30 December 2022

Warm Welcome Campaign: Could your corps get involved?

Two white coffee cups

Corps and centres are opening their doors to people in need during the cold winter months.

Across the territory, people are struggling to make ends meet as the cost of food, basic essentials and energy are all increasing. Millions of households will be in fuel poverty this winter, with older people, people with disabilities and low-income households among the most affected groups. There is an estimated £800 gap between the overall cost of living and the support package for families on means-tested benefits, meaning many will look to their local churches for support.

Salvation Army corps and centres have already been hard at work helping people in need through food parcels, pre-loved school uniform banks and summer holiday clubs with children’s meals provided. The Army has also been campaigning for the government to make emergency changes to the universal credit system, increase housing benefits and expand free childcare provision.

Now, the Army is supporting the Warm Welcome Campaign to find another way to help people and families in need this winter. Many corps have already registered and are providing safe and friendly spaces for those who are struggling to heat their homes.

What is a warm welcome space?

A warm welcome space is a space open to people in need that is free, heated, inclusive and non-judgemental.

Where did the Warm Welcome Campaign come from?

The Warm Welcome Campaign is a multi-denominational initiative. In June, ChurchWorks Commissioners representing all the major Christian denominations in England met in the House of Lords. They were joined by former prime minister Gordon Brown and representatives from Trussell Trust and Christians Against Poverty for a discussion about what to do in response to the cost of living crisis.

The goal is to provide more than 1,000 places of warm welcome in the winter months for vulnerable people.

How can you take part?

The campaign website warmwelcome.uk allows corps and centres to register their buildings as warm welcome spaces. This doesn’t necessarily mean starting a new initiative – some corps and centres have already opened their buildings for people who are struggling to heat their homes.

Registering as a space on the Warm Welcome website will help to publicise the availability of the space for service users.

What do you need to provide?

This is up to you. Some spaces will simply offer a place to go where guests can enjoy a warm space. Others will provide practical support and pastoral care from staff members or volunteers. Others may offer a range of facilities and activities to meet the needs of people in their area.

What about your usual weekly programme?

There are clear boundaries around your programmes to ensure safeguarding – you can specify when, where and for what purpose your building is open.

How long does a space need to be open?

There is no minimum requirement to be considered a warm welcome space. Any length of time you are able to open your space for will make a difference.

Do you have to take part?

No. There is no requirement to sign up to the initiative as it is very much based on capacity, resources and programme. However, Army premises are typically open for at least some of the week and the Warm Welcome campaign can give you an opportunity to promote activities or initiatives you already have planned.

If you do choose to sign up, you will receive regular information, resources and support from the Warm Welcome campaign team.

How can you find out more?

Visit the Warm Welcome website at warmwelcome.uk or contact your DHQ.

Discover more

Devotions, podcasts, articles and resources to help you journey through Advent and celebrate Christmas.

Resources to support your ministry this Advent and Christmas time.

An online radio station for everyone linked to The Salvation Army.

Ahead of Inter Faith Week (12–19 November), Lieut-Colonel Jonathan Roberts considers the importance of interfaith harmony.