People across the Bradford District will continue to be able to use community hubs after they proved a big hit over the winter.
Late last year, Bradford Council created a network of ‘warm spaces’ to help people who might be struggling with the cost of heating their home as a result of the cost of living crisis.
Almost 180 venues across the district have been operating as warm spaces over the winter. These have included libraries, museums, community centres, schools and places of worship. They have all offered a cosy place to stay warm, have a hot drink and socialise while many have also offered free activities and services such as free wi-fi, computer access and advice and support on various issues.
In the first three months of the scheme, there were more than 9,600 visits from pensioners to a warm space, over 7,500 uses by families with children and more than 8,300 visits from other individuals.
In February alone the warm spaces in council libraries were used by more than 8,000 people, a quarter of those pensioners.
Now, due to the popularity, many of the venues are set to be kept open as ‘welcoming spaces’ using money from the Department for Work and Pension’s Household Support Fund.
Cllr Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Healthy People and Places, said: said: “The warm spaces have been very well used over the winter months. The feedback that we have received from people is not just that they have provided a place to keep warm but that they have also been good for their mental health, helped tackle loneliness and offered other types of support.
“We are fortunate to have so many excellent organisations and community groups across the district who were willing to set up as a warm space for the benefit of people in their community.
“There is clearly a need for these community spaces so we are now looking at how we can best extend them beyond the winter.”
An interactive map https://costoflivingbradford.co.uk/warm-spaces-directory/ showing all the warm spaces, when they are open and the activities on offer, is available on the website costoflivingbradford.co.uk which also includes lots of information and advice to help people cope with the soaring cost of living.