Warm Welcome Microgrants: Empowering Spaces In Areas of High Deprivation

March 2023
Daniel Jones

Serving behind the scenes for Warm Welcome

The Warm Welcome campaign has done much to warm hearts as well as bodies this winter so Stewardship feels very privileged to have been its fundraising and grant-making partner.

Money isn’t everything, but it was clear from the start of Warm Welcome that we would need resources to rise to the challenge and opportunity of serving the emerging movement of Warm Spaces across the UK. 

When Warm Welcome was in its early stages, Stewardship worked closely with ChurchWorks to establish partnerships with philanthropists and trusts to share the vision and raise the support necessary to fund the core costs. Once the movement was up and running, we partnered with Warm Welcome on public donations, helping secure the opportunity to become the focus of the Daily Mirror's Christmas Appeal.

Understanding the funding needs of local spaces was a key challenge for us in the early part of this winter. Through a survey of Warm Welcome Spaces, we learned that the average fundraising target for local groups was around £2000. So to make our money go as far as possible, we decided to give out £1000 microgrants with minimal bureaucracy. We also decided to focus this support on Spaces in the areas of highest deprivation, where we felt the gap between need and the resources of local groups would be the greatest. 

Through a combination of public donations, private philanthropy and trusts, Stewardship and Warm Welcome have now raised nearly £300,000 to give out through this Microgrant Fund. Over the last few weeks and months my colleagues have been hard at work contacting Spaces and offering them as much support as possible to receive this funding to boost their impact in their communities. 

Stewardship is ideally positioned to connect givers with causes where the need is greatest; founded over a century ago, it has long experience of fundraising and today serves over 30,000 generous donors, giving more than £100 million each year to nearly 13,000 charities, churches and Christian workers. It is also a founding partner in The ChurchWorks Commission, a coalition of 15 major UK Christian denominations that partners with the Government, initially to coordinate a Covid recovery programme and more recently a response to the cost-of-living crisis, which has included the Warm Welcome initiative. 

Here are a couple of stories of the impact of the Microgrant Fund which have filled us with pride and hope in the work of local Warm Welcome Spaces. 

Stories from Warm Welcome spaces who’ve received microgrants: 

Edge Ministry

Edge Ministries ran a free Santa’s Grotto welcoming over 280 people, with a free gift for every child, and free hot dogs and mince pies for everyone.

Find out more about Edge Ministry →

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Edge Ministries ran a free Santa’s Grotto welcoming over 280 people, with a free gift for every child, and free hot dogs and mince pies for everyone.

Maltby Salvation Army’s 

Maltby Salvation Army created a lounge area at the back of the church to serve as a Warm Welcome space, emphasising hospitality where people can come in and feel safe and warm physically and socially. They serve soup, sausage rolls and hot drinks every session. 

They've been relying on creativity and flexibility to respond to people's needs on a human level. When they noticed that moms and toddlers were using the warm space, they quickly adapted accordingly. During the football season one room screened matches while families with children on winter break used the lounge area to play and socialise. 

The main impact this Warm Welcome space is having is in tacking isolation, building friendships, and helping people realise that they aren't alone. The Warm Welcome grant helped with the costs of setting up the lounge space and providing free drinks and food. Additionally, it covered ongoing energy costs to keep the space warm.  

Find out more about Maltby →

The Kings Church, Halifax 

The Warm Welcome Space at Kings Church Halifax was established as a local response to the cost living crisis. The building, which has kitchen and cafe facilities, was open every day of the week and the heating was always on. The team decided to make the space accessible to anyone in need of free warmth and social interaction. 

The cafe was offering pension specials attracting 20-30 people per meal. It was where the bulk of Warm Welcome service users were initially found. Sometimes people walk out with giveaways (e.g. low-energy light bulbs) to help raise awareness about solutions to cut down on energy use at home. 

The Warm Welcome microgrant allowed the church to carry out a listening exercise asking the community about their needs and finding creative ways to respond under the banner of the Warm Welcome space. The grant was used to repurpose a space for families, develop family activities and run adverts targeting single parents. Additionally, they forged new partnerships and expanded their base of beneficiaries to include a group of Ukrainian refugees who were using the building for English lessons. 

Find out more about King's Church →

"I cannot adequately express how blessed we are by this generous grant. It is our intention to continue with our Warm Welcome space for the foreseeable future as we are proving to be very popular with the residents and for some who are struggling with current food bills, we are a real blessing. This grant will go a long way to providing food and heat for quite a number of months. Thank you again."

- Member of New Life Church Leigh, one Warm Welcome partner that has received a microgrant. 
“At Stewardship we are passionate about connecting our givers with our church and charity partners to provide support where the need is greatest. We have therefore been very encouraged by the generous response to the Warm Welcome Campaign. The cost-of-living crisis means the need in our communities remains acute so we will continue to do all that we can to distribute crucial funds to help churches and charities keep their warm spaces open.” 

Stewart McCulloch, CEO, Stewardship

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