Councils extend warm winter welcome for vulnerable households

Published: 23 January 2023

Warm spaces, network, council partnership, funding, cost of living, vulnerable households, online directory.
There are more warm spaces available in Newcastle-under-Lyme thanks to a council partnership.

Residents who are struggling to heat their homes this winter due to soaring energy bills have new and improved access to warm spaces across Newcastle-under-Lyme thanks to a council partnership.

A network of community venues providing heated, safe and welcoming places to gather for free during the colder months – where visitors can often enjoy hot food and drink as well as some company – is being enhanced and extended following funding from Staffordshire County Council and additional financial support from Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council.

The Borough Council is administering new grants of up to £500 to a range of voluntary, community and charity organisations who have successfully applied to either open up new warm spaces, or extend the opening hours of existing venues, in each of the county council divisions in the borough.

New locations include Chesterton Community Centre, Halmer End Methodist Church and Kidsgrove Rotary Food Hub.

A full directory of all warm spaces in the borough is available on the Council’s website. The enhanced service provision – available seven days a week – will be in place by the end of January at the latest until the end of March 2023.

Council Leader Simon Tagg said: “The cost of living crisis in the UK is placing unprecedented pressures on people who are already struggling to make ends meet, despite a range of national support measures. Because of significant increases in living costs – for example the average energy bill has rocketed to around £2,500 a year – thousands of residents in Newcastle-under-Lyme are being forced to make tough decisions such as when and what they eat and when they can afford to heat their homes.

“We want to do as much as possible to help residents in these really difficult times. Thanks to funding from the county council, and further financial support from ourselves, we’ve been able to work quickly with local groups and organisations to facilitate access to a much wider network of warm spaces, places where they can come together to keep warm and often enjoy a cup of tea and food such as biscuits, soup or oatcakes.

“As well as searching for warm spaces on the Council’s website, residents can also access help, guidance and signposting services on wider cost of living issues such as health and well-being, community support, food and essentials, childcare support, money and housing.”