Bradford Launches Places of Welcome

Places of Welcome is a network of small community organisations, including faith communities, who offer an unconditional welcome to local people for at least a few hours a week. The primary aim of the network is to create spaces where people can feel safe and belong - a scheme that started in Birmingham and is now developing throughout the country.

It was wonderful to welcome over 80 people from a wide range of groups and organisations to the beautiful surroundings of City Hall.

The launch started with a warm welcome including cake (a key ingredient to many of our existing Places of Welcome!). We then moved into the Council Chamber and heard from a range of speakers including Bishop of Bradford, Toby Haworth and the Strategic Director of Health and Wellbeing, Bev Maybury. Bishop Toby reminded us that 'welcome is at the heart of many different faiths and communities'. He also emphasised that the Places of Welcome network is needed at times like these when things can feel difficult because of conflict at a national and international level.

Bishop Toby Howarth said: "It can be difficult to join a group of strangers and the added barriers of entering a community of faith based buildings may prevent people accessing the support that could potentially reduce their loneliness. We recognise that every person who comes to a Place of Welcome will have their own individual talents, experiences and skills that they can share with others in their neighbourhoods. The idea is to create a great support network, led by volunteers, that will help people from whatever background they come from."

We also heard from a member of the Network, St James's Bolton Rd. Sally and the team shared a little of their journey as a Place of Welcome. She spoke of how important it is that it is not a service being done to people but is a shared space. 

Many thanks to all who came to the launch and have supported the initiative so far. The network continues to grow with new members Bradford Cathedral, Communityworks, Grange Interlink Centre and the Good Shepherd Centre in Keighley.

More images and information can be found on our Facebook page.

If you'd like to know more about joining the Places of Welcome Network please get in touch with Wellsprings Together Bradford Development Worker [email protected]