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Hampshire organisation opens ‘warm spaces’ amid cost of living crisis

A charity has launched an initiative offering warm spaces to people struggling to heat their homes this winter.

With energy bills set to hike again this winter, Hampshire not-for-profit Community First, is offering its Warm Hubs, which sees libraries and community centres open up for people to come inside for a hot drink or meal.

Community First has helped launch and promote several Warm Hubs across East Hampshire, Fareham, Havant, New Forest and Winchester.

Community First’s newest Warm Hubs, Heart of the Park, at Leigh Park Community Centre in Havant and the Clanfield Centre, are open to anyone who would like a hot meal and drink, to participate in activities, games, clubs and classes, or sit down and read a book. There is also free WiFi access.

People will also be able to benefit from free and impartial energy advice and help to save money on energy bills and take away free energy packs depending on availability.

Heart of the Park has already had over 11,240 visitors this year, and with colder months ahead it is expecting to offer valuable support to even more.

Tim Houghton, CEO at Community First, said: “The cost of living crisis is already affecting millions across the UK, with many reporting they will be unable to switch on the heating in the coming months.

“We believe everyone should have a warm and welcoming space to go to this winter, which is why our network of community organisations, churches, libraries, businesses and other groups across the region have opened their doors to provide exactly that.”

Heart of the Park Warm Hub hours are Monday to Thursday from 9.30am until 2.30pm. The Clanfield Centre is open Monday to Friday from 9am until 5pm, places are limited and must be booked by phone in advance.

Both are listed on the national Warm Spaces website at www.warmwelcome.uk/.

Other services Community First offer and can signpost to which are beneficial to people at this time, include community pantries and foodbanks, help with transport, an employment hub and connecting people with health and wellbeing support including Health Walks – a free walking scheme led by trained volunteers.

Community First is also signposting people to other cost of living support schemes in Hampshire, and information on how to set up a warm space in your community.

For more information see https://www.cfirst.org.uk/cost-of-living-support/

Community First is a not-for-profit organisation, with a growing number of members, working alongside local authorities in Hampshire to deliver and support services in the community.


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