Birmingham: Citizens across Birmingham looking for community, support and advice on what is dubbed ‘Blue Monday’ are being reminded that the city’s Warm Welcome network is there for them.
The third Monday in January – due to the impact of bills from Christmas spending, cold weather and loneliness, as well as cost of living – is said to be the most depressing day of the year.
However the growth of Birmingham’s Warm Welcomes network of community spaces, ranging from libraries and leisure centres to faith settings and neighbourhood centres, shows there are many places for people to be not just on ‘Blue Monday’ but all year round.
The network, which has more than 100 spaces across the city, is able to provide a lot more than a hot drink and a biscuit – these offer a range of activities and facilities, including fitness, advice on benefits, access to support services and much more.
Cllr John Cotton, Cabinet Member for Social Justice, Community Safety and Equalities, said: “It’s great to see how, by working with our partners in community, faith and voluntary sectors, a wide range of spaces have registered as Warm Welcomes – and the positive impact they are having in their local communities.
“We know times are tough for everyone, and this network aims to provide community – whether that’s having someone to talk to or listen to your situation – wherever they are in our city.
“Many organisations and groups offer this support all year round, but the tightening grip the cost of living has on so many of our citizens mean these places are needed more than ever. It’s not just about keeping warm, it’s about providing space for people to come together and support one another as well as providing vital advice and information.”
Details of all the Warm Welcome spaces across the city can be found on the council’s website – as can details of how organisations can register their space as a Warm Welcome: visit www.birmingham.gov.uk/livingsupport
* In addition to this the Jo Cox Foundation has established the Great Winter Get Together, to provide places for connection for people of all ages, in a bid to tackle loneliness.
Throughout January community groups and organisations will be joining forces to provide a range of activities to encourage people young and old to make new connections doing something they enjoy be it exercise, art, walking or just having a chat.
To find details of Great Winter Get Together events in Birmingham, have a look at the interactive map on their website – https://www.greatgettogether.org/map