Hednesford Always a Place of Welcome
To build upon the reputation of Hednesford as an open and welcoming community and the Chatty Café established in Costa Coffee earlier in the year we have now established Hednesford Library as a “Place of Welcome”.
A “Place of Welcome” is somewhere warm where there is a cuppa, a cake and a chat. In Hednesford this is opened by volunteers on a Wednesday morning at the same time as the Fusion Credit Bank is opened by volunteers
Councillor Sharon Jagger, Principal Speaker for Wellbeing, Loneliness and Isolation said
“It is fantastic to see more and more volunteers stepping forward to help connect our community and a Place of Welcome in our library is a great extension of the Chatty Café launched earlier in the year. Thank you to everyone involved and connecting our community”
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. 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.
Places of Welcome was an idea that developed during Birmingham’s Social Inclusion Inquiry ‘Giving Hope Changing Lives’ in 2012. Exploring the questions “What happens to someone newly arrived to the city?” and “Is Birmingham a welcoming city?”, the response was that Birmingham, like many places, can be welcoming but if someone is new to the area and is not well resourced, not well connected, and if English isn’t their first language then often it isn’t welcoming at all, and can be a very difficult place to navigate. Often people can live in their neighbourhood for a long time but feel isolated, perhaps due to changed circumstances, bereavement, redundancy or even a new baby.
Barrow Cadbury Trust supported Thrive Together Birmingham to start Places of Welcome and it has grown steadily since then. The Places of Welcome network has now grown beyond Birmingham, into the Black Country, the West Midlands and across the country. There are over 200 groups who have joined the network with many more to come.