Last updated 22nd November 2022
Opening our church doors is enabling people to come in and sit in a warm space. Some churches are already doing this and people are taking up this opportunity.
Connect with organisations offering support to help you to make a difference in your own area.
The mission of Warm Welcome is to support organisations to open their doors and provide a warm welcome for those struggling to heat their homes this winter.â¯ Visit warmwelcome.uk
Places of Welcome is a growing network of local community groups providing their neighbourhoods with places where all people feel safe to connect, belong and contribute. Visit: placesofwelcome.org.uk
Renew Wellbeing helps churches open spaces of welcome and inclusion in partnership with mental health teams to improve mental and emotional wellbeing.
Renew Wellbeing spaces are simple café style spaces run by local churches where hobbies and activities are shared or co-produced. Each café space is attached to a quiet room or prayer space where inner habits of wellbeing are shared.
Each church partners with a mental health professional from the local council or other suitable organisation to ensure good inclusive practices for safe spaces where it is OK not to be OK can be sustained. Visit renewwellbeing.org.uk
Two grants towards cost of utilities for churches wanting to be warm hubs
ASDA Foundation Cost of Living Grant: This grant is targeted at community groups that are going to open longer to support individuals in their local area and provide a warm place to be. To apply, contact your local ASDA store to speak to their Community Champion. They will support you in completing your application and will submit the application to the Foundation on your behalf. Grants of between £500 and £2000 are available and the grant submission window will close in February. More information here.
Lancashire County Council: This small grant programme has been set up for local organisations and groups within the voluntary, community, and faith sector, as well as for parish and town councils, to support the creation and improvement of warm and welcoming spaces for residents amidst the rising cost of living, focusing on those most in need. More information here.
Christians Against Poverty
Find out how your church can partner with Christians Against Poverty (CAP) to signpost people for support; train up debt counsellors; take part in campaigns and to pray. Visit CAPUK.org: how your church can be involved.
Six ways to access help
CAP has provided a useful six-step guide to help individuals access the support that they are entitle to. The guide provides links to six FREE services that anyone can access.
The Trussell Trust
The Trussell Trust help churches to establish foodbanks to provide emergency help in their communities.
Churches are key in the work of food banks: sourcing and donating food; providing valuable storage space, finding volunteers and praying for those involved and impacted.
Acts365 equips the local church to help individuals in their communities with their specific needs using crowdfunding. Visit acts435.org.uk for more information.
If needed, update your website, Facebook and ACNY pages showing what is on offer so that it is clear to people when your church is open; who to contact and how they can get involved if they choose.
It's amazing how many websites are not kept up to date and you only have one chance to make a first impression!
See below for more on A Church Near You specifically.
If you are reviewing costs for your parish website or planning to update your site, did you know that 'A Church Near You' can be used as your church’s free 'website' if you don’t have one already?
Using A Church Near You people can see at a glance the times churches are open in their area and what is on offer eg 'a warm welcome'; 'a service with a meal following' etc.
It's not got all the functionality of a full-blown website but it will provide a professional-looking 'front door' online for your parish and is certainly better than having nothing at all!
The site is also regularly promoted as part of national Church of England campaigns - such as at Christmas and Easter so you get the added benefit of that profile if your church is involved.
Churches have to own their A Church Near You page - and have their own Editor. Are you a new editor? Or have you been using some of the free features already but want to learn how to use more to create a welcoming site to visitors?
The national church runs a monthly webinar giving you a live demonstration to gain confidence editing your site. The next webinar is on November 9 at midday. Register here.