Nestled in the heart of North Tyneside, as temperatures take a dip, over 40 warm spaces are set to open their doors, offering a respite from the winter chill. The North Tyneside Council is extending a gracious invitation to residents, beckoning them into cosy environments scattered throughout the borough.
Beyond mere shelter from the cold, these warm welcome spaces have transformed into vibrant hubs of activity. Boasting complimentary hot drinks, Wi-Fi, and computer access, they have evolved into more than just a refuge. From engaging in rounds of bingo to unleashing creativity in craft sessions, delving into cookery lessons, and fostering toddler camaraderie, these spaces cater to a diverse range of interests.
Since the initiative's inception in 2022, over 43,000 individuals have sought solace in these havens. Complementing the existing network of libraries and customer-first centres, the council has championed 20 voluntary and community sector organisations, unlocking their doors for the benefit of residents.
Far from simply providing warmth, these spaces serve up nourishing meals, both low-cost and hearty soups, alongside an array of social activities. From board games and group walks to film screenings, the offerings cater to varied tastes and preferences.
Designed with the community in mind, there are no eligibility criteria for attendance; the support is universally accessible. The warm welcome sessions, housed within libraries and customer-first centres, remain open to everyone, irrespective of library membership status. Visitors are welcome to linger, making these spaces a home away from home.
Dame Norma Redfearn DBE, the Elected Mayor of North Tyneside, expressed her satisfaction at the relaunch: “As we navigate through another challenging winter, I'm delighted to announce the reinvigoration of our Warm Welcome scheme. These spaces transcend the conventional definition of warmth; they have evolved into places where residents can forge connections, access support, acquire new skills, or simply unwind.”
Going beyond the city limits, eight schools in North Tyneside have secured funding to extend the Warm Welcome initiative to their communities. Enriching the experience further, cooking sessions are on the horizon.
Scheduled to run from November 2023 to April 2024, this latest phase of Warm Welcomes has received a financial boost of £75,000 from the council. A comprehensive list of venues, opening hours, and activities is readily available for those eager to explore the warmth and camaraderie these spaces have to offer.
This announcement forms part of the council's unwavering commitment to address the cost-of-living crisis. Initiatives include bolstering food support, subsidising supermarket vouchers for children on free school meals, and introducing innovative funding schemes to bolster community resilience.
For a detailed overview of the support available to North Tyneside's residents and businesses amidst the cost-of-living crisis, interested parties can refer to the council's comprehensive guide.