Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge residents unable to heat their homes during the cost-of-living crisis are to be offered access to community ‘warm rooms’, the Town Council has announced this week.

The council hopes to create a network of public warm rooms across the Burnham-On-Sea area to support vulnerable people this winter following a rise in energy costs this month.

The rooms will be “welcoming and non-judgemental spaces” for people to come together and stay warm, perhaps with a hot drink and a snack.

The council has invited groups and organisations that can offer a space to contact them. The venues will offer advice and information about tackling the cost-of-living crisis.

Suitable spaces include community buildings, sports venues, places of worship, and libraries.

Councillor Ganesh Gudka, pictured, who is Chairman of the Finance and Resources Committee, says: “Although unit prices have been capped, they are still higher than last year, so it is clear that in order to save money this winter, we need to help everyone reduce the amount of energy they use to heat and power their homes.”

“Sharing warmth and friendship in community spaces is an ideal way for us to work together to bring something positive out of this crisis, and I hope we can all contribute to this effort in some way.”

Burnham-On-Sea resident Ganesh Gudka

Somerset Community Foundation is offering grants of £1,000 to voluntary organisations to help them stay open longer and offer warm spaces across the county. Applications must be submitted by October 31st and details are at www.somersetcf.org.uk/warm-somerset-spaces.

The Town Council’s cost-of-living plans also involve it promoting existing events, activities, and clubs that encourage socialisation, enabling groups to offer a warm space without the additional cost of opening buildings beyond their current hours. It aims to create a directory of all the places available to residents across the public, private, health, and voluntary sectors and publicise the information.

Groups or organisations that can offer a space should email info@burnham-highbridge-tc.gov.uk by Friday, October 28th to be involved in its launch. Alternatively, they can complete an online registration form by visiting burnham-highbridge-tc.gov.uk/forms/warm-spaces-directory-registration-form-2022. Organisations that contact the council later will also be added to the directory.

Applications should include the location, times the space is available, related activities attendees would participate in, costs, and if hot refreshments will be available. They should also include details of the organisation, including contact information. Venues will be offered a window card to advertise their support of the initiative.

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