Businesses, community groups and faith organisations have come forward to offer ‘welcoming spaces’, to support residents during the winter months and rising cost of living.
The Stronger Together Through Winter initiative, a campaign by Stoke-on-Trent City Council, voluntary and community sector organisation VAST and businesses and groups throughout the city, has now created a network of welcoming spaces.
Since the initiative launched last month, 30 welcoming spaces have been established across Stoke-on-Trent, these include council libraries, churches, community venues and The Potteries Shopping Centre.
A welcoming space is a place of connection in the community, which can be established or newly created, such as a community centre, library, or place of faith, where people can meet up, socialise, and potentially access support relating to the cost of living.
The latest welcoming space in the city is Blurton community lounge based at Affordable Foods, Meaford Drive, Blurton.
It had had its official opening event with representatives from the city council, the NHS and the voluntary sector present. The community lounge will also act as a welcoming space and will be open every Friday, 10am to 1pm.
Council leader Abi Brown, pictured above, said: “I am delighted to see that our city is coming together during these tough times and local businesses and groups have offered support to the Stronger Together Through Winter initiative.
“We know that many households are feeling anxious about energy bills as the weather cools, therefore welcoming spaces are places where residents can meet in informal settings, have a chat, access advice and support and make use of services in a warm, welcoming environment.
“We now have a whole host of welcoming spaces across the city but we still need more and I urge businesses and groups to consider how they can help people of Stoke-on-Trent this winter.”
Organisations that regularly open their doors and welcome people by providing them with a safe, warm welcoming place are asked to fill in a short form: www.stoke.gov.uk/welcomingspaces.
If venues and organisations would like further information, they can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information on the Stronger Together Through Winter campaign and the full list of welcoming spaces in the city can be found at http://sottogether.vast.org.uk.