders of The Quest, talk about the Weekend Workshop for Gay Men.

Previous participants share their stories.

Memories of 2013

Our intention for The Quest has always been to provide a platform that enables Gay Men to transform their lives; so that they can embrace Life from a place of authentic self-expression, compassion and fulfillment – this in turn helps facilitate a healthy and nurturing gay community.

2013 has been a beautiful year for The Quest and we have journeyed with many amazing gay men. Some of the highlights from 2013 included: Continue Reading →