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Grants still available for warm and welcoming spaces

Published: 10 January 2024

We still have grants available for charities, community and voluntary organisations to provide warm and welcoming spaces this winter.

So far we have awarded more than £82,200 to 93 groups to help create spaces to support residents feeling lonely or struggling to heat their homes.

Organisations can still apply for up to £1,000 towards the cost of opening up new community venues or to extend their opening hours as the cold weather hits.

Money can be put towards running costs, including energy bills, or for the cost of providing a drink or a bite to eat for visitors.

In return, organisations need to pledge to provide a warm, safe space with comfortable seating which is free to use.

Councillor Carol Hart, our Cabinet Member for Health and Communities, said:

“It can be a real struggle for people during the winter with dark nights and the cold weather, particularly if they’re on their own.

“I know that costs of things like energy and food are still really high, so I’d encourage anyone who is feeling lonely or struggling to heat their homes to visit a warm and welcoming space near them.

“Last year, county council-funded warm spaces provided a refuge for almost 11,000 people – with around half of those visiting a warm space more than once as they enjoyed the companionship it offered.

“Of course, we couldn’t have done this without Derbyshire’s amazing network of charities, community and voluntary organisations and I’d like to thank them for their work to support Derbyshire residents.

“And I’d like to encourage them to apply for a grant this year so they can offer even more support to people by setting up a warm and welcoming space in their community.”

Last year our grant scheme helped to fund more than 150 spaces supporting Derbyshire residents during the colder months.

Between them, they provided 17,000 hours of warmth and company for almost 11,000 Derbyshire residents.

The £150,000 warm and welcoming space grant fund has come from government money given to all local authorities to support communities during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

One group which has received money is Derbyshire Federation for Mental Health, which was set up to support Derbyshire residents struggling with mental ill health.

As well as one-to-one support in the community or at home, the group runs wellbeing hubs where people can take part in courses, activities and training to help them maintain and manage their health and wellbeing.

It was awarded a £999 grant from us towards the cost of running its two hubs at Matlock and Buxton.

A spokeswoman for the charity Kerry Hall said:

“Our spaces offer free access to facilities including wifi, tea and coffee. All our sessions are run by trained professionals with experience in supporting people to manage a range of mental health conditions.

“We offer a chance to form friendships and a warm and inviting space through the winter months. They also offer a chance to connect with like-minded people and build friendships with their peers in a safe space.”

One person who has used the service said:

“I have a good laugh and get on well with all the group."

Another added:

“I just enjoy coming and seeing the friends I’ve made.”

The wellbeing hubs are held at:

Greenaway Wellbeing Hub, Old School Close, Matlock.

  • Tuesday (arts and crafts) from 10am to 3pm
  • Thursday (furniture upcycling) from 10am to 3pm
  • Friday (theme changes monthly) from 10am to midday

Buxton Wellbeing Hub, 5 Market Street, Buxton.

  • Wednesday (theme changes monthly) from 10am to midday

People visiting warm and welcoming spaces will also be offered information to help them with cost of living support, as well as advice on staying well in winter and looking after their mental health and wellbeing with information about community groups to tackle social isolation.

Find out more about Warm and Welcoming Spaces and how to apply for a grant.

Meanwhile all of our libraries are warm and welcoming spaces and people are welcome to visit during the library’s published opening hours to get warm, read a book or use the free wifi.

Find support and information with the cost of living.