Hello just a brief note to introduce myself as we look forward to the year ahead. I am Billy and originate from Liverpool, but I have lived in many places, including several parts of Teesside. I am an Anglican priest but no longer in full-time ministry. I am married to Ruth (who also works in the voluntary sector) and we live in Redcar with our two youngest teenage daughters Grace and Connie.

I have held many roles, industrial foods lab-tech, church youth worker, registered general nurse (specialising in head injuries), curate, vicar, RE teacher, broadband installer (climbing poles and things), home-call responder-warden and small businesses operator.

I am very excited to be starting this (for me) new venture and relish the chance to help develop and extend the warm welcome network. I must begin by thanking those who have come before me and prepared the way. Heather who continues as my guide and advisor, Maddie who gave me such a brilliant handover to set the stage, Jenna and Andy who have guided my rudimentary IT skills and many others who work to help provide the opportunities and service in which we all participate.

For those who don’t know them or as a reminder for those who do may I finish by recalling the values of ‘warm welcome’. In warm welcome groups we aim to create an environment that is:

(W) welcoming in the widest sense, warm in the most human way where it is possible to feel at ease and participate, be valued for what you bring and affirmed in who you are; (A) Accessible physically but also spiritually and psychologically; where (R) relationships are recognised and can thrive and new friendships are made possible; in which (M) mutuality is important, all personal stories and gifts are shared and valued and the whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts. Our dearest wish is that all who participate in the network will benefit, thrive, contribute and feel affirmed and valued. Wow what a challenge. Exciting isn’t it? So Looking forward to working with you all. Yours aye. Billy.