Over 2,000 Warm Spaces Remain Open in England’s Counties as Temperatures Drop

With the return of cold weather this week, councils are reminding people that there are over 2,000 warm spaces across England’s county areas open for people affected by the cost-of-living crisis.

Every single one of the County Councils Network’s 36 member councils have helped set up warm spaces in their areas, either by opening up their own buildings or by supporting local volunteer and charity groups to set up warm banks.

Libraries, leisure centres, community centres, cafes, town halls, and even part of a football stadium have all been turned into warm spaces this winter to help protect those most at risk from soaring energy costs.

In total, there are just over 2,300 warm spaces that have been created across the 36 county areas in England. Many of these double as places where people can get financial advice, health and wellbeing information, access IT software and can do work.

CCN’s councils have set up online directories for all the warm spaces across their county, including directions and methods of public transport available.

With temperatures dropping for the first time in 2023, and some areas seeing snow, county local authorities are warning people that help is on hand – and people are encouraged to find out where their nearest warm bank is by looking at their local council’s website.

Cllr Julian German, Rural Spokesperson for the County Councils Network, said:
“With the first cold spell of 2023 incoming, councils remain concerned that too many people will not be wanting to switch on their heating due to soaring costs, putting their health at risk.

“Our message to those people is that your local council is here for you. We encourage anyone who is concerned about the cost of their heating to pop along to their local warm space where they will get a warm welcome and have access to other universal services, such as health and financial advice, Wi-Fi, and IT software.”

“In setting up these warm spaces, we’ve seen some fantastic community spirit across the country and we are incredibly thankful to all our local community, charity, and volunteer groups in adding to the number of warm banks in county areas.”

County authorities are trying to help residents most impacted by the cost-of-living crisis across a number of different actions:

• Many county local authorities have offered grants to local charity groups and organisations to cover their heating costs so they can use their facilities as warm spaces. Derbyshire County Council trebled its grant scheme to £150,000 because of the number of applications from local organisations totalled almost 120.

• Hertfordshire County Council has sent out a ‘winter health guide’, produced in partnership with its local NHS, half a million homes.

• Herefordshire Council’s seven community debt and financial management centres have supported 550 residents across the county so far this year, helping to relieve £880,000 in debt.

• Devon County Council, in partnership with neighbouring Mid Devon District Council, offered free access to some leisure centres in Mid Devon for unpaid carers throughout the autumn, until the end 2022. The full impact of the pilot, now ended, is currently being assessed, but early analysis suggest positive take up by unpaid carers specifically in group exercise classes, benefiting both physical and mental health and wellbeing.





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