Organisations and groups wanting to run warm spaces in Wokingham Borough this winter are being asked to come forward.
The Hardship Alliance is coordinating this response to ensure anyone struggling to heat their homes can get the support they need, somewhere to close to where they live.
Warm spaces will be a place to go where residents can be warm when the heating is off at home.
They will be places for people to come together to meet others, feel connected and supported, as well as doing activities.
Our warm spaces will offer a range of support which could be hot drinks, food, a place to charge devices, space to work, play areas for children, clothes washing/drying, or other activities which can be done in a group.
All the warm spaces which open will be able to access support from a central hub, which will supply warm clothes, coats, blankets and other items to reduce cost of energy at home like energy efficient light bulbs, subject to assessment by warm space teams.
The Hardship Alliance is made up of the council alongside its voluntary and community sector partners - Age UK Berkshire, Citizens Advice Wokingham, First Days Children's Charity, Wokingham Foodbank and Wokingham United Charities.
It is leading the borough’s response to the cost of living crisis.
Spaces will be asked to open for extended periods on multiple days each week likely until March or April next year.
Support for the months ahead
Emma Cantrell, chief executive officer of First Days Children’s Charity and member of the Hardship Alliance, said: “Wokingham Borough’s voluntary, community and faith sectors provide incredible help and support across the area.
“We want to support these groups to provide everything our community needs in the months ahead. Residents will want to use spaces near them and run by groups they know – so whatever part of the borough you are in, please do come forward.
“These spaces will be somewhere anyone can go, be treated fairly, get help if they need it and ensure those who need us most get the support they need.”
Council libraries will be warm spaces
All of the council’s libraries will be earmarked as warm spaces during current opening hours throughout the winter.
Residents will be able to access support at these community locations which are already well-used and familiar.
Cllr Rachel Bishop-Firth, executive member for equalities, inclusion and fighting poverty, said: “Local support by people who know our local communities best is the way forward.
“If you’re already making plans to offer a warm space in your area let us know so we can provide further support for you and people who come to visit in the months ahead. You’ll get the training and support you need as well as access to items which will help residents if they need them.”
Warm space charter and volunteering
Partners will be expected to agree to the Hardship Alliance’s Warm Spaces Charter to ensure appropriate support and help is provided.
People or organisations wanting to run a warm space should provide details as set out on the run a warm space pages.
Anyone wanting to volunteer at a warm space or help our cost of living response in another way can contact the Wokingham Volunteer Centre to help you find a role.
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