A friendly welcome awaits at your local Warm Community Space

Islington Council leader Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz introduces the Warm Community Spaces initiative, which is part of the council’s response to the cost of living crisis.

In September, Islington Council declared a cost of living emergency, in response to the rising rate of inflation, falling wages and lack of support from Central Government. We shouldn’t have to do this in the fifth-richest country in the world, but sadly we didn’t have a choice.

As the crisis bites this winter, many people will face the stark choice between whether to pay for heating or eating. But where Central Government is failing, Islington Council is stepping up to help local people through this difficult time.

Alongside financial support for the most vulnerable and advice on everything from debt to cutting down energy bills, we’ve been working with Octopus Community Network to create a network of dozens of Warm Community Spaces. We’re also supporting the scheme with a £50,000 grant fund to help the centres extend their opening hours, provide free activities and cover their energy bills.

These spaces – spread across the borough so there is one in walking or wheeling distance of everyone’s front door – include libraries and community centres, and offer respite and sanctuary in a familiar, welcoming setting. As well as offering a place to be warm, to enjoy some company, an activity and a hot drink, the centres can also direct people to other kinds of support if they need it.

Our community centres are already real focal points for many, home to all sorts of activities from IT training to lunch clubs, baby massage classes to food hubs. Our libraries are also anchors in the community, offering space to study, learn, and enrich lives, as well as all sorts of activities for families, children and young people. Together they represent some of the most welcoming places in the borough – friendly, supportive and open to all.

We’re determined to help reduce the devastating burden and worry caused by the cost of living crisis in any way we can. It’s absolutely heart-breaking, but absolutely right, that we offer these spaces as a sanctuary for all.

To find your nearest Warm Community Space, visit islington.gov.uk/WarmSpaces where every space is listed by post code, and to find details including opening times, facilities, what’s on and how to get there.

When our borough faces hardship, we don’t stand by and watch, we come together to help. And that’s exactly what Islington Council will continue doing, to help those who need us most.

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