Jane Hutt MS, Minister for Social Justice
On 20th September we announced an initial £1m of funding to support Warm Hubs. Today I am announcing how that funding will be distributed and what it will be used for.
With domestic fuel prices increasing, it is expected many people will struggle to keep their homes at a healthy temperature this winter, particularly those people at home all day, the elderly and the vulnerable. Many organisations including local authorities, community councils, faith groups, sports clubs, community centres are already setting up, or looking to set up, Warm Hubs within local communities. Warm Hubs are intended as places in local communities where people can find a safe, accessible and warm environment during the day to help reduce the cost of heating their own homes and to help those facing extreme fuel poverty this winter.
Early discussions with stakeholders have indicated That Warm Hubs should be an inviting place to spend time. They should be open and inclusive and take into account local and cultural needs.
Warm Hubs might offer:
- Refreshments and snacks (as a minimum) but may extend to a more substantive meal where relevant or possible.
- Advice and support services to those who attend, this can be for example advice and support on financial matters, health and well-being or digital accessibility.
- Activities such as exercise, or arts and cultural activity (subject to location and availability).
Much of the expertise on where Warm Hubs should be placed, and what should be provided within Warm Hubs, rests within local communities. Local authorities working in partnership with the public sector, voluntary sector and community partners will be best placed to gauge and understand local needs, existing provision and to design and deliver local solutions.
Funding for Warm Hubs will therefore be distributed via local authorities in Wales. Funding will be distributed in line with local authority agreed existing formula. As part of the funding local authorities will be required to engage with their local partners, including County Voluntary Councils (CVC’s), in the development of Warm Hubs and in the provision / distribution of funding at a local community level to local community groups wishing to operate / establish a Warm Hub.
It is important that the approach to the delivery of Warm Hubs is joined up and meets local needs. In the same way that it is expected local authorities will work with local stakeholders, it is expected that any organisation wishing to put Warm Hub provision in place will contact their local authority or their local CVC to ensure they are delivering as part of the overall area approach and not duplicating local provision. It may be more appropriate in some places for organisations and volunteers to work with existing Warm Hubs rather than establish additional ones.
For more information on the local arrangements for Warm Hubs and local funding, I would encourage people to contact their local authority to register their interest.