The Welcome Network

The Welcome Network

Enabling communities to share good food while seeking long-lasting change to the food system.

The Welcome Network is composed of community groups, charities and local authority agencies united around the vision for all people in West Cheshire to share affordable, accessible, good-quality food as part of thriving, local communities.

As a network of community groups, charities and local authority agencies, we aim to reduce food poverty by:

  • developing welcoming spaces for local people & agencies to come together around food;
  • building networks and strengthening relationships with professionals, providers and the community;
  • evidencing local need and championing local voices to shape the policy required at both the local and national level to create a fit for purpose food system.

For more information and resources please visit our website: http://www.welcomenet.co.uk/.

 

What we do

We support communities to build resilience and empower them to find solutions to the food poverty problems they face.

We equip, fund and support community groups to provide food and activities for children, young people and their families during the school holidays. We call this Holiday Provision.

We connect organisations and build networks so that together they can offer people experiencing food poverty a welcoming and supportive environment in which they can access a wide range of services and support. We call these Meeting Places.

We influence policy by gathering evidence and advocating for change as a member of national networks such as Feeding Britain and locally as part of Cheshire West and Chester’s Eat Well Be Active Partnership and Poverty Truth Commission.

 

Holiday Provision

Our staff provide specialist infrastructure support that enables local community groups to run the food-related activities and events they believe their community needs. This infrastructure support includes organising:

  • workshops to prepare groups for running community cooking sessions including food arts & crafts for children;
  • training including food hygiene and allergy awareness;
  • get-togethers for community food providers to learn from each other, share recipes, ideas and to support to each other;
  • local network meetings and workshops for groups to share ideas, resources, discuss partnerships and joined up working;
  • funding and support with funding applications;

 With this support community groups and churches have organised holiday activities and meals for children and families during the school holidays as well as community. Such activities include:

  • arts & crafts
  • food growing
  • forest school
  • cooking
  • dance
  • swimming at the local leisure centre
  • trips to the theatre and the seaside

Read a case study on our holiday provision here.

 

 

Meeting Places

We support the development of community spaces that bring together food, advice and support in one place so that people experiencing food poverty can access support and free or low cost food in a dignified and friendly setting. These warm, welcoming, vibrant spaces are a way of moving away from a transactional approach to accessing emergency food towards one of building relationships and finding long-term solutions to food poverty.

Meeting places are local hubs that offer people the chance to feel part of their community, learn, eat, cook, grow, share ideas and have fun!

 


An example is Foody Fridays at the Lache Community Centre. This is a collaboration between a number of organisations including West Cheshire Foodbank, Citizens Advice Bureau, West Cheshire Credit Union, a local community group and Sanctuary Housing offering a number of services in one place as can be seen in the poster on the left.

 

Another example is a community meal prepared in an outdoor kitchen with advice available from Citizens Advice Bureau at a community growing space ‘Grozone’ in Northwich.

 

About Us

We are a network that brings together community groups, charities such as West Cheshire Foodbank and Citizens Advice Bureau, and local authority partner agencies such as schools and housing associations in England’s Northwestern borough of Cheshire West and Chester.

Community activities take place in the towns of Chester, Ellesmere Port, Northwich and Winsford.

We began in April 2017 as a partnership between Healthbox CIC, West Cheshire Foodbank, Citizens Advice Cheshire West, and Cheshire West Voluntary Action thanks to a grant from Cheshire West and Chester Council.

Since then we have also received funding from the Department for Education and from Big Lottery as a partner of Feeding Britain.

We are overseen by a steering group composed of:

                    

 

Get Involved!

Are you a community group in West Cheshire that is supporting people in your local area? Would you like support to run your own food events?

Are you an agency that would like to offer services to people experiencing food poverty at one of our Meeting Places?

Do you have a fun activity to offer at a community event?

Get in touch with Steph via email stephanie@welcomenet.co.uk or telephone: 07881 520116.