LEICESTER’S libraries are preparing to offer people a Warm Welcome as the cost of living crisis hits this winter.
All 16 of Leicester’s libraries will be acting as ‘warm spaces’ where people are welcome to gather and spend time in the warm without having to put their heating on at home.
The buildings have registered with the national warmwelcome.uk website, which will aim to log all buildings up and down the country where people can go to keep warm during the energy crisis, and will soon launch an interactive map of Warm Welcome spaces.
As well as offering warmth, a comfortable space to relax and a friendly welcome, the venues will be providing practical advice, the chance to learn new money-saving skills, take part in gentle exercise and socialise.
The city council’s Warm Welcome initiative is part of a range of measures the council is taking to help people with the cost of living, including providing grants to community groups to help them support people, and administering the Government’s £3.4million household support fund to ensure help is given to the city’s most vulnerable households.
Assistant city mayor for neighbourhoods and public health, Cllr Vi Dempster, said: “We don’t want anyone to feel cold or alone during this awful cost of living and energy crisis. It’s a situation likely to particularly hit the most vulnerable members of our society, and we are determined to help.
“We will offer a Warm Welcome to everyone in the heart of our neighbourhoods, bringing together specialists from across the council to offer expert advice and help, so that people can not only get warm but also learn new skills and find out more about the support that is available to them.”
As part of its Warm Welcome, Leicester City Council will offer:
- Free workshops on keeping your home warm, sew to save, and how to shop, cook and eat smart, delivered by specialist tutors from the city council’s adult education service
- Free access to computers, wifi and scanning, as well as ‘at cost’ printing. Staff will be on hand to help people get online and provide basic IT support, especially with accessing council services online
- Job-seeking from specialist partners, including DWP work coaches at eight libraries.
- Toddler Time sessions and study support for schoolchildren
- Free Let’s Get Together activities from our public health team, including walking groups and exercise activities, aimed at promoting better health and wellbeing
- Access to BetterOff Leicester, the city council’s free online calculator, so that people can check they are getting all the help they are entitled to
- Let’s Get Growing groups for people who are interested in gardening and growing your own veg
- Activity tables at 10 libraries, with games and puzzles provided to bring local people together.
Cllr Sarah Russell, deputy city mayor for anti-poverty said: “This is an incredibly difficult situation and the Government funding we’re receiving is not going to be enough. That’s why we’re determined to use every resource we have to support people in our communities to stay safe, warm and well this winter.”
Some of the Warm Welcome activities will have limited places and require booking. To find out more about any of them, simply call in to your local library or community centre, or visit www.leicester.gov.uk/together
Get more help and advice on the cost of living at www.leicester.gov.uk/costofliving
Find out more about our libraries at: www.leicester.gov.uk/libraries
Anyone who is facing crisis because of rising fuel and living costs can email the council at email@example.com, setting out their needs and contact details.