On Monday 17 January – The Right Revd Sarah Clark, Bishop of Jarrow opened and blessed the project which is generously funded by Lord Crewe’s Charity as part of its 300th anniversary ‘tercentennial’ celebrations. The project, known as ‘Places of Welcome Plus’, forms part of the wider church response to helping individuals and families get back on their feet following COVID and grew out of listening to local people and their concerns and needs at the height of the pandemic. Bishop Sarah said: “We all know that when life is hard – and life is hard at the moment – one struggle leads to another and anyone can easily feel alone, stuck, not knowing where to turn.

“‘Places of Welcome’ are safe places to turn to, with people who will welcome everyone who drops in and those who want to be part of the answer. Help and support will be offered across the borough through a small network of ‘Places of Welcome Plus’ drop-ins which offer a safe place to go, a listening ear and an opportunity to get involved. No money is needed and refreshments are free