Warm Hubs and Mobile Warm Hub

The Warm Hubs Community Project

The Warm Hubs project in Warwickshire and Solihull helps residents and communities to reconnect after Covid-19, and provides people with free energy advice and practical tips on keeping safe and warm at home. We also provide free energy information packs and carbon monoxide alarms.

Warm Hub logo

WRCC also collaborates with other organisations to help support those affected by the rising costs of fuel as well as food and other related concerns. Residents living in remote villages and semi-rural areas can be particularly vulnerable to these problems due to lack of access to social events and amenities, and little or no public transport.

Some residents living on their own can go for days without speaking to anyone else. Other people live in one room as they can’t afford to heat the whole home, and don’t prioritise their safety at home. Yet others have to rely on a limited bus service to go shopping or do the school run, or try to find accessible local work. Even for those who can manage, being able to meet and chat with others in a warm, safe and friendly place makes such a difference to wellbeing!

Two women drinking coffee at a table in front of other people sitting in a village hall

Bidford Warm Hub weekly coffee event at The Crawford Memorial Hall

Our Warm Hubs Network

It can sometimes be difficult to know where to get advice with problems, which can make everyday life more challenging. Feeling lonely can also lead to depression, anxiety and mental and physical health problems. So we’re working with local community groups, organisations and our sponsor Cadent, to create a network of helpful, welcoming Warm Hubs for people in Warwickshire and Solihull. Find out about our existing Warm Hubs below.

As part of this project, WRCC also runs a Mobile Warm Hub service, using a converted Back&4th community transport minibus. This travels to rural and semi-rural communities on a daily basis, running free community cafes. Find out more about this mobile service below.

Group of people standing in front of green and white minibus with "Mobile Warm Hub" branding

The Mobile Warm Hub at Catherine De Barnes Village Hall

The Warm Hubs community initiative is sponsored by Cadent Gas, the UK’s largest gas distribution network, as part of their commitment to supporting vulnerable communities. Some of the other organisations WRCC collaborates with include:

Act on Energy, Healthwatch Warwickshire, MIND, Fire and Rescue Services, Warwickshire CAVA, VASA, The Big Local, Warwickshire District Foodbank, Mobile Library Service and Compassionate Kenilworth. We’re currently working with WCC, Solihull MBC and Stratford-on-Avon DC to discuss initiatives regarding fuel affordability and energy efficient practices.

What Are Warm Hubs?

Young girl with a black apron standing in front of tables and chairs with people eating and drinking in a hall

Shotteswell Warm Hub breakfast at the Village Hall

Warm Hubs are warm, safe places where local residents are welcome to come along to enjoy a  regular inclusive community-run event. Where they can talk to other people over a hot drink or a hot meal, and also get practical tips and advice on saving energy costs and keeping safe and warm at home. And where they can also find out how to access more specialist advice and support for their particular problems.

Warm Hubs are accredited by WRCC to become part of our developing network, which aims to link members together to share ways to help communities at this increasingly difficult time. Each Warm Hub is run by its own local group and WRCC will attend regular events to provide advice on energy related issues.

We can also invite other community organisations to provide helpful advice and support to residents on other matters affecting their wellbeing. Events are informal and aimed at meeting each community’s specific needs. And of course providing a friendly Warm Hub welcome!

A group of people wearing facemasks standing round a table with a slow cooker, food and utensils, in a room

Warm Hub slow cooking pilot course at The Kenilworth Centre

A Warm Hub event could include a weekly coffee morning or a monthly breakfast club, a repair cafe session or a meetup for carers, a wellbeing session or a slow cooking course working to a budget. We’re flexible enough to help support what’s best for the local community.

Village halls and community centres can get advice and support on energy efficiency and volunteer training. They may also be able to access funding for Warm Hub related facilities to benefit their community, eg necessary kitchen equipment, insulation and heating.

In addition to advice, WRCC provides free handouts and Cadent approved carbon monoxide alarms, and we’re currently looking at what other practical support may be available over the winter months.

