Warm welcome at Nelly Warmers!
Whether you’re looking for a cup of tea, a bowl of homemade soup, or simply someone to chat to, a warm welcome awaits you at Nelly Warmers in Stockton.
Based in the Nelson Club in Stockton, Nelly Warmers is community initiative, set up and run voluntarily by the team at the club. It started out as somewhere to go to keep warm and save on energy bills at home, but it is so much more than that for the people who come along.
As well as free hot food and drinks, there’s also books and games, and TVs which are normally showing Dad’s Army or Peppa Pig for the children!
But more importantly, it’s a community hub, a place to go for a warm welcome and good company.
Having Nelly Warmers in the village, makes a huge difference for so many, including one regular, who when asked if coming along had made a difference to their wellbeing, simply explained: “Yes, it’s helped having company to combat loneliness.”
Rachel, a WRHA customer, who has lived in Stockton all her life and is one of the bar team at the club, loves being involved in Nelly Warmers. She told us:
“It’s incredibly rewarding to be able to give back to the village. We’ve come together as a team to do something good for the community and to help people through difficult times.
“A real variety of people come along. Some of the older villagers who live alone really benefit from the company of each other and the chance to play a few games. We’ve got toys and books for the children and have set up a toy library so they can take some home. And there’s also a book library.
“We’re very grateful to WRHA for their £500 donation. It was that money that got us started and gave us the confidence to go for it. At the time there was nothing like this in our area, and no grants available either. Since then, we’ve received a Warm Hub grant and other donations, enabling us to cover all costs and provide the refreshments for free. We also get food and drinks donated by the local community; the cakes that people have made have been amazing!”
Off the back of Nelly Warmers, a group of young mothers who met there have set up a breastfeeding café. And the club have seen how important it is for people to have company, so have introduced a 1-2-3 coffee morning deal where, for £3, people get 1. a hot drink, 2. toast, crumpet or a teacake and 3. jam, marmalade or honey.
Although Nelly Warmers finished at the end of March (as hopefully winter is over!), the team are already looking at what they can do to replace it. But they won’t be making any plans without checking with the regulars, and finding out what they want.
As that’s what it’s all about – the people.
You can find out more about the Nelson Club and how they support the Stockton community on their Facebook page