Offering a warm welcome thanks to £15,000 grant

    Lichfield Diocese News
    20 Jul 2018
    Pete Bate

    An initiative that offers a warm welcome in local communities is set to grow in Lichfield, Burntwood and surrounding areas thanks to a £15,000 funding boost.

    Places of Welcome is a network of small community organisations, including churches, who provide an unconditional welcome to local people for at least a few hours each week.

    The initiative is spreading across the Midlands and other parts of the country with over 200 venues taking part, including seven in Lichfield District. Places of Welcome are run by local groups who want to make sure that everyone in their area has a place to go for a friendly face, a cup of tea and a conversation.

    Lichfield District Council has awarded a £15,000 grant to strengthen and expand the network locally over the next 12 months. The money will be used to fund extra hours for a Places of Welcome Enabler to set up new centres in the district. It will also see Simply ABCD, a community interest company, work with local Places of Welcome to help them develop the skills and interests of those who attend to benefit their communities.

    Places of Welcome Enabler Helen Titterton said: “Places of Welcome is about opening the door for people to meet others in their community and is great at involving those who may feel isolated, including the elderly.

    “There are Places of Welcome in Lichfield, Burntwood, Fradley, Armitage and Kings Bromley, with several of these opening in recent months. This funding from Lichfield District Council will keep the momentum going by helping even more community groups to join and provide a warm welcome to people every week.

    “Working with Simply ABCD will also ensure that Places of Welcome become a starting point for future community development, led by the interests and skills of participants in areas such as life-long learning, health and fitness and craft.”

    Places of Welcome volunteers
    Places of Welcome volunteers from Lichfield district

    Councillor Ashley Yeates, Cabinet Member for Regulatory Services, Housing & Wellbeing at Lichfield District Council, commented: “Places of Welcome plays an important role in our local communities, making sure there are safe spaces to go if you need a chat or support. Loneliness is a growing national problem and can have a significant detrimental effect on people’s health and wellbeing, so this initiative is a great way to get people out of the house and talking. We hope the grant will help to grow on the success of the project and offer even more residents that chance to find a welcoming place.”

    Places of Welcome are sponsored and supported by Transforming Communities Together, a joint venture between the Church Urban Fund and the Diocese of Lichfield..

    Transforming Communities Together Chair, the Rev Dr David Primrose, said: “We’re delighted to have Places of Welcome now at a growing number of places across Lichfield Diocese and want to continue this growth across Lichfield District. It’s fantastic to have a variety of different organisations involved, as we work towards our vision of every community having a Place of Welcome.”

    Places of Welcome is a grassroots movement that began in Birmingham. It has five values ensure that each venue is open at the same time and place for at least a few hours every week and is welcoming to anyone wanting to attend:

    • Place: An accessible and hospitable building, open at the same time every week.
    • People: Open to everyone regardless of their circumstances or situation, and staffed by volunteers.
    • Presence: A place where people actively listen to one another.
    • Provision: Offering free refreshments and basic local information.
    • Participation: Recognises that every person coming to a Place of Welcome will bring talents, experiences and skills that they might be willing to share locally.

    There are no charges for joining Places of Welcome, and anyone can start one in their community. Places of Welcome can be in any location including churches, mosques, temples, community centres or housing associations.

    Find out more here.