During Covid, a new epidemic swept through the country; loneliness and isolation. With many thousands of people being separated from families and friends and losing communities that we all rely on. This, coupled with the cost of living crisis, was having a massive impact. This is why warm welcome spaces were set up.

Warm Welcome Spaces is an organisation that aims to turn poverty and isolation into warmth and welcome using the power of local communities, wanting everyone to have access to a warm welcoming space in their local community, and I think the Warm Welcome in New Malden has done exactly that.

The branch in New Malden was started up almost exactly a year ago, in November 2022 at the Baptist church and was organised in just three weeks and has been open every tuesday afternoon and evening ever since, housing an incredible space with warm food, sweet treats and pancakes, with many activities such as board games, painting and so many more. It is a space where anyone is welcome, children and adults alike, and has such a friendly atmosphere.

I spoke to a lovely lady called Dina who had helped set it up and now has continued to help every week since, and she shared that ‘ that's the whole point of this, to meet people, I mean covid has made people a lot lonelier’ and went on to explain the importance of community and that so many of us take it for granted when in reality it is such a big part of our lives, our family, our friends and everyone else which makes up this integral part of our lives.

She then went on to say ‘We were supposed to run from November to March but as we got nearer and nearer, we thought this is a community and people enjoy it, and we realised we couldn’t stop, and we will keep going until people stop coming through that door’, which made me realise just how committed her and many others are to keeping this community and helping others find it which is just such a beautiful thing.