Dating Academy

The 2018/9 Dating Academy will be the fifth time we have run this course.

The Dating Academy is an opportunity to develop and enhance your personal life.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed but a lot of single Christian people who join dating websites, agencies or use dating apps aren’t successful? This is something that greatly concerns me, not least because I believe that finding love and companionship is at the heart of the abundance Jesus talks about when he says in John10:10 “I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.”

It is because of this, that over the years, our service has incorporated more and more support, encouragement, teaching and specifically coaching of members because, I whole heartedly believe and know, from so many years of experience that, the reason people don’t always find what they hope for, is NOT primarily because there aren’t suitable matches on our books, (or anywhere else for that matter), but rather it’s because the way they go about meeting others, the way they think and the way they behave simply isn’t getting them the results they want.

The Dating Academy is a 6-month programme that will run over 5 full Saturdays spread approximately six weeks apart. It will contain the key elements of a very effective business grown principle (particularly the action planning and accountability) AND a significant amount of teaching from respected speakers and authors on relevant topics to compliment and enhance what happens in the group sessions.

The 2018/9 ‘Dating Academy’ programme offers a select group of people the opportunity to spend concentrated time developing their thinking, knowledge, skills and attributes so that they too can successfully find the love and happiness they desire.

Our Dating Academy programme is designed to enable you to learn how to think in the right way, learn all the necessary skills you need and to do the right things in the right way and thereby find the partner you want and the happiness you deserve.

If you’re accepted onto the programme, you’ll be one of an exclusive group of people who will work directly with me, my team and a number of other highly regarded experts over a six month period.

What’s involved?

The Dating Academy consists of 5 full-day workshops spread over six months.

Day One

The programme kicks off with a day of theory and action planning. You’ll be looking at your life in detail, your relationship history and the particular challenges you’ve faced in finding the right partner. The chances are you are following one particular strategy (even if it’s an unconscious one) and this is our first principle: Understand your strategy and work out if it’s really the best one for you. The better you can map out and understand your unique background, history and life experience, the more progress you’ll make over the whole programme and beyond.

We’ll also be discussing what is working for others. It’s time to discover what other strategies you can embrace because what works for others can definitely work for you too.

You’ll end this day with some concrete action points to implement straight away so you can start improving the results you’re getting immediately. You’ll be connecting with a small group of people with the freedom to share as much or as little about yourself as you wish. This is at the heart of what makes the group so effective.

The benefits come from the sharing that group members do, but we have worked with people who have chosen to share little of themselves and yet who have massively benefited from the programme as well – so don’t be put off by the group structure. It’s there to assist you if you want it.

Days Two to Five

On each of the following days the day will be split into two parts. One half will consist of speakers delivering relevant and highly useful material. We have lined up some superb speakers whose details you can see below.

The rest of the day will spent in sessions which we call “Hot Seats”, where we focus on each participant and the progress they have made with their action plan.

You see I’ve been to loads of conferences and seminars and although they’ve generally delivered top quality material, and I’ve left inspired with great intentions of making changes in my life, the reality is that, two days later, life has taken over again and my great intentions generally come to nothing.

And that’s why theory on its own isn’t enough. You need some way to be held accountable to what you say you’re going to do, and the mini-Mastermind sessions will give you just that.

The accountability is a key part of our Dating Academy (and something that everyone grows into and relishes!) but the other key part is what comes from seeing what other people are doing (both what works and doesn’t work) and being able to view their experience totally unemotionally and objectively. It’s almost impossible to view your own journey and actions like this, which is why the insight from others, who understand because they are on the same path as you, is so valuable. It’s hard to envision what this is like until you’ve experienced it for yourself but let me assure you this part of our Dating Academy is incredibly POWERFUL.

The ultimate goal with the Dating Academy is that between every single meeting, you’ll see significant improvements in your confidence, your contacts with other single people, the number of dates you’re getting and the friendships you’re developing. It’s a tried and tested approach and I promise you the results go way beyond what you can imagine.

No matter what your personal goal is, or what problems you’ve faced in this area of your life, the chances are we’ve seen it before and resolved it for one of our successful members.

