Five grants totalling £13,000 have been issued by the council to local voluntary and community and faith organisations, to increase the number of warm spaces over the winter. It brings to £53,000 the total amount that has been distributed, across 25 projects. It follows an earlier grants announcement in December.
Along with Ealing’s libraries and community centres, the additional funding is to support and expand any projects looking to provide safe and warm spaces that residents can attend, helping to minimise their household energy costs.
Ranging from churches to cultural groups, the projects being supported will help cover the organisation’s costs including heating costs, food and drinks, activities and games for residents during the winter months.
Providing a warm welcome
One such warm space is St Mary’s Church Hall in Hanwell, which is open on Tuesdays between 9.30-11.30am and is also expanding thanks to the new funding, providing a similarly warm welcome on Thursdays from 11.45am-1.15pm.
Usually host to yoga and karate, the hall now offers teas, coffees and biscuits, along with newspapers, board games – and a friendly chinwag with neighbours, volunteers and church staff.
St Mary’s Reverend Andrew Dand chuckled: “We had a local café owner come down, and I thought he might complain about us giving away free tea and coffee. But he said ‘no, if anyone desperately needs something to eat, send them to us – and we’ll feed them’.”
Making a difference
Councillor Jasbir Anand, the council’s cabinet member for thriving communities, said: “These services are a great example of communities coming together to support each other during this latest cold snap. Even if it’s just a warm cuppa and neighbourly chat, it can make a real difference to people who might otherwise be alone and fearful of heating bills.”
Details of local warm spaces available can be found in the warm space directory.
Advice on support available to help with finances or keeping warm is on the council’s website.