A handful of Shropshire fire stations are opening their doors as Warm Welcome venues in the coming weeks, offering local residents a place to socialise, enjoy a coffee and a chat and receive a mini health check if they wish.
Over 70 community venues across the county have registered as Warm Welcomes this winter, as part of Shropshire Council’s cost of living campaign.
Locations are listed on Shropshire Council’s website, alongside opening times and the facilities that they offer. These include libraries and museums, as well as community halls, charity premises and faith buildings. Many offer a place to sit and relax, whilst others offer a hot drink or access to wifi.
Shropshire Council and Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service have worked together to identify areas of the county with little to no Warm Welcome provision, and have created a plan to make use of the fire stations to provide a solution. The first locations to open their doors will be Hodnet, Prees and Clun, with more expected to follow.
The Warm Welcome sessions will be held once a week and will include a hot drink and a chance to chat with a member of the community wellbeing outreach team, as well as the opportunity to have a blood pressure and Atrial Fibrilation check.
Dan Quinn, assistant chief of Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service, said:
“We are really pleased to be continuing our partnership with Shropshire Council following our successful collaboration with the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. Fire stations are a key feature of rural communities, and the perfect venue for people to come along, socialise and get some valuable advice from the outreach team.”
Gwilym Butler, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for finance and corporate resources, said:
“Our partners at the Fire and Rescue Service have provided a much-needed solution for people in some of Shropshire’s most rural areas to have weekly access to a warm, friendly space and to seek health and wellbeing advice if they need it.
“The offer is open to people of all ages, and we hope that it will be as popular with families and young people as it will be with retired people living alone. Projects like this really show the potential for strong partnerships to enhance our communities for the benefit of everybody who lives in them.”
The first fire station Warm Welcome will be held at Hodnet Fire Station on Monday 23 January 2023 from 11am to 4.30pm.