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Thrive Togther Birmingham

​Places of Welcome

5th Anniversary: Celebrating Welcome, Friendship and Community


Places of Welcome is a network of grassroots community and faith groups offering welcome, hospitality and friendship.

The network started in Birmingham and to celebrate its 5th Birthday we invited all of the Places of Welcome in Birmingham, Solihull and Sandwell (around 85 groups), to create a collective art installation that celebrates welcome and hospitality and the value of community and relationships.

Just over 75 Places of Welcome chose to take part in creating the art installation and each created an individual art panel which was then brought together to create one collective piece called ‘Our Place of Welcome’.

This was launched at our birthday celebration event on the 27th February 2020, where over 170 people gathered to celebrate in St Martin in the Bullring Church. As well as showcasing the art installation, the event was an opportunity to hear from people involved in a Place of Welcome in their neighbourhood and lots of great stories were told of people developing friendships and building community in their local area, and all this was done while drinking tea and eating cake together.

 

This event took place only a few weeks before the Covid-19 crisis and lockdown began, the installation remained in the church throughout Lockdown and into the Autumn. It was a wonderful reminder of what community can be and what it will be again in the future.


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Background to Places of Welcome


Places of Welcome is a growing network of small community groups, including faith communities, who offer an unconditional welcome to local people, a friendly face, a cup of tea and a conversation if and when they need it.

With close to 400 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, leisure centres, hospitals, schools, temples and other community group buildings across the UK.

Developed out of the Birmingham Social Inclusion process ‘Giving Hope Changing Lives’, Places of Welcome responds to the challenge to make our cities and neighbourhoods more welcoming.

 

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The network has developed a set of guiding principles for all Places of Welcome, 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.
There are currently over 85 Places of Welcome in Greater Birmingham with more in the pipeline and we are always looking to expand the network into different communities. They are all different to each other and vary in number from a handful of people to over 80.  They each make a significant difference in the community they are based in and they help to improve and enrich both people’s lives who go but also the volunteers who help each week.

Do go and visit your nearest Place of Welcome and become part of a community group where you will meet some great people where you can belong, contribute and connect.

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For more info:

www.placesofwelcome.org.uk
www.facebook.com/PlacesOfWelcomeBirmingham
placesofwelcome@thrivetogetherbham.org