21/04/2023 - Permalink

Community venues stepped up for Shropshire’s Warm Welcome

Related topics: Community / Cost of living / Leisure, culture and heritage / Partner organisations

More than 80 community venues in Shropshire opened their doors to offer residents a warm welcome this winter, as energy prices pushed up the cost of heating our homes. 

A group of people sit around a table smiling. There is knitting in front of them.

Visitors to Meole Estate Community Centre’s Warm Welcome (in Shrewsbury). Picture credit: Energize STW

The initiative ran from October 2022 until March 2023 and venues included libraries, fire stations, community and village halls among many more. To take part in the initiative venues needed to be free, open to all, and able to offer a warm space to enjoy a chat or an activity.  

Shropshire Council provided support for the participating settings, which included training, resources and signposting, as well as grant funding for voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise organisations. 

Each of the venues also shared Shropshire Council’s cost of living campaign resources, including an advice leaflet aimed at anybody worried about money. 

As part of the scheme, Christina Morgan, Live Longer Better Manager at Energize Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, pictured far right, visited Meole Estate Community Centre in Shrewsbury to hand out some warm items knitted by attendees of Elevate community fall prevention classes across the county.

As the initiative drew to a close in March, warm welcome venues were invited to give their feedback and 91% said that they would like to offer their space as a warm welcome again in 2023/24. 

55% of those who responded, such as libraries, were already providing a year-round community hub, and a further 36% said that they would now consider becoming an all-year hub, offering a space for visitors to access local information, meet people and share interests. 

Gwilym Butler, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for finance and corporate resources, said:- 

“Shropshire’s first warm welcome initiative has shown what a valuable asset our community venues are thanks to the generosity and community focus of the people who run them. Whether visitors came to socialise, to take part in an activity or simply to sit and relax, the warm welcome extended far beyond the chance to save money on heating costs.  

“The feedback from venues has been really encouraging and has shown us a way forwards so that the initiative can develop further.  Shropshire Council is examining ways that we can continue to support these vitally important community spaces to provide hubs that connect local people to information and opportunities that will help them to live healthy and happy lives in Shropshire.” 

For more information about the venues that have taken part, visit: Warm Welcome locations | Shropshire Council