Warm spaces a place to get warm, meet people and join a community

A new initiative designed to provide a warm welcome and help residents beat the cold and soaring bills has officially launched across a city.

Leader of Wolverhampton Council Ian Brookfield shares a drink and a chat with Nina and her mother Kasia at Big Venture Centre
Leader of Wolverhampton Council Ian Brookfield shares a drink and a chat with Nina and her mother Kasia at Big Venture Centre

Wolverhampton Council threw its doors open across the city on Wednesday as it launched its Warm Spaces scheme to help residents beat the cold and soaring bills this winter.

The council opened its own wide range of buildings across the city providing a warm welcome, as well as a Warm Space and somewhere to charge devices, connect to WiFi and get a hot drink.

Leader of Wolverhampton Council, Councillor Ian Brookfield, launched the scheme at the Big Venture Centre in Chesterton Road, one of more than 30 designated Warm Spaces initially across the city.

He said the idea of Warm Spaces had been influence by similar schemes, such as the Places of Welcome and other council schemes, and tailored to suit Wolverhampton and said he was very pleased with the response from the community.

He said: "The most important thing was helping the community and having places wanting to help out, so when we put the call out, we were deluged with people wanting to help out, which makes me very proud as someone who has lived in this city for 36 years.

"What you get with these places is a warm welcome by people you may know and by your neighbours and friends and people who run these places and, as well as using the facilities, you might want to join some of the groups there as well.

“I never thought I’d see the day where we had to do something like this in this country, and I am embarrassed that in a country like ours, I'm sitting here talking about opening centres to help people save money and keep warm.

"However, we are here and these spaces are here, so come down and see them and meet the people here and enjoy a cup of tea."

The Big Venture Centre is part of the WV10 Consortium, which the council supports and helps fund to empower grassroots community groups to work together to deliver services and support to local people, improving quality of life, health and wellbeing.

Maisie and Codie Taylor enjoy some of the activities provided by Big Venture Centre, one of the many new Warm Spaces in Wolverhampton

The centre was providing a week of half-term activities for children, with pumpkin carving among the activities, and also provided a lunch for people attending the centre and a community shop filled with household goods.

WV10 Consortium programme coordinator Kim Payne said it was sad in one sense to see the initiative having to start, but also said it was amazing for the way it could help reach people who are struggling.

She said: "I think it's sad that it's happening, but for us, it's amazing because we can reach those who are struggling and we can look at different ways of working with them and supporting them more.

"We see a lot more people who are struggling with debt and through the funding we get, we have been able to help them more, such as the chef who is cooking for them.

"The warm space is going to be a bit different as people can come in and charge their phones and get warm, but we can also help them with the different services we provide."

Jane Platt and Jack Saunders look at some of the items in the Community Shop at Big Venture Centre

People attending activities at Big Venture Centre spoke of how much they enjoyed what the centre provided.

Kasia, who was there with her daughter Nina, said it was the first time she'd ever been to the centre and said it was a great idea to have a warm space and help more people.

Georgina Taylor, who was there with her grandchildren Codie and Riley and her niece Maisie, said the centre did so much for the community.

She said: "This place is special because they do a lot for the community and children and we don't pay for anything, with lots of activities throughout the year.

"The staff are great and parents and grandparents get to mingle and see our kids enjoy themselves, so I think it's a great place to host this scheme as it's one big family."

Prince Robinson goes to work getting meals ready at Big Venture Centre

Other centres across Wolverhampton offering Warm Spaces include the Bob Jones Community Centre in Blakenhall.

The centre, named in honour of the late councillor and Police and Crime Commissioner, offers a vibrant cafe with hot and cold drinks and a range of food.

Sid Swain said he liked the Bob Jones Community Centre for the warm welcome and friendly people

People attending the centre could also log onto the internet at a number of computers, read books in the library and play games, with Sid Swain one of those enjoying using the centre.

The 84-year-old was enjoying a cup of tea and jacket potato with cheese and a game of dominoes and said the centre was a great place to have some company and perfect for Warm Spaces.

He said: "If I'm sitting at home, I'm just staring at four walls and the telly, whereas when I come here, I've got company with people and a lot of people come over and say hello and it's a lovely place.

"It's got a real community feel to it and I like the idea of the warm spaces as it'll let people see this place and what it has.

"I like coming here and having a good meal and they provide you with a hot drink and I play chess and cards and dominoes and it's just a nice place for people, especially pensioners, to go to."