So I doubt there’s anything you can bring or throw at us that we can’t handle.

This Dating Academy isn’t for the faint hearted or casual dater. If you want to participate in it you are going to have to commit some of yur time and resources. You will be challenged and your life will change as a result of your participation.

But if you really want to find a loving relationship, and for whatever reason that has eluded you to date, then I guarantee that the journey will be worth it, and you’ll look back and be ever so glad you stepped our of your comfort zone and joined the programme.


Workshop One                       Saturday September 22nd 2018

Workshop Two                       Saturday November 17th 2018

Workshop Three                    Saturday January 19th 2019

Workshop Four                      Saturday March 2nd 2019

Workshop Five                       Saturday April 13th 2019

Each date is a day-long session/workshop.

Book early and be rewarded with our EARLY BIRD BENEFITS

You have until 7th September2018 at the very latest to make your decision about participating in the Dating Academy.

But if you are able to act swiftly and make your decision by 29th June 2018, then you’ll benefit from our EARLY BIRD BONUSES.

Send back your application form and make your first payment by 29th June and you’ll also get:

  • A 30 minute personal telephone consultation with Katharine before the programme begins to get to know you better, discuss in confidence any challenges you’ve faced in the past or present and to make sure you come prepared to make the very best of the programme
  • A complimentary copy of speaker Roy Sheppard’s best selling book “How to be the One”
  • Priority seating at the front of the auditorium
  • The option to send in questions in advance to the speakers of each day
  • Priority placing for any video profile/photo shoots that are offered during the course
  • Graduation gift presented at the beginning of the course of the Finding Someone Special” Toolkit

Venue location

The venue of the each workshop is going to be a hotel in the centre of Birmingham easily accessible by train or bus and with good free parking available on site. If you’d like to stay overnight before or after the workship, there is plenty of very reasonably priced accommodation on offer locally in Birmingham.

Are you Eligible to Apply for The Dating Academy?

To be considered for our Dating Academy you need to be committed to a future which includes a significant other. It doesn’t matter what your background or history is, what everyone will share is a common desire to find the person of their dreams and be the person they deserve. You will have an eagerness to learn and grow, and a willingness to put into practice what you learn and discover.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve had lots of relationships before or none, are single, have been married before or are widowed.  What DOES matter is that you’re fully committed to the Academy for six months and to growing personally.

This is not something for the fainthearted or for those unwilling to look at their thinking, their actions and their lives in detail.

But this is something for anyone who understands that becoming the unique person God made you to be –enabling you to find the right partner and finding the happiness that a great relationship will bring – is priceless.

To apply you must provide a brief summary of your life, your relationship history and the strategies you’ve been using to find your soul mate, so that we can put people in the ‘right’ groups. Jim Rohn put it best when he said, ‘You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.’

How to apply for the Dating Academy – What happens next

Step 1: Decide on your preferred payment option. View your options here

Step 2: Complete the application form by downloading it here: Application Form

Your application form MUST reach us by  Friday 7th September at the latest

Step 3: Secure your place (make your payment – click here to pay)

Step 4: Telephone interview with Katharine if required.

You may receive a phone call the following week from Katharine or one of the team as they decide on the right members for the group, if they need any further information or to discuss anything with you.

Step 5: The Moment of Truth

The final decision will be made on the week commencing 10th September. If your application has been successful, you can expect a call that week confirm that you’re in.

Step 6: Your journey begins

The Rules

By applying to be part of the Dating Academy you are agreeing to abide by the following rules should your application be accepted:

  • The Academy is a six month commitment. If you’re in, you’re IN.
  • You must attend at least three of the day-long workshops. No excuses.
  • You must respect the confidentiality of the other participants.
  • What’s shared with the Group stays with the Group.
  • No moaning, lateness or bad attitudes.


You can benefit from our lump sum payment by paying in one lump sum. Alternatively you can spread the cost by paying over six instalments but by making the first payment you are thereby contracted to make all six irrespective of your attendance on the programme.


