Newest Place of Welcome makes it 25 in Walsall

A popular initiative aimed at bringing people together has celebrated a quarter of a century of places in a Black Country town.

Councillor Chris Towe, Christine Proctor, Morrisons Bescot Community Champion Serina Sahota, Helen Murray, Maureen Thacker, Places of Welcome Coordinator Jane Quinn, Gary Mayo and Debra Mayo raise a cup to the new Place of Welcome
Councillor Chris Towe, Christine Proctor, Morrisons Bescot Community Champion Serina Sahota, Helen Murray, Maureen Thacker, Places of Welcome Coordinator Jane Quinn, Gary Mayo and Debra Mayo raise a cup to the new Place of Welcome

The 25th Place of Welcome was officially opened at St Martin's Church in Walsall and is set to provide a place every Thursday for people to come and enjoy a hot drink and a place to meet other people.

The Place of Welcome initiative aims to help provide safe places for people as a way of reducing isolation and loneliness and has seen churches, community centres and a host of other locations open up across the region.

The opening day on Thursday, May 12 saw 30 people come along to see the place, including Councillor Chris Towe, who said it was important to see initiatives like Places of Welcome.

He said: "It is important that we have places like this where the demographic of elderly people is high, for people to come out regularly and meet others.

"I have a genuine concern for isolation and the opportunity for people to meet at St Martin’s Community Café every Thursday is fantastic."

Councillor Towe will also be attending the Place of Welcome on the first Thursday of each month, while a Bereavement group will also meet there every first and third Thursday.

Jane Quinn, who runs the cafe at the church, said the church had always been about providing a safe place for the community and spoke about being able to be part of the initiative.

She said: "With the help of willing volunteers both from the church & the local community, we are very pleased to be opening up again after the pandemic as a Place of Welcome providing free refreshments, social company & a listening ear if you are lonely, offering support and friendship."

Carrie Blount, Place of Welcome facilitator for Black Country and Transforming Communities Together, said she was very pleased to be able to open the 25th Place of Welcome and spoke warmly about the opening day.

She said: "It’s been a great turn out with thirty people enjoying a free cuppa, toast and biscuits and more importantly making friends and having good conversations.

"Jane and her team have done an amazing job of reopening the café."

The Place of Welcome will be open at St Martin's Church on Daffodil Rd in Walsall from 10am to 12pm every Thursday.

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