Community Boost from Warm Spaces
A Warm Space in South Tyneside is providing more than just warmth and companionship this Winter.
Volunteers and people using the Warm Space at Grange Road Baptist Church in Jarrow have also raised funds for a local food bank.
The money was raised by selling crafts such as decorated lit bottles, beaded jewellery and wind chimes they made while at the Warm Space.
The £500 raised was then donated to the Key2Life food bank on Boldon Lane which works in partnership with South Tyneside Churches Together.
Patricia Blanchard from the church said: "We started the crafts because we were aware that some of the people who were coming to Warm Spaces had expressed that they were feeling anxious and worried about the rising fuel and food prices as well as about other more personal issues. Getting involved in something like crafts is known to have a positive impact on mental health and some of the feedback we had when we first started from people was that it helped give their minds a break from their worries as well as being fun and a great way of trying something new."
More than 60 Warm Spaces have been set up across South Tyneside in places such as churches, community centres and children's centres where people can keep warm and enjoy free activities. In December more than 400 people across the Borough accessed a Warm Space.
Councillor Ruth Berkley, Lead Member for the Voluntary Sector, Partnerships and Equalities, said: "It was interesting to see the diverse range of people at this Warm Space. Both young and old, men and women as well as families with small children were all enjoying the activities and companionship."
She added: "Warm Spaces are playing a hugely valuable role in helping people keep warm and beat the cost of living crisis.
"However, we also know that they are playing an equally important role in helping to combat loneliness and social isolation. Now it is clear that those attending and the volunteers who support them are providing a much-needed community boost as well.
"I'd like to thank all those who took part in the activities at Grange Road Baptist Church for their community spirit. Their work not only took their minds off their worries for a while, but it also helped others in the community."
Warm Spaces at the Grange Road Baptist Church are on Sundays and Mondays between 1pm and 3pm and Fridays between 10am and 12pm. A hot drink and something to eat is provided. All are welcome. Staff from the Council's Welfare Support Team and Groundwork's energy efficiency experts will be at the church on Friday, 17 February between 10am and 12pm to offer advice.
A dedicated web page with details of all the Warm Spaces in South Tyneside and the help available during the cost of living crisis can be found at www.southtyneside.gov.uk/costofliving