Wiltshire Council libraries will officially become warm spaces for people this winter, providing a warm and friendly welcome to support anyone who needs help through the cost-of-living crisis.
Of course, Wiltshire libraries are open to the public throughout the year, but now anyone is welcome to drop-in to any library in the county during the usual opening hours to have a sit down, a hot drink where possible, pick up some useful information, take part in activities and enjoy a friendly chat with staff should they need it.
Working with Warm and Safe Wiltshire and The Rural Communities Energy Support Network, the council's friendly library staff will be able to assist residents seeking basic energy advice and make referrals to experienced energy advisors in all but its smallest libraries. All libraries will be able to signpost people to community partners and agencies that can support people through the rising cost of living. Libraries will also be collection points for Warm Packs, which includes a hot water bottle and blanket, for anyone who would benefit from some free essentials. These will be available for collection soon.
All the other usual library facilities will be available too, including free access to books, newspapers, computer facilities, digital support, and tables for anyone who needs to do some quiet work. Libraries are also continuing to provide a home library service for people who are housebound or who struggle to get to the library. If anyone is interested in this service, they should contact their local library.
There is no criteria for anyone who might need to use the library as a warm space, and staff will be friendly and welcoming so that people feel as comfortable as possible.
Cllr Richard Clewer, Leader of Wiltshire Council, said:
"Everyone is affected by the cost-of-living crisis and, although we wish it wasn't the case, there will be many people who will be experiencing the same worries during this time. Our libraries are always welcoming spaces for people to visit and use, but our warm spaces will have some additional resources to help people through this time and hopefully ease the pressure.
"Our friendly staff are ready to welcome anyone through the doors who may be struggling, or want tips to help with the rising cost of living.
"As well as council warm spaces, there are many other warm spaces throughout the county that local communities have got up and running themselves. We thank everyone once again for pulling together and looking out for one another."
The council has a range of support and advice on its dedicated cost of living webpages. It contains information on council tax and benefits, energy advice, housing information, mental health support, local practical help, and support available for businesses. The council's recently launched interactive community directory can also be found there, which contains details of other warm spaces in the county as well as community food providers. It can all be found at cost-of-living support webpages.
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