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The Welcome in Knutsford is the latest Big Society Award Winner

The Welcome, a community centre which has been providing activities and vital services for the local community in Knutsford for over 15 years is the latest winner of the Prime Minister's Big Society Award.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The Welcome is staffed mainly by local volunteers and provides a focal point for the whole community. Outside organisations value the centre as a way of bringing their services to the heart of the community including mental physical wellbeing, education, business support, SureStart, cookery lessons and craft sessions for the elderly. All of these services evolved in response to the needs of the local people The Welcome serves.

Since starting as a cafe and meeting place the centre has become a hub for the local community and through its range of services has helped people to develop the skills they need to get back into the workplace.  Chancellor and local MP George Osborne praised the achievements of The Welcome on a visit to the centre last year.

Congratulating The Welcome on the award, the Prime Minister said:

The Welcome started with the simple ambition of creating a centre for the community offering good value meals in a safe place.  By listening to the needs of the people who use the centre and constantly adding the services and support they asked for it has truly become the heart of that community.

This is a fantastic example of the Big Society - local volunteers delivering services local people need on their doorstep.

Everyone at The Welcome should be proud of the achievement this award recognises and I hope they continue to provide a valuable service for the whole community.

Accepting the award Marie Fox, Operations Manager of The Welcome said:

This is a wonderful recognition of the work that has been done over the years The Welcome has been working in our community. The Welcome brings together all ages and all different parts of the community, and this award reflects both the strength and the commitment of people in our community to support one another.

The Welcome continues to look at new ways of supporting local people and we hope that this award will assist us in raising funds and awareness so that we can continue to make a difference to people’s lives.

Chair of Trustees of The Welcome Mark Green added,

I am delighted that The Welcome is being recognised in this way. For over 15 years the hard work of our volunteers, and the support of countless people and organisations, in particular Knutsford Methodist Church, has kept the doors of The Welcome open.

That commitment means that many hundreds of people have had The Welcome experience, sitting down with friends to eat or drink in the community cafe; equipping themselves with crucial skills in adult education; having fun and learning at our youth clubs; involving themselves in family based activities. This award is for all those people over the years whose work and support has made The Welcome possible.

Notes to Editors

On The Welcome

The Welcome (Knutsford) Ltd (registered charity number 1142084) is a community centre serving the Longridge, Shaw Heath and other communities of Knutsford Cheshire. It comprises a Community Cafe, and a number of activities including adult literacy, numeracy and ICT skills, youth clubs, craft and fitness clubs for the elderly, and activities for children, young people and families.

The Welcome was originally established by Knutsford Methodist Church and the church connection still exists with The Welcome Methodist Church sharing the same building.

The Welcome is currently funded by a mix of giving and grants from individuals, local businesses, The Methodist Church, and project related funding from Trusts and The Big Lottery Fund.

Future projects being planned and developed now, includes support of young people’s education; information advice guidance and support to get people into the workforce, and a project to alleviate and remove the painful experience of debt.

The Welcome contact details:

Key contacts:

On the Big Society Awards

The Big Society Awards were set up by the Prime Minister in November 2010. The aim is to acknowledge individuals and organisations across the UK that demonstrate the Big Society in their work or activities. In so doing, the aim is also to galvanise others to follow.

The award focuses upon three specific areas:

  • Promoting social action - people being, and being encouraged to be, be more involved in their communities through giving time, money and other resources.
  • Empowering communities - local people taking control of how things are done in their area and being helped to do this by local government and others.
  • Opening up public services - public sector organisations and individuals demonstrating innovative ways of delivering public services and charities, social enterprises and private companies showing new ways of delivering public services.

For more information, visit the Big Society Awards pages.

Published 19 September 2011