Welcoming love into the house is, as they say, what makes it a home.
For some, it’s through good food, that promised cup of tea or a night spent with good friends and family over a decent bottle of wine.
But social enterprise Love Welcomes, which helps women trapped in Greek refugee camps get back into work, is bringing a whole new meaning to the idea.
And supporters are embracing it in ways never expected.
You may have already heard about this organisation’s project, which is sharing the love around the world with welcome mats.
These stunning mats, stitched and weaved by hand, represent the chance to support women who have lost everything through war and depravation, forced to flee their homes in the hope of a better life.
Each mat bought and placed at the door of someone’s home is a symbol of solidarity – a support network which sees more and more women taught life-changing skills and paid a fair wage for every item sold, in a bid to help them build a better life.
Today, it means more than 70 women have been employed since the beginning of the project, with 23 former Love Welcomes weavers permanently relocated across Europe with employable skills.
But people aren’t just placing these mats at the door to their homes anymore and are instead incorporating them into their lives in numerous ways.
Take, for example, Reverend Nick Baker.
Nick, who is based in Scotland, was so absolutely inspired by their message of love and hope, that he decided he wanted to use one as a key symbol in another celebration of love – marriage.
It was soon after purchasing his own mat, when he was planning to perform a wedding, that he was hit with an idea to use it in the ceremony itself.
After explaining his thoughts, he said: “It struck a connection with the couple who have travelled a long way and are beginning to build a new life as well.
“Reflecting on the nature of love, and love is very much about welcoming one another, it seemed like an absolutely splendid connection to make – and to say that this is the foundation of your marriage.”
During the ceremony, the couple stood on the mat and, afterwards, were given it as a gift to take home, with Nick describing it as “as a little piece of holy ground that they could stand upon as they said their vows.”
He added: “Out of all this sadness, the destruction and the sorrow, to produce something so beautiful is really amazing.
“It’s just such a special piece of work and I just wanted everybody to share that.”
But Nick isn’t the only one using the mats in other ways (in his case for weddings or special ceremonies).
So, we’ve compiled a list of five other ways supporters are using theirs to help you decide how to make the most of yours:
This one seems quite self-explanatory, but we had to include it – the original idea and inspiration, the welcome mat. Set at the front door, it symbolises welcoming love into the home.
One of the most popular ways to make the most of these beautiful pieces is by using them as wall hangings – not only an interesting conversation starter, but a great way to add some stunning colour to your home.
We know that prayer mats are a very important part of many religions, and this mat is the perfect symbol of love and unity. It’s also incredibly portable for ease of travel.
Your mat doesn’t have to sit at the front door (after all, we rarely stare at the hall once we’re inside). Instead, use it as a beautiful statement piece in the heart of your home.
Make this mat the centrepiece of your dining table, a unique feature for any dinner party that can be admired and enjoyed while laughing with friends over great food.
If you’re using your mat another way, don’t forget to tag us on Instagram and use the hashtag ‘lovewelcomes’!