As the national cost of living crisis intensifies, Southampton’s libraries, family hubs and housing with care schemes are extending a warm welcome to residents who are concerned about the cost of heating their homes and need a safe place to go during this challenging time.
Launched this week, the warm welcome is part of Southampton City Council’s response to support local communities and enable people to interact with others and find out about support services.
It follows the council’s participation in the recent Southampton Cost of Living Summit, which brought together partners from across the city – including faith groups, voluntary organisations, health workers and education providers – to commit to action to help the most vulnerable Southampton residents.
People are welcome to call into any of these locations to receive a warm welcome. At council and community libraries, there is a programme of free activities (with free refreshments), plus access to books, newspapers and magazines, computer facilities and wi-fi. The family hubs provide family support, information for parents on childcare, volunteering, training and job opportunities, and ‘learning through play’ opportunities.
Erskine Court and Potters Court, two modern, council-run housing with care schemes in Lordshill and Maybush respectively, are also opening their doors to allow the wider community to enjoy activities and a hot lunch in the on-site restaurants (charge payable for meal and some activities).
Libraries Open to all during usual opening hours For more details, please visit southampton.gov.uk/libraries
Bitterne Library, Bitterne Road East SO18 5EG
Central Library, Civic Centre SO14 7LW
Lordshill Library, Lordshill Centre SO16 8HY
Portswood Library, Portswood Road SO17 2NG
Shirley Library, Shirley Precinct, Shirley High Street SO15 5LL
Woolston Library, Centenary Quay, Victoria Road SO19 9EF
Burgess Road Library, Burgess Road SO16 3HF
Millbrook Community Library Coppice Children’s Centre, Windermere Avenue SO16 9QX
Thornhill Community Library, 328 Hinkler Road SO19 6DF
YMCA Weston Community Library, 68 Weston Lane SO19 9HG
Housing with care schemes Open to all on days and during hours below For more details, please visit southampton.gov.uk/housingwithcare
Erskine Court, Sutherland Road SO16 8FZ. Open Fridays, 11am-3pm, from 18 November 2022
Potters Court, Wimpson Lane SO16 4JA. Open Tuesdays, 11am-3pm, from 15 November 2022
Family hubs Open to families with children aged 5 and under during usual opening hours For more details, please visit southampton.gov.uk/schools-learning
Ashby Centre, Stratton Road, Shirley SO15 5QZ
Pickles Coppice, 65 Windermere Ave SO16 9QX
Sure Start Clovelly, 60-68 Clovelly Road SO14 0AU
Sure Start Townhill Park, Cutbush Lane SO18 2GF
Sure Start Thornhill, Byron Road SO19 6FH
Sure Start Swaythling, Honeysuckle Road SO16 3BZ
Sure Start Weston, Foxcott Close SO19 9JQ
The council has also launched its Cost of Living Information hub, which provides advice on a range of issues, including benefits, government support, bills, housing and living costs. The hub, along with an interactive map showing all the warm welcome locations in the city, can be accessed at southampton.gov.uk/costofliving.
Councillor Satvir Kaur, Leader of Southampton City Council, said: “We know that the national cost of living crisis is having an impact locally, with individuals and families across Southampton struggling to pay to heat their homes this winter. As a council, we are working to make household energy bills cheaper longer-term, with our energy-efficiency programme and by insulating homes. Alongside this, we are launching our city-wide warm welcome initiative, ensuring that our public buildings, such as libraries, family hubs and housing with care schemes offer a warm space and warm welcome to those struggling right now. It’s important that these spaces go beyond just a warm place to visit but are also a place where people can access free activities and refreshments, during what is a challenging time for many.”