Warm Spaces Venues

All Saints Community Centre

Address: All Saints Road, All Saints WV2 1EL

WiFi: No

Ashmore Park Community Hub and Library

Address: Griffiths Drive, Ashmore Park WV11 2LH

Opening Times:

Mon-Tues: 9am - 1pm and 2pm - 5pm

Wed: CLOSED

Thurs: 9am - 1pm

Fri: 2pm - 5pm

Sat: 10am - 1pm

WiFi: Yes

Bilston Community Centre

Address: Prouds Lane, Bilston WV14 6PW

WiFi: Yes

Bilston Library

Address: Mount Pleasant WV14 7LU

Opening Times:

Mon: CLOSED

Tues: 10am - 5pm

Wed: 10am - 7pm

Thurs: 10am - 5pm

Fri: 10am - 5pm

Sat: 10am - 3pm

WiFi: Yes

Bob Jones Community Hub and Library

Address: Bromley Street, Blakenhall WV2 3AS

Opening Times:

Mon: 9am - 5.30pm

Tues: 9am - 9.30pm

Wed: 9am - 9.30pm

Thurs: 9am - 9.30pm

Fri: 9am - 5pm

Sat: 9am - 1pm

WiFi: Yes

Bradmore Community Centre

Address: Birches Barn Road, Bradmore WV3 7JB

WiFi: Yes

Central Library

Address: Snow Hill WV1 3AX

Opening Times:

Mon-Thurs: 10am - 7pm

Fri: 10am - 5pm

Sat: 10am - 2pm

WiFi: Yes

Dunstall Community Centre

Address: Dunstall Avenue, WV6 0NH

WiFi: Yes

Eastfield Community Centre

Address: Colliery Road, Eastfield, WV1 2QY

WiFi: Yes

East Park Library

Address: Hurstbourne Cres, WV1 2EE

Opening Times:

Mon: 9am - 1pm

Tues: 9am - 1pm

Wed: CLOSED

Thurs: 2 - 5pm

Fri: CLOSED

Sat: 9am - 1pm

WiFi: Yes

Long Knowle Community Hub and Library

Address: Wood End Road, WV11 1YG

Opening Times:

Mon: 10am - 2pm

Tues: 1pm- 5pm

Wed: CLOSED

Thurs: CLOSED

Fri: 1pm- 5pm

Sat: 10am - 1pm

WiFi: Yes

Low Hill Community Hub

Address: Kempthorne Avenue, WV10 9JJ

WiFi: Yes

Low Hill Library

Address: Showell Circus, WV10 9JJ

Opening Times:

Mon: CLOSED

Tues: 2pm 5pm

Wed: CLOSED

Thurs: 10am - 1pm and 2pm - 5pm

Fri: 2pm- 5pm

Sat: 10am - 1pm

WiFi: Yes

Lunt Community Centre

Address: Lunt Road, Bilston, WV14 7HF

WiFi: Yes

Pendeford Community Hub and Library

Address: Whitburn Close, Pendeford, WV9 5NJ

Opening Times:

Mon: 10am - 1pm

Tues: 10am - 6pm

Wed: 1pm- 5pm

Thurs: 10am - 1pm

Fri: 2pm- 5pm

Sat: 10am - 1pm

WiFi: Yes

Penn Library

Address: Coalway Ave, WV3 7LT

Opening Times:

Mon: CLOSED

Tues: 9am - 1pm 2 - 5pm

Wed: CLOSED

Thurs: 9am - 1pm and 2pm - 6 pm

Fri: 9am - 1pm

Sat: 9am - 1pm and 2pm - 4pm

WiFi: Yes

Spring Vale Library

Address: Bevan Avenue, WV4 6SG

Opening Times:

Mon: CLOSED

Tues: 10am - 1pm

Wed: 2pm - 6pm

Fri: CLOSED

Sat: 10am - 1pm

Sun: 9am - 2pm

WiFi: Yes

Tettenhalll Community Centre

WiFi: Yes

Warstones Library

Address: Pinfold Grove, WV4 4PT

Opening Times:

Mon: 10am - 7pm

Tues: 2pm - 5pm

Wed: 10am - 5pm

Thurs: 1pm - 5pm

Fri: 10am - 5pm

Sat: 9am - 2pm

WiFi: Yes

Wednesfield Community Hub and Library

Address: Well Lane, Wednesfield, WV11 1XT

Opening Times:

Mon: 12 - 7pm

Tues: 10am - 5pm

Wed: 10am - 5pm

Thurs: 10am - 5pm

Fri: 10am - 1pm

Sat: 10am - 2pm

WiFi: Yes

Whitmore Reans Library

Address: Bargate Drive, WV6 0QW

Opening Times:

Mon: 2pm - 5pm

Tues: 10am - 1pm

Wed: 2pm - 5pm

Thurs: CLOSED

Fri: 2pm - 5pm

Sat: 10am - 1pm

WiFi: Yes

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