An initiative that aims to make Birmingham a more welcoming city opened its doors with an official launch at St Martin in the Bull Ring Church on November 20th.
The Places of Welcome network was launched by the Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Revd David Urquhart and the Cabinet Member for Social Cohesion, Equalities and Communities Safety, Councillor James McKay.
More than 25 community groups and organisations are active members of the network – each group offers conversation and refreshment to anyone in their neighbourhood at least once a week.
Hospitality on offer ranges from home-cooked lunches and soup kitchens to tea and biscuits or toast and cereal as well as a guarantee of a warm welcome, local information and a chance to chat.
The network has been developing over the last 18 months and has 25 groups exploring membership as well as the 25 active members. Places of Welcome grew out of the City Council’s Social Inclusion Process, Giving Hope, Changing Lives, which was chaired by the Bishop of Birmingham. The network is now facilitated by Thrive Together Birmingham, the partnership between the Church of England and Church Urban Fund, who work to tackle local poverty.
Bishop David said: “We are absolutely thrilled that some many community organisations are offering generous hospitality and a warm welcome across the city. These places, which give people a chance to meet their neighbour and participate in their local area, are an important part of building strong neighbourhoods and a cohesive city.
“I am particularly pleased that so many faith communities have come on board and joined the network.”
The launch of the network aims to put Places of Welcome on the map by connecting with housing associations and voluntary agencies.
Author: Andrew Mathews
Date: 24 November 2014
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