Libraries across England become designated Warm Spaces
65 libraries across England have been designated Warm Spaces by GLL, the not-for-profit charitable social enterprise that operates them on behalf of local authorities.
The new initiative has been set up in response to this winter’s cost of living crisis and will offer anyone living in the vicinity of a participating library a warm welcome, comfortable seating and the opportunity to use the libraries’ many free facilities. In addition, leading wholesale food service company Brakes, has agreed to donate free tea, coffee and biscuits to all 65 locations.
The Warm Spaces will be accessible to library members and non-members alike. In addition to offering a warm, comfortable and welcoming space to sit, visitors will also be able to access free WiFi, books, magazines and newspapers. They will be also able to use PC terminals and charge their own devices at no cost. Library staff are being trained to offer ‘sign posting’ advice on relevant utility and cost of living grants.
All the participating libraries are also expanding their programmes of free onsite activities, which again will be open to anyone who wishes to visit. These range from reading and crafting groups to board game sessions, yoga and ‘rattle & rhyme’ activities for mothers and babies.
Commenting on the Warm Spaces scheme, Diana Edmonds MBE, GLL’s Director of Libraries said: “We know that this winter many people will struggle to be able heat their homes and we want to help. Libraries are ideally suited to serve as Warm Spaces because they are at the heart of the community. They are welcoming environments, easily accessible, often being in town centre locations and already offer a wide range of free services and facilities.
“In addition to expanding our activity sessions, we have also invested in more comfortable seating and are hugely grateful to Brakes for their generous donation of tea, coffee and biscuits. We will be working in partnership with local authorities, charities and food banks to provide maximum support to those in need this winter.”
Paul Nieduszynski, Chief Commercial Officer for Brakes and Sysco GB said: “We are delighted to be supporting such a fantastic initiative. This winter is going to be tough for so many people but Warm Spaces offers a lifeline to those who are struggling to heat their own homes by giving them somewhere to go for warmth, activities and the company of others. This sort of initiative links perfectly to our wider company purpose of connecting the world to share food and care for one another.”