County Durham’s network of Warm Spaces
More than 100 Warm Spaces have been created across County Durham.
Durham County Council, which is working alongside the County Durham Community
Foundation (the Foundation), has so far awarded funding to 95 organisations in the voluntary and community sector to create Warm Spaces.
A total of £200,000 has been made available for venues offering safe, trusted spaces that
happen to be warm, with the project aiming to support residents throughout the winter
following an increase in energy costs.
Alongside community groups and organisations, the authority’s 39 library buildings are part
of the scheme, with the council working with a range of organisations on the initiative,
including East Durham Trust, Durham Community Action and local church groups.
Residents can find their nearest Warm Space by visiting Locate, an online directory
allowing residents to connect with local services in their community, at
Cllr Alan Shield, Cabinet member for equality and inclusion, said: “With many residents
feeling increased financial pressure closer to Christmas because of the rising cost of living,
we are committed to doing all we can to ease this burden. That is why we’re working
alongside our partners to support the establishment of Warm Spaces across the county.
“It is heart-warming to see so many community groups and organisations opening their
doors as Warm Spaces and we are pleased to be able to support their efforts. With further
funding still available, we would encourage groups still wishing to become a Warm Space
to apply for a grant. This will help us to support as many residents as possible this winter.”
Warm Spaces across the county which are added to Locate have signed up to a simple
charter, setting out standards for the scheme, and have been asked to display a window
poster highlighting their involvement.
They will be able to signpost those who need it to financial support and energy efficiency
Community groups and organisations which have been offered financial support are also
encouraged to take up an offer of free training from the council on a range of topics,
including basic mental health, food safety and safeguarding.
Those wishing to apply for funding can find an online application form set up by the
Foundation, which is carrying out due diligence checks on all applicants. This is available
St Aidan’s Church, Framwellgate Moor, is one of the many venues to open its doors as a
Warm Space. Residents can visit its parish hall every Thursday, from 10am until 11.30am
for hot drinks and food, as well as somewhere to keep warm.
Rev Caroline Dick, vicar of St Cuthbert’s with St Aidan’s, said: “We are delighted to be
hosting a Warm Space at the parish hall. It gives us an opportunity to put our faith into
action and show the local community that we really do care about the hard times people
are facing. We want the people who come on a Thursday morning to leave feeling warm
on the inside as well as the outside.”
For more information on Warm Spaces, visit www.durham.gov.uk/warmspaces