Many of us would consider our churches to be welcoming places, but could they also be ‘places of welcome’!?
While the origins of the ‘Places of Welcome’ network began in Birmingham, it is spreading across the country, as people respond to the challenge to make our cities and neighbourhoods more welcoming. Over 200 groups have joined the network – with more joining all the time!
So what exactly is a ‘place of welcome’?
The website says:
“Places of Welcome are run by local community groups who want everyone in their neighbourhood to have a place to go for a friendly face, a cup of tea and a conversation if and when they need it.
With over 200 across the UK, each Place of Welcome is unique but all provide a place for people to connect with one another, find belonging and offer gifts and skills that interest them.
Places of Welcome take place in a variety of different venues including churches, community centres, libraries, mosques, temples and other community group buildings across the UK.”
In order to wear the widely recognised badge, a group/church/regular activity should be following the following guiding principles – key elements of a Place of Welcome which are known as the 5P’s:
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 (at least a cup of tea and a biscuit) 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.
For more information about Places of Welcome and how to join the network, please see the national website here.
Within Durham Diocese, the Communities Together Durham Team would love to walk with your church / group to help you in this process. Find out more about their work and the amazing support they can offer here: