Leeds council winter warm spaces website will be up and running 'shortly', despite 'early October' claims

A new website and interactive map showing “warm spaces” across Leeds, where people struggling with their heating bills can spend time during the day, is set to go online “shortly”, Leeds City Council has insisted.
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Senior councillors will meet next week to discuss public locations, such as community hubs and libraries as warm sites, where people can be warm through the winter and reduce their home energy costs – 36 such sites are planned to be “open soon” and their locations announced.

But, despite documents from council officers claiming such services should be up and running by “early October”, no official date for the site has yet been announced.

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When asked when the website would be up and running, a Leeds City Council spokesperson said: “Community Hubs and Libraries across Leeds are open and are available for use as warm places.

Pudsey Parish Church is opening as a warm space during the winter for families struggling to pay their bills. (Picture: Tony Johnson)Pudsey Parish Church is opening as a warm space during the winter for families struggling to pay their bills. (Picture: Tony Johnson)
Pudsey Parish Church is opening as a warm space during the winter for families struggling to pay their bills. (Picture: Tony Johnson)

"A map, showing warm places across the city, will go live shortly. In the first instance this will show the council’s provision, with 3rd Sector and faith sector organisations adding theirs as they are established.”

A report, set to go before Leeds City Council’s executive board on October 19, stated: “Work is currently ongoing within the city, through the council and with third sector colleagues to develop and advertise a city-wide network of Warm Places for customers/residents to access over the colder winter months.

"This network will help the most vulnerable groups who may not be able to afford to heat their homes adequately or at all. LCC Community Hub and Libraries will, along with statutory and 3rd sector partners, be part of the ‘warm places’ network; providing welcoming spaces, hot drinks, activities and access to wider support.

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"LCC Community Hub and Library Warm spaces will be available from early October, with 3rd sector spaces to follow shortly after.”

These venues would offer free hot refreshments and activities for children and families in addition to the existing services of free access to books, computers and wi-fi.

Further support and free financial guidance is also available in all council-managed community hubs on housing, council tax and benefits.

Leeds City Council executive member for communities Councillor Mary Harland said: “We know people across Leeds are really struggling due to the cost of living crisis, and the council is committed to doing everything it can to work together with our partners and stakeholders to help. Especially during the cold winter months ahead, we would encourage people to make use of the warm places around the city to help keep their home costs down and to make use of all free support and guidance available. By working together and looking out for each other we can help especially the most vulnerable people in Leeds to get through this challenging time.”

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The support available in Leeds can also be seen online at the council’s dedicated webpage. This includes help across key areas such as food services, health, housing, water and jobs. Low-cost or free events and activities especially those for children and families can be seen via Leeds Inspired.