Once you’ve made your first payment for the Dating Academy no refunds will be considered (unless of course you are not accepted onto the Dating Academy). However if at the end of the programme you don’t think your investment was the best investment in your personal life, you’ll be entitled to a year’s free membership with friends1st.

Other information

The Academy is open to men and women but should NOT be seen as an opportunity to meet other member with whom to start a relationship with. This might happen but it is not the Academy’s purpose or intent, and there is no guarantee that number of men and women attending will be equal.

Read More…

“I think we were privileged to be on such a course. The concept of using a course to tackle this subject area is an excellent idea.  I’ve appreciated having words for my individual situation and felt ‘moved on’ around several subjects such as taking and making opportunities, doing things you enjoy doing and looking at what the impact of your immediate surroundings may have.  I have become much more aware of the ‘issues’ that affect me. I liked being reminded to take up relevant opportunities but it’s the accountability that’s been great and really fundamental. This  worked well for everyone. Katharine has great insight and this has been key.”
(Female course participant 2016/7 – (48) from Woking)

“I joined the programme as I wanted a deliberate and sustained focus on trying to find somebody special. Having to report back to encouraging ears has been unbelievably affirming and helpful in keeping me on task. This course changed my mindset. I used to be ashamed of my singleness, thinking it was because of something wrong with me. I thought if it was meant to be it would have happened by now. Yes of course it is partly about the way I am, but It’s also because of the way life had been and my reticence to put my flag out and invite others in. Also I haven’t given the search the priority it deserves. In other words I haven’t given myself the priority I deserve.

My nervousness, defensiveness and fear in the group subsided over time as I gained confidence in Katharine and the other group members’ support and understanding. Coming to terms with some of my own particular challenges and the general acceptance from the group have moved me forward enormously.

I have particularly enjoyed actively engaging with this part of my life, learning to ‘play’ with changing my behaviour, making it fun, learning that it isn’t the end of the world if it doesn’t go according to plan,  keeping on ‘kicking the can’ and the group sessions especially as I got know the others better.

I found Katharine’s leadership unfailingly cheerful, constructive and enabling. Knowing I was not alone in dealing with this aspect of my life has been amazing.

It is very good to travel with the group and realise that as we do so, my perceptions of them and theirs of me have changed – we all did genuinely grow. I gained enormous support and useful feedback from others are in similar boats.

If you want support in keeping focussed on searching for somebody special this is what the course will offer you. Having to report back to Katherine and then the group is both scary and enormously helpful. I’m also now no longer putting off making the most of my Friends 1st membership

I was petrified to begin with – now I find I’m much more relaxed open and confident.”
(Female Participant 2016/7 – Elizabeth (67) from Birmingham)

“I have learnt to actively expand my horizons and Katharine has been very helpful at  pointing the way to that. I’ve dropped my ‘oughts’ and ‘shoulds’ and have been really helped to see things differently. My perspective has changed. I am much more flexible now and far less worried, and I’ve learnt to trust myself more.”
(Female Course Participant 2016/7 (65) from the New Forest)

Answers from previous course participants to the question: What would you say to others considering participating in the Dating Academy?

“I would say to others to take this ‘God given’ opportunity to join the programme. You will see a signficant increase in the number of contact you  meet. You will see an increase in your self confidence over six months. Expect breakthroughs of overcoming feear and limiting belief systems. Expect to see massive positive results when you engage in this programme. It is amazing, highly recommended and you won’t regret it.

“Definitely take part in the Dating  Academy. Personally, I gained valuable insight about myself, as well as general questions about finding and ‘growing’ a relationship.”

“Go, Go, Go! What are you waiting for?”

” Yes do it. It’s very valuable.”

” I would recommend the Dating Academy – it’s in investment in your personal life.”

“Give it a go. You are investing wordly resources to secure divine rewards and blessings beyond price that makes it good value.”

(Course Participants 2018/9)

“I have loved the accountability  – being answerable for what actions you agree to take between meetings and knowing that others expect you to be committed to the process has had a dramatic impact on how I’ve moved forward in reaching the goals of my personal life. Being in a confidential and secure environment, where others are sharing their experiences and issues, is a great place to find solutions to problems that may exist.

