As the cost-of-living crisis bites ever harder, and the cold weather continues, our churches have taken action to turn up the heating and invite people to come in, keep warm and share food – rather than stay at home where they can’t afford the energy bills.
We recognise the great support being shown to our communities across the diocese.
Here’s an update on how one church in Leicester is offering a Warm Welcome…
Across the country, local charities, libraries, community centres, churches of all denominations, and people of all faiths and none, are coming together in response to the cost-of-living crisis – a crisis affecting millions of people in the UK struggling with the basic human needs of being warm and fed.
Last October, the church of St Chad, in Leicester, decided to open as a place of Warm Welcome, set up and is run by the Community Missioner, Elaine Smith.
The national project, ‘Warm Welcome’, was launched by a partnership of faith groups including the Church of England, the Church Urban Fund, The Salvation Army and Christians Against Poverty.
St Chad’s Warm Welcome is a warm place with a table set ready with hot buttered toast, jam and peanut butter. They have sachets of porridge and soup, and endless free cups of tea, coffee and biscuits for their eagerly expected guests.
They also have a clothes rail of warm jumpers and cardigans for people to take away, and tables with board games and newspapers and a store cupboard of easy to heat food to take home.
One idea their guests had was to bring a lunch-time snack to cook - a pizza, or maybe a toasted sandwich. While they wait for their meal they have time to re-charge their phones – often their only contact with friends and agencies such as doctors, council or the DWP.
Parish Deacon, Revd Clare King, says: “Warm Welcome is open to everyone, and we receive a steady stream of visitors.
“In our conversations we are learning more about how the cost-of-living crisis is affecting our local community and how we can help,” she explains.
“Warm Welcome is a place where our guests can feel warm without worrying about the bill, a worry that’s sadly all too familiar for many when they are in their own homes. We aim to offer support and signpost to agencies who can help in practical ways.
“Everyone should be able to have a place to go that is warm and welcoming this winter, here at St Chad’s we aim to do just that.”
For more information on how your church community can get involved, visit: www.warmwelcome.uk