A fire station and a parish church in Lichfield have combined to create a warm space for local people as winter approaches.
The new Place of Welcome opened at Lichfield Community Fire station on Thursday 10 November in partnership with nearby St Michael’s Church.
The weekly drop-in is one of a wider network of Lichfield & District Warm Welcomes which is seeing churches and other community venues across Lichfield and Burntwood offer a haven to people struggling to heat their homes due to the cost of living crisis.
Rector of St Michael’s, the Revd Dr Abbie Walsh, said: “The Place of Welcome will run initially until the end of March, every Thursday afternoon from 1.30-3pm. We’ll offer a warm space, a warm welcome, conversation and hot drinks. Additionally, the fire station will work with us to provide winter warm packs and promote home safety advice. The station has great community facilities and it’s wonderful to be working together like this so we can keep everyone in our community safe and warm this winter while also offering companionship for those who might be on their own.”
Lichfield Fire Station, Station Manager Leigh Richards, said: “Providing a warm space for the local community to come and enjoy companionship, conversation and hot drinks at this time is the right thing to do for our communities. As a service, we have a number of ongoing initiatives to help support families to keep warm this winter. This includes Community Safety Officers and crews available every Thursday to offer advice and distribute our winter warmth packs.”
The winter warmth packs include thermal blankets, hats, scarfs, gloves, socks and others items such as hot water bottles and thermal mugs.
The initiative is part of the wider Places of Welcome network which has seen hundreds of such drop-ins pop up across the Midlands and further beyond to offer regular opportunities for people to find a friendly face, a cup of tea and a conversation when they need it.
Churches across the Diocese of Lichfield, which includes Staffordshire, Stoke-on-Trent, the Black Country and most of Shropshire, are offering similar warm space venues with other local community organisations as temperatures begin to drop.