News release from 25/10/2022

First Warm Hubs open in South Cambridgeshire

First Warm Hubs open their doors

The first Warm Hubs have opened their doors as part of a new initiative to support communities in South and East Cambridgeshire this winter.

Warm hub accreditation In South Cambridgeshire, the first Warm Hubs have opened at Gamlingay and Caldecote. Hardwick, Cottenham and Comberton will be the next villages to see Warm Hubs open their doors.

East Cambridgeshire Warms Hubs are at Haddenham, Soham and Little Thetford. Hubs at Ely, Burwell and Stetchworth will shortly follow suit.

More hubs will open in November across both districts. Operated from community buildings across East and South Cambridgeshire, Warm Hubs are designed to support vulnerable and isolated people, as well as those on lower incomes; at a time when the cost of living is a significant challenge.

The new initiative has been developed by South and East Cambridgeshire District Councils and funded by NHS Cambridgeshire & Peterborough, part of our local Integrated Care System.

As an affiliated network, the Warm Hubs are coordinated by Cambridgeshire ACRE – the charity dedicated to supporting and strengthening rural communities across Cambridgeshire.

Operating at the heart of local communities, the Warm Hubs concept has been designed to offer warm, friendly and inclusive places with access to light refreshments. Hubs also provide residents with somewhere to socialise, take part in activities and receive information on how to reduce bills, access financial support, and stay healthy and well.

The activities and services available at Warm Hubs are operated by trained volunteers from within the local area who are individuals who understand the needs of the local communities.

Cllr Bill Handley, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Lead Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “We are acutely aware of the challenges residents are facing as a result of the cost-of-living crisis and we want to do everything we can to help.

Councillor Bill Handley"These Warm Hubs will give South Cambridgeshire residents, especially those who are vulnerable or isolated, somewhere warm to visit during the colder months when we’ll all be feeling the strain of higher energy prices. There will also be places where residents can access support and advice to help people reduce their bills, ensure they are claiming all the financial support they are entitled to and getting helpful tips on staying active.

“We would encourage anyone who would find it helpful to access these Hubs and the support and activities they offer. We’re grateful to the funding provided by the NHS Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Integrated Care System which has allowed us to make this happen.”

Julia Huffer, who chairs the Operational Services
Committee at East Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “The rising cost of living is having an impact on everyone, and we understand that many residents may feel they are struggling to cope. We are really fortunate in East Cambs because we have strong partnerships in place which rally round to provide help as it’s needed.

“The Warm Hubs which we are able to provide will offer residents somewhere to go that is safe, that is warm and where they can get advice and support to help them through the cost-of-living crisis.”

Chief Executive of Cambridgeshire ACRE, Kirsten Bennett, said: “As a membership organisation, Cambridgeshire ACRE represents a growing number of community groups across Cambridgeshire and we're delighted that so many of these community groups have stepped forward to open up their local spaces and offer Warm Hub volunteers.

"We're expecting up to 100 volunteers to be part of the Warm Hubs network when it's fully operational; all trained and supported by the Cambridgeshire ACRE team.”

Overall funding has been provided by the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Integrated Care System. the ICS. Kit Connick, Chief Officer of Strategy and Partnerships, said: “Helping people to stay well this winter is a priority for us all this year, which is why we are pleased to support Warm Hubs across East and South Cambridgeshire and beyond.

“Working together, with our council and voluntary sector partners, these hubs will be spaces for people to come together; not just as a warm space this winter, but to provide support and advice on a range of matters, including advice on their health and wellbeing, in a welcoming, friendly community atmosphere.”

Warm Hubs are running from November 2022 to support local residents during the winter and will be open until the end of March 2023.

The initiative forms part of a wider package of measures from South Cambridgeshire and East Cambridgeshire District Councils to help residents with the cost-of-living crisis.

South Cambridgeshire Warm Hubs