The Anglican Diocese of Leeds has announced that the latest Place of Welcome opened on Wednesday (September 11 2019) in Birkby, Huddersfield.
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 350 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.
St Cuthbert's in Birkby prides itself on being a community church and already serves the local community with many groups and activities. This latest initiative led by church members will see the church open every Wednesday morning between 9.15am and 11.30am, "come rain or shine".
Dorothy Leech who has been a longstanding and active member of St Cuthbert's (pictured below and left) says, "It's onwards and upwards. We hope it will help the church grow in the community. This is a place of safety where people will be able to discuss the things that are important to them. It's the Christian faith in practice".
Church Warden, Jane Chesman (pictured right) says, "Unless we are involved in the community we are doing nothing. It's showing Jesus's love that we are welcoming. When you look at the mix of people here there's great value in sitting down and talking with each other. Spaces like this are much needed now because there are many lonely people; There aren't many meeting places like this in Birkby. We'd like people to come and see what we are doing which if offering friendship and someone to talk to".
Around twenty five people from the local community, many who had not been to the church before, gathered for refreshments and cakes, board games, and conversations. The Place of Welcome also provides local information including where people can access support.
The Anglican Diocese of Leeds will be encouraging more churches and other faith community groups to open Places of Welcome and will be offering support.
For more information about starting a Places of Welcome or joining the network please visit wellspringstogether.org.uk or email placesofwelcome [at] wellspringstogether.org.uk