This winter over 2,000 Woking residents have found warmth at the borough’s 19 warm hubs as the cost of living crisis continues to soar.
Warm hubs are a national concept which are playing an instrumental role in helping those impacted by the rising cost of living, especially during periods of extreme cold weather. Visitors are also using the hubs to connect with others within the local community and find additional support.
Specifically, warm hub visitors can save money on their energy bills by not heating their own home when spending their day at a community facility instead.
In September 2022, Woking Borough Council held a successful cost of living summit that brought together local stakeholders to collectively identify how to strengthen the local offer. This collaborative approach has established 19 warm hubs across the borough including at the Centres for the Community, Woking Library, The Lighthouse and many faith centres.
In Sheerwater, St Michaels Church and Eastwood Leisure Centre have both seen an average of 20 families per week using and taking part in the community activities on offer. The MASCOT Hub is supporting an additional 43 individuals since it has provided extra services as a warm hub, including handing out hot water bottles.
Further success has been experienced at Andy’s Café in Goldsworth Park which has extended its opening times over the festive period and greeted 24 residents during this time. Similarly, The Welcome Church has increased its volunteer capacity and now provides more debt advisors offering support.
Cllr Ellen Nicholson, Woking Borough Council’s Portfolio Holder for Living Well, said: “In these difficult times, it’s really positive that so many vulnerable Woking residents have benefitted from the many warm hubs available.
“Woking is very fortunate to be home to 19 warm hubs and I would like to thank all the volunteers who are doing amazing work to make these centres run smoothly, offering their time and kindness to some of our most vulnerable residents.
“The Council is committed to ensuring all Woking residents can access the support they need this winter. If you or someone you know could benefit from visiting a warm hub, please familiarise yourself with the full list of venues published on the Council’s website at www.woking.gov.uk/warmhubs.”
To further help with the cost of living crisis, the Council has been awarded more money from the Housing Support Fund, which will be distributed by Citizens Advice Woking to help support vulnerable residents by the end of 2023. This will primarily be for households struggling financially, with a focus on those with disabilities.