The Warm Welcome Campaign, set up last winter to respond to the worst cost-of-living crisis in 70 years, is urging communities to open more Warm Spaces across the UK to support everyone struggling to pay for food and keep themselves warm this winter. Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown is backing the Warm Welcome Campaign, calling for a “chain of hope.”
Stark findings from the Trussell Trust, published this September, revealed that half of those on Universal Credit ran out of food in the last month and couldn’t afford to buy more. For millions of people the cost-of-living crisis has now become a ‘new normal’. Food prices are still rising and when temperatures start to drop the prospect of paying for energy bills makes staying financially afloat seem like an impossible challenge. The UK faces a tough winter ahead.
That’s why more Warm Spaces are urgently needed in community centres, libraries, art centres, local businesses, schools, places of worship, and anywhere that has room to host a Warm Space. The campaign has a bold ambition to grow the network of Warm Welcome Spaces in every part of the UK, so everyone can access a space to keep warm, connect with others, make new friends, and feel part of their local community. Warm Spaces can register their space now: at warmwelcome.uk.
Last winter 7000 Warm Spaces emerged to create the Warm Welcome Campaign, and between them they received almost 2.5 million visits, providing much-needed warmth and welcome. As well as supporting people financially and enabling them to turn the heating off at home, the warm spaces had a positive impact on loneliness and isolation.
At an event to launch Warm Welcome’s Winter Campaign, Gordon Brown shared a personal message of support, reflecting on Warm Welcome’s impact last year, offering warmth and welcome and a hand of friendship, not just to those who felt cold, but to those who felt lonely or isolated.
Gordon Brown said:
“Warm Welcome is one of Britain's newest and most innovative charity initiatives responding to need across the country. We want [Warm Welcome Spaces] to step up this winter, providing more spaces, helping more people, offering more sustained support, in more areas of the country. Warm Welcome wants to create a chain of hope that links our country together.”
“In every area of the country there are people who can help, and in every area there are also people who need help. I’m asking you to support Warm Welcome in any way you can, so we can bring people together as we face a tough winter ahead.”
The Warm Welcome Campaign has launched a new online platform to support everyone who wants to open a Warm Space in their community, and offers spaces access to support, resources, funding opportunities and help to get their space ready for winter. Warm Spaces will be promoted by a new Warm Welcome Campaign online map, so people can find their nearest Warm Space in every part of the UK. Any community space can register with the Warm Welcome Campaign as long as they offer people a space that is warm, welcoming, free and safe.
Warm Welcome Campaign Director, David Barclay says:
“This winter will once again see millions of people having to choose between heating and eating, and having the lifeline of a warm and welcoming space in their community will make all the difference. But Warm Welcome Spaces are not just a sticking plaster on poverty, but places of dignity and connection. You don’t go there as a ‘service user’, you go there as a guest and as people get involved and get to know each other they forge lasting friendships and often end up becoming volunteers and hosts themselves. People help each other in Warm Welcome Spaces, and that sense of agency is crucial. “
“As winter starts to bite, and the cost-of-living crisis deepens, we urgently need more Warm Spaces to come forward and join us, so we can make sure that no one has to face poverty or isolation alone this winter.”
The Warm Welcome Campaign exists to turn poverty and isolation into warmth and local connection and has a bold ambition to resource, champion and connect WarmWelcome Spaces in every community across the UK. The campaign is led by a coalition of over 50 charitable organisations and is delivered by the Good Faith Partnership in collaboration with Warm Welcome Spaces.
The Warm Welcome Campaign launched for this winter on 4th October, with the online map set to go live when the clocks go back on 29th October. To find out more about the campaign or to register your local WarmSpace, go to warmwelcome.uk.