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County Durham's network of Warm Spaces

Published December 08, 2022 9.22am

More than 100 Warm Spaces have been created across County Durham.

Working alongside the County Durham Community Foundation (the Foundation), we have so far awarded funding to 95 organisations in the voluntary and community sector to create Warm Spaces.

Supporting residents through the winter

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, our 39 library buildings are part of the scheme. We are 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 Durham Locate.

Groups encouraged to apply for a grant

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 advice.

Free training available 

Warm Space - St Aidan's Church

Volunteers at St Aidan's Church prepare free bacon sandwiches for people attending the Warm Space.

Community groups and organisations which have been offered financial support are also encouraged to take up an offer of free training from ourselves 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 at County Durham Community Foundation: Warm Spaces fund.

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 Warm Spaces.