This programme is totally unique – you won’t find anything like it anywhere else and if moving forward in your personal life and finding the right relationship is important to you, I’d highly recommend it to you.”
(Male Course Participant 2015 – (56) from Yorkshire)

“As a result of the this course I now have an openness to meet lots of new people and I’ve found it’s fun! I have definitely changed as a result of the course and lots of people have noticed the difference in me! I have more energy now, more self confidence and I’ve been enabled to get lots more done. In the past I missed opportunties which I am able to grasp now and I’ve realised there are way more opportunites available to me than I’d seen before. I am feeling more confident and my thinking has changed. I have found the regular action planning very useful and have really enjoyed the practical sides of the course. The setting of deadlines has really helped me.  I have opened up to men much more and feel much more relaxed and warm around them. I am definitiely more confident around them.  It’s been most useful sharing my journey, being held accountable and getting help to see things objectively.  Overall I have enjoyed it and found it very useful. The significant cost was definitely worth it. It’s been brilliant.”
(Female Course Participant 2016/7 – (44) from Birmingham)

Speaker Profile – Anthony Delaney

Having formerly been a police officer for 10 years, Anthony went into church leadership in 1995 and now leads Ivy Church, a movement gathering in community centres, cinemas, an arts centre, a nightclub, a warehouse and even a church building – the growth of which was recently subject of a six page feature in The Independent.Dating Academy with Anthony Delaney

Anthony’s books include ‘Rough Diamonds’, ‘The B.E.S.T. Marriage’, ‘OMG’, ‘The Don’t Have To Do List’ and ‘Work It Out’. His teaching is broadcast across the UK and Europe weekly on UCB radio and he features regularly on national BBC Radio.

He is a regular a keynote speaker at Britain’s largest Christian conferences including New Wine & Spring Harvest, Ivy Church supports missions worldwide, giving over 25% of its income per annum to mission. Anthony travels widely internationally to further these missional objectives. Anthony is married to Zoe. They have three grow up children and three grandsons.

At Westminster Theological Centre (accredited by the University of Chester), Anthony lectures to Graduate level on ‘Transformational Leadership.’ He also leads NewThing in western Europe which aims to train and deploy apostolic leaders and church planters across the globe with the goal of planting 10,000 new reproducing churches.

Speaker Profile – Peter Spalton – The Dating Doctor

Peter Spalton is a well-respected expert in the field of human interaction and non-verbal communications. A sales and marketing professional for over 20 years, he combines the skills of selling and the science of body language with the art of flirting and seduction. Dating Academy with Peter Spalton

He works as a flirting expert and he has a talent to help both sexes build their confidence and create lasting relationships. In fact he’s widely recognised as one of the UK’s top dating coaches with the media giving him labels such as the Date Doctor, Love Coach, Dating Guru and Body Boffin. He frequently gives expert advice to newspapers and magazines on a whole host of issues to do with love and relationships. He has done numerous radio interviews and has appeared live on most of the national TV stations as well as numerous BBC and commercial radio stations around the country.

Speaker Profile – Michelle Taylor

At the age of 18 Michelle founded and ran a Theatre-In-Education company which worked in school’s ministry around the UK. She then spent a year working for TBN, the Christian television network, in Italy. Upon returning to the UK she trained at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama for four years, after which she taught Drama and Theatre Studies, got married and had children. She has been involved in ministry for 30 years organising and running women’s ministry and conferences; prayer ministry and discipleship course; mentoring; preaching; church planting and leadership. She is currently training to be a vicar with the CofE at Trinity College, Bristol, and is excited to see where God leads her and her family in the near future. Her passion is facilitating intimacy between Christ and His Bride and she continues to do so at every given opportunity.Dating Academy with Michelle Taylor

She and her husband have been married for 21 years and have 2 sons and 2 daughters. Michelle is excited to see where God takes them all in the near future and has a particular passion to help people become more intimate with Christ.

Michelle has spoken to various groups of our members before and the feedfback from her sessions is alwasy extremely positive. This is another session definitely not to miss.