WHAT’S ALREADY PLANNED?
Assess your organisation’s existing plans for this winter.
What is already likely to be offered in terms of activities/events?
Who is likely to come?
Is there a way that these activities could form part of a ‘Warm Welcome’ offer?
Find out if other organisations or buildings in your area are planning to, or have already opened as a warm space. If so, is your warm space needed as well? If it is, then can you work together by co-ordinating opening times, sharing information and volunteers?
Contact your nearest local voluntary and community support organisation through NAVCA – the National Association of Voluntary and Community Action (navca.org.uk/) If you are in a rural area contact ACRE (acre.org.uk). These organisations are likely to be co-ordinating warm spaces in the area and may be able to put you in touch with potential partners and sources of grant aid.
Assess the options for where your Warm Welcome Space could be.
Does your organisation have a building? If so, is this the right place for a warm space – size, availability of other facilities in the building, presence of comfy seating and cost should all be thought about?
Can you afford to heat a warm space even with additional donations or grants?
Is it easily identifiable and accessible to the people you want to reach?
Do people from different backgrounds feel comfortable in the space? Is your organisation able to cover the costs of heating the space this winter or will you need support?
Is your building accessible to those with disabilities, and does it have the necessary insurance, fire safety policies etc. If your building isn’t suitable, is there another nearby that you could approach about working in partnership?
How many people will you need to help run your Warm Welcome Space? Have you already got them on board or will you need to recruit volunteers?
If so, can you find them within your organisation or will you need to look beyond? Who will be best placed to lead the team – you or someone else?
Contact your local NAVCA or ACRE member to get advice and help on recruiting, working with and supporting volunteers
Will you need to run any training/induction before you get started?
What about safeguarding checks?
[See the 'working with volunteers resources' for more information on this]
Plan your Warm Welcome activities.
Who might you be expecting to come into your Warm Welcome Space?
What kind of activities might people like to do? You couldtry asking a few people in the local area what might be attractive.
How can you make your space attractive for people who don’t want to take part in activities but just want a place to be? Also think about what kind of atmosphere and culture you want in your Warm Welcome Space.
Do you want it to be lively and joyful, or calm and mellow?
How can you arrange the space to help create your desired atmosphere?
How can you create opportunities for people to participate and get involved in the running of the Space, particularly those who would also benefit from being in the warm space?
PREPARING TO SUPPORT PEOPLE IN NEED
Think about how you will support people that come into your Warm Welcome Space and need additional help. What might be needed? An ordinary conversation, a listening ear, or more structured support?
Ask yourself who might not want to come to the warm space and why?
Find out what other community groups and activities take place in your local area: children’s play groups, parent and toddlers, knit and natter groups, men’s sheds, coffee morning or lunch groups, sports clubs for all ages, walking groups – advertise their activities and events through flyers or a notice board.
Can you get some flyers/leaflets about local sources of advice and help that you can then make available? You might also want to talk to your local Citizens Advice for the best way of providing further support. Your local NAVCA or ACRE member may be able to help you make these connections too. Someone can also get advice from Citizens Advice via the national helpline or website. In our 'resources for guests' folder you can also access national resources that might be useful to people who use the space.
Does your organisation have a clear safeguarding policy and does your team understand it?
Do you need to run any training before you get going?
COMMUNICATING YOUR PLANS
How will people hear about your Warm Welcome space?
Where can you post information about it (e.g. your organisation’s website, facebook, social media etc)?
Are there local organisations who could get the word out? Could you work together to operate the warm space?
Do you need to create flyers, posters, other signage (see our 'branding' resource folder to access templates for these)? Notice boards, posters near bus stops and even leaflets will all help reach those who are not online or who would not think to look for a warm space.
Make sure your local parish or town council know what you are doing and also contact your local district, borough or county Councillor to make them aware of your plans. Ask how they could help connect you and help with funding?