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As energy bills soar, and with temperatures falling, one local authority in Leicestershire is teaming up with volunteers to help residents stay safe and warm.

Castle Donington Parish Council and Castle Donington Volunteer Centre have opened a Warm Welcome Hub, to help local people to cope with unprecedented pressures arising from the cost-of-living crisis.

Picture: Council clerk Fiona Palmer and Wayne Tranmer, chairman of Castle Donington Volunteer Centre

It is part of a national Warm Hub network – a series of community venues providing a warm and friendly environment for people to meet over refreshments, find out how to keep warm for less and be signposted to other sources which offer advice.

From April 2022, Ofgem increased its price cap raising gas and electricity bills significantly, and it is expected to add at least another 20 per cent to an average bill.

Council Clerk Fiona Palmer said: “Castle Donington Parish Council, in conjunction with the Volunteer Centre, is committed to helping those who may be in need – delivering on this and putting the local community at the heart of everything they do.

“The government’s position on support is evolving, with some measures already announced and paid; but the reality is that for some families, this support is not enough to cover the price rises of food, fuel and other necessities.

“This means that although people will have extra money to go towards their energy costs it may not make enough of a difference.”

“That’s why the Warm Welcome Hub is being created, to alleviate some of the pressures for our area’s most vulnerable. So, if we can provide whatever we can, in the best way possible, then that’s what we are going to do. It really is a case of ‘can we help you?’”

The Parish Council and Volunteer Centre will join together with local churches and charities to deliver the best solutions they can.  Help will be sought from local people who would be prepared to supervise sessions, and donate old games and craft items that can be used by people using the facility. 

The Warm Hub will open extended hours throughout the week, and in addition to the social groups which operate from the Community Hub, people can take advantage of the Community Café. Young people will have access to warm and safe space after school to chill, have access to the internet and library for homework and play games.

Anyone wishing to help with the initiative, or who has ideas for activities, is urged to contact Castle Donington Parish Council on 01332 810432 or the Volunteer Centre on 01332 85052.