In Conversation: Rural & Urban Warm Welcome Spaces

April 2023
Mark Betson

This recorded conversation is led by Mark Betson, a Warm Welcome campaign partner and Church of England National Public Policy Advisor. Over the course of the winter, Mark has been considering the differences between urban and rural Warm Welcome spaces, and encouraging the campaign to be innovative in addressing the respective challenges of each.

Here, Mark facilitates a discussion that highlights the observations and experiences witnessed by local leaders addressing the cost-of-living crisis and fuel poverty in the village versus the city. 

The interviewees are;

  • Stephen Radford, a Methodist Church Minister running six Warm Welcome spaces in the Kirkby Stephen and Appleby circuit area, which has the lowest population density and lowest average income in Britain. 
  • Jodie Brown, General Manager of The Dove Cafe in Beaconsfield, which is attached to St Thomas’ Church set in an urban area where around 100 people visit the cafe every day. 

Key highlights include observations about the demographics of space users, the obstacle of rural transport, the emergence of loneliness and isolation amongst families and children, the work of Linking Lives with Warm Welcome spaces, the journey with Ukrainian refugees in urban and rural areas, and the future of Warm Welcome spaces through local eyes. 

‘I AM ALIVE’ Ukrainian Photo-Art Exhibition at The Dove Cafe, St Thomas’ Church. The exhibition was created by artist Alona Melnyk, introducing 18 Ukrainian women who fled the war and have found shelter in the Beaconsfield area.

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