For the past three years Northern Gas Networks has funded a programme called Warm Hubs – a pioneering scheme which is managed and delivered by long term partners Community Action Northumberland (CAN).
Warm Hubs are friendly warm spaces within the local community where village halls and other locations are supported to become more energy efficient, local volunteers receive free training in energy and carbon monoxide awareness and residents can socialise, get warm, have refreshments and obtain energy efficiency advice. Since launching, there are now 26 financially self-sufficient Warm Hubs across the North of England, with over 8,000 local residents using the facilities during the colder months.
Through support and advice around switching tariffs, warm home discounts, and provision of energy efficiency measures such as LED light bulbs and radiator panels, attendees have saved approximately £189 on their annual energy bill.
In order to continue this great work, CAN, in partnership with NGN, held a workshop in Gosforth this month, With attendees from all across the UK, including Surrey and Cumbria, sharing how the programme has provided vital support to residents with like-minded organisations who are interested in providing this service within their own communities.
The event proved to be truly insightful with Nick Bragger from Surrey Community Action, commenting: “Warm Hubs is a fantastic initiative that we are looking to replicate in our local community to strengthen the service that we already provide”.
“We attended the event to find out more about the project including routes to funding, practical advice for how to run Warm Hubs and recruit and train volunteers. It has been really useful to be in a room with other people running Warm Hubs and to be able to share ideas face-to-face.”
Attendees Norman and Christine Hook from The Stocksfield Community Association also said: “The workshop was excellent and for us it was very satisfying to see the positive response from other counties. We have offered to assist the promotion of Warm Hubs in Cumbria by welcoming visitors to Stocksfield.”
If you’d like to know more about the Warm Hubs project, please visit: http://www.ca-north.org.uk/supporting-individuals/warm-hub-project