Shotteswell Warm Hub

Warwickshire’s first Warm Hub was launched at Shotteswell Village Hall in December 2020, as a monthly Sunday Breakfast Club operating on a takeaway and home delivery basis due to Covid restrictions. But celebrations (with appropriate measures in place!) were allowed at Shotteswell’s anniversary event in December 2021. This well supported inclusive village breakfast event also welcomed Father Christmas and his Mobile Grotto, and local MP Jeremy Wright.

Images of people dressed festively for Christmas with a Christmas tree, image of a Santa's Grotto minibus with bunting, and Father Christmas with people wearing Santa hats standing around a poster with the wording "Warm Hub: Shotteswell Village Hall"

Shotteswell Warm Hub’s first anniversary celebration

Ben Zammett, Chair of Shotteswell Village Hall Committee, was responsible for cooking and serving 120+ breakfasts to order, supported by his team of volunteers!  He said: “It’s been a challenging  year for everyone but our monthly Sunday Breakfast Club is going strong.  We’re proud of what we’ve achieved so far and plan to support our village in other ways by working closely with our Warm Hub partners next year.”

Shotteswell Warm Hub runs monthly on the third Sunday of each month (except in July-August) from 9.00am-11.30am at Shotteswell Village Hall OX17 1JF.

In between launching Shotteswell’s Warm Hub and Bidford’s Warm Hub in September 2021, while village halls and centres were shut due to Covid, WRCC started our Mobile Warm Hub minibus service, initially with VASA. This was to ensure we could still reach out to communities at a time when events were unable to run indoors.

Bidford Warm Hub

A group of people standing in a half circle holding a Warm Hub certificate, with more people seated at tables in the background in a hall with banners and colourful bunting

Bidford Warm Hub launch event.  Photo: Charlie Budd

WRCC launched our next Warm Hub at The Crawford Memorial Hall in Bidford in September 2021. This followed directly on from the previous weekly coffee and chat social mornings run by our Mobile Warm Hub during lockdown.

Bidford Parish Council didn’t want to disappoint local residents who’d really enjoyed meeting up every Wednesday and decided to run the event on a long-term basis in the hall. Numbers for the free weekly coffee morning now average 40-50 and the most so far has been 84!

The launch was also supported by Wales & West Utilities in collaboration with Cadent, as Bidford lies on the border between the two networks – a great example of how this project promotes organisations coming together to help communities.

Large group of people meeting in a village hall

Bidford Warm Hub energy themed event.  Photo: Peter Batacanin

Parish Council Chair Bill Fleming said: “The minibus visits kept Bidford people in touch with each other. Especially those who wouldn’t otherwise have had anywhere to go, and no one to chat to face to face.  It’s made such a difference to the local community and the Parish Council is delighted to be carrying on the great work that the Mobile Warm Hub started”.

Bidford Warm Hub runs every Wednesday morning from 10.00am-12.00noon at The Crawford Memorial Hall, Bidford B50 4EZ.

Kenilworth Warm Hub Slow Cooking Pilot

WRCC partnered with The Kenilworth Centre and Compassionate Kenilworth (formerly the Covid-19 Kenilworth Support Group) in November/December 2021 to run an inclusive pilot slow cooking course for local residents.

A woman and a man with a slow cooker and other kitchen implements and food, bent over a table cooking, in a hall with a small Christmas tree and cards in the background

Slow cooking demonstration at The Kenilworth Centre

This included providing free slow cookers and a pack of energy saving information plus carbon dioxide monitor. People also welcomed the chance to meet others in a welcoming, safe environment and the overwhelming response was “More please!”

The feedback was so positive that we are now looking to develop more of these courses here and elsewhere in Warwickshire and Solihull – watch this space!

Meriden Warm Hub

WRCC launched our next Warm Hub at The Pavilion, Meriden Sports Park, in February 2022.  As with Bidford, this event resulted directly from the Mobile Warm Hub’s previous weekly visits (October to December 2021) and Meriden Parish Council were keen to continue the Tuesday event as it was meeting a need for local residents in the community.

