In 1981, the Quaker Peace Action Caravan visited Kingston for a series of workshop sessions with schools and the public on themes of peace, reconciliation and conflict resolution. Sue Bowers, a local Quaker, was inspired by the approach as a practical way to help others and, with a friend, set about offering workshops to local sixth form pupils. Their success led to the establishment of Kingston Friends Workshop Group and four years later the publication of "Ways & Means", the Group’s handbook of conflict resolution methods and workshop techniques. In 1996 the handbook was reissued as "Ways & Means Today" and a video "Step by Step" was produced to bring to life activities in the book.
Since its inception the Group had an office at Kingston Quaker Meeting House, thanks to the generous support of Kingston Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends. In 1991 the Group became a Registered Charity and although not formally Quaker, continued to be supported financially by local Friends and to have strong links to the Society.
During its first ten years the organisation grew and developed, continuing to work in schools and expanding into parenting courses and family work. In 1991 they began to offer mediation initially in the Kingston area and in subsequent years in Merton and Richmond. As the mediation side of the Group’s work grew, the workshop side declined with the introduction of many of the Group’s ideas into the National Curriculum. In 2000 the Group changed its name to Kingston Friends Mediation (KFM) to reflect the change of emphasis in its work, although the service continues to work with schools, parents and families.
For more information about Quakers and the Religious Society of Friends, see
Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Britain