By Ian Judson
People in Hornsea who are worried about keeping warm during the winter months have now been offered help with a new warm spaces initiative.
Groups of volunteers and stakeholders have come together in the common good to help vulnerable people who simply cannot afford their rising energy bills, as well as those who are lonely.
A group of people including volunteers and Hornsea town councillor June Greensmith gathered at the Floral Hall to launch the new warm spaces scheme throughout the town during the winter months. Various locations are now open to people who are struggling with the increase in energy prices.
Volunteer Nadia Bridges said: “I’ve got a list of places that are opening for this initiative. We’ve got the Floral Hall on a Monday and Tuesday afternoon, and the Methodist Church are opening their doors from 2-4pm on a Wednesday. The United Reform Church will open from 9.30am to 3pm on a Thursday and St Nicholas in the Parish Hall from 1.30 to 4pm, so there’ll be something every day in these places.
“We’ve got support from various groups because we need people that will come in and give us a helping hand. They can just come along and chat to people, they can be serving teas and coffees, perhaps wash up, and prepare soup and bread rolls. We’re hoping to run it from the end of November, until the end of March next year.”
In keeping with other similar initiatives elsewhere, there is no need for any sort of registration.
Nadia added: “If they’re cold at home, if they want a hot drink or a bowl of soup, they just turn up.
“If they’re lonely, that is very important because one of the bigger aims is, ‘Don’t sit at home and be cold and lonely’ – enjoy the company of other people.”
The centres currently have no plans to open on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, but on Boxing Day the Floral Hall may be open, subject to change based on demand.
Nadia said: “We will have been running for about four or five weeks before Christmas comes, so hopefully we’ll have a feel for what the demand is before then. The Floral Hall belongs to Hornsea – we’re a community building.
“We’ve been supported over the years and now we want to give something back and we will be doing that through community events.”
As part of the warm spaces initiative, other public spaces are looking to turn their premises into community spaces for people to keep warm, and come together to help prevent loneliness.
The Old Schoolhouse building behind St Lawrence Church in Sigglesthorne is hoping to join in with the initiative while providing a much- needed refurbish of the building. The old building is starting to look slightly dilapidated and is in need of urgent work on various features including the fire exit, windows and the kitchen.
Carol Medlock would also like to install some comfier seating for the weekly coffee morning that takes place there and to create a warm space for elderly and vulnerable people in the village.
She said: “The plastic chairs are far too hard, to start with. The windows are rather old and dated and the kitchen has certainly seen better days. We have a ‘make do and mend’ metal plate at the bottom of the fire exit because the mice have gnawed through it previously – it’s a temporary fix for now.”
On the weekend of November 26 and 27, a Sigglesthorne resident lent the church a display of First World War artefacts, giving the church an opportunity to fundraise for the equipment needed. Refreshments were also provided.
The efforts proved valuable to the church as they were able to put the money raised back into the building straight away.
So far, the work done by the warden has included taking up and cutting old carpet in the old building and cutting back wild hedges that had grown outside and blocked off the fire exit. Volunteers have also helped with deep cleaning inside the church and varnishing the pews.
Other initiatives are planned over the coming weeks and months, but with the level of work required, it could take some time.