Warm Welcome project gets funding boost

    Lichfield Diocese News
    13 Sep 2017
    Pete Bate

    A church-based community project that offers a safe space to sex workers in Wolverhampton has received a National Lottery boost.

    The Warm Welcome drop-in at All Saints Church has seen residents and church members work together to become a hub for vulnerable women to receive warmth, safety and support over the past three years. Volunteers and professionals from many support services attend.

    Partner charity Changing Lives was this week awarded a £498,228 Big Lottery grant which will fund four new posts, including a Volunteer Coordinator at All Saints.

    The coordinator will recruit further volunteers and nurture the community spirit of local residents to develop the drop-in at All Saints, which is based in Central Wolverhampton.

    Volunteers will be trained in areas such as safeguarding and self-care and supported to deliver drop-in facilities for the women – some of whom are sexually exploited or engaged in ‘survival sex’ where they are exchanging sex for resources including food, accommodation, drugs and alcohol or money.

    The Revd Sarah Schofield, Vicar of All Saints, said: “All Saints Church conceived and launched the Warm Welcome Project, with residents and church members as volunteers, three years ago.

    “We have enjoyed growing relationships with specialist partners from outside our community. We are delighted that our strong friendship with Changing Lives will allow us to build up our volunteer team and ensure the welcome and support we offer continues long after the end of this generous grant.”

    Warm Welcome is part of a wider project funded by the Lottery which will see work with women to improve their sexual, mental and physical health, help them to access services such as housing and health, reduce their risk of harm and offending behaviour, help them recover from abuse and exit sex-work.

    Read more about Warm Welcome here.

    The Big Lottery Fund is the largest funder of community activity in the UK. It is responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by National Lottery players for good causes. Last year it awarded more than £700 million and supported more than 13,000 projects. Find out more here.

    Pictured: From left, Revd Sarah Schofield, Joan Bond from All Saints Church, Sommer Stringer and Jas Flora, both from Changing Lives.