Stroud District Council is working with community partners to map more than 40 warm spaces across the district where volunteers are stepping up for their communities in response to rises in the cost of living.
Warm spaces are places where people can gather free-of-charge in a warm, safe, welcoming place if they are struggling to heat their home.
Most of the 41 spaces are run by volunteers from a range of different organisations, including community hubs, village halls, pubs and churches. Libraries – both county council-run and community-led are also places where people can go to be safe and warm.
Most offer hot drinks, free Wi-fi and charging facilities, as well as a warm and friendly welcome. Some host activities such as art and crafts, film nights and pay-as-you-feel community cafes.
A list and interactive map of warm spaces in the Stroud district is at https://cscic.org/community-hubs/warm-spaces-in-stroud/.
Opening days and times vary so please check before you visit. Anyone who wants to add a warm space to the map is welcome to contact email@example.com.
There are also resources for volunteers https://cscic.org/community-hubs/warm-spaces/ including a dedicated website which helps warm spaces raise their own funding. Anyone can donate to warm spaces at https://opencollective.com/stroud-district-community-hubs – this website is run by Creative Sustainability CIC, a Stroud based Community Hub.
Stroud District Council is funding a warm spaces coordination team, which draws on the expertise and insight of local groups and partnerships. This includes GL11 Community Hub for the Cam and Dursley area, Stroud Town Council for Stroud town and the surrounding parishes, Wotton-under-Edge Town Council and All Pulling Together in Stonehouse for the GL10 area – with Creative Sustainability supporting across the district.
It is working together with SDC to create online cost-of-living resources, signposting materials, marketing materials and ensure that warm spaces and their volunteers are supported, and have access to appropriate training, as they face the challenges of this winter together with their local communities.
Many people are struggling with the rise in living costs, and Stroud District Council has declared a Cost of Living Emergency. It has a dedicated webpage to help residents with cost of living support.
Information and sources of support that could help you or someone you know are available at www.stroud.gov.uk/costofliving. It covers money, energy and water, food, family and childcare, mental health support, and warm spaces.
Community Services and Licensing Committee Chair Chris Brine said: “We know this is a very tough time for many of our residents which is why we have declared a Cost of Living Emergency and are funding support for vital extra services such as warm spaces.”
Vice chair Beki Aldam added: “So many people in our communities are keen to do what they can to support those in need and as well as supporting them financially, we thank them for their efforts too.”
Emergency Cost of Living Support
If you are in immediate need of food or fuel and you have no money, Stroud District Council can refer you to the Foodbank. They can provide you with emergency food parcels and a small amount of credit for your household fuel. Contact Stroud District Council on 01453 766321 or firstname.lastname@example.org and ask to be referred.
Gloucestershire County Council also has support for households experiencing financial hardship. Apply to their Household Support Fund online or by calling 01452 425000.
For those who are not online, SDC Neighbourhood Wardens are helping to deliver leaflets with cost of living support telephone numbers to parish and town councils. SDC is printing copies of the GCC support phone number, the Worrying About Money leaflet and a Mental Health signposting leaflet. It will also be sending electronic copies of these to parish and town councils too.