Images of people at tables eating and drinking and three people holding a Warm Hub certificate

Meriden Warm Hub launch event

The free weekly coffee morning attracts 12-15 (or more) local regulars. Parish Council Chair Rosie Weaver BEM said: “This is such an important initiative for the residents of Meriden parish, especially with all our fuel bills rising and the end of Covid restrictions.  We all need to support each other!”

Meriden Warm Hub runs every Tuesday morning from 10.30am-12.30pm at The Pavilion, Meriden Sports Park CV7 7SP.

Shipston Wellbeing Warm Hub Pilot

This is a new pilot venture, combining a Warm Hub community cafe with wellbeing sessions run by Mind, which is running weekly until mid July at The Townsend Hall in Shipston.

The event is free to attend. After an initial 30 minute focus on wellbeing with a small group, the session opens up to other attendees, including children, for general socialising and wellbeing support as required.

Shipston Wellbeing Warm Hub runs every Friday morning from 11.00am – 12.30pm at The Townsend Hall, Shipston on Stour CV36 4AE

Mobile Warm Hub Community Service

A group of people sitting at picnic tables and chairs with a green and white minibus in the background with the branding "Mobile Warm Hub" and part of a red fire engine visible in the far background

Mobile Warm Hub coffee afternoon at Shotteswell

Our Mobile Warm Hub service starting running in May 2021. Since then we’ve run a Monday to Friday service visiting local communities on a weekly (morning or afternoon) or fortnightly basis. The service is supported by our friendly volunteer drivers.

We provide a welcoming, safe outdoor space for residents to meet up and enjoy a friendly chat. Our inclusive, welcoming coffee and chat events are popular with people of all ages and our free coffee/tea and biscuits are also much appreciated!

For some people it becomes a social lifeline and our volunteers also look forward to meeting up with our “regulars” as well as getting to speak to new faces. We’ve had several dogwalkers and a couple of horse riders attend. Events have even featured performances by a local community band and by a professional magician!

A band playing instruments and singing under a large canopy, with vans and cars in the background

Bidford Mobile Warm Hub with Up Beat Community Band

Different communities have different needs and our Mobile Warm Hub can pay weekly visits, monthly visits or make occasional stops as required. This can work well for areas where there’s no existing community space for events, or where local groups are interested in setting up a permanent Warm Hub event but want to attract community interest and engagement first.

The Mobile Warm Hub carries free information handouts on energy saving and home safety matters, as well as free carbon monoxide monitors. We also distribute information about other community support services and collaborate with organisations across the county, as with our fixed Warm Hubs.

Young man holding cards with a small group of people standing and more people sitting behind him under a large gazebo with colourful bunting outside

Beauchamp Court, Kenilworth, Mobile Warm Hub event with member of the Magic Circle

As well as running free community cafes, we have also supported Warwick District Foodbank one day per week with deliveries and collections on a weekly basis and we plan to resume this service for Autumn/Winter 2022.

Current Mobile Warm Hub Visits

Mondays – Wellesbourne Sports and Community Centre CV35 9RU, from 2.00pm – 3.30pm (to end May 2022)

Tuesdays – Catherine De Barnes Village Hall B91 2TJ, from 10.30am – 12.30pm (to end June 2022)

Wednesdays – The Graftons Village Hall B49 6NZ, from 2.00pm – 3.30pm (starting 25th May 2022)

Thursdays – Kineton Village Hall CV35 0LB, from 2.00pm – 3.30pm (to end June 2022)

Fridays – Polesworth Memorial Hall, from 10.30am – 12.00noon (to end June 2022)

Watch this space and our social media channels for updates and photos from our visits – we could be coming to your area soon!

A large gazebo with people sitting underneath next to a picnic bench, with a green and white minibus with "Mobile Warm Hub" branding in the background, on a grassy area

Mobile Warm Hub event at Polesworth Memorial Hall

Next Steps …

Have you got a great idea for a Warm Hub, or would you like to book a Mobile Warm Hub visit to your village? Or would you just like to find out more about what we’re doing and how your community can benefit? Get in touch with us now to find out more.

For information about Warm Hubs and our Mobile Warm Hub, please call 01789 842182 or email warmhubs@wrccrural.org.uk  We look forward to hearing from you!

Large group of people sitting and standing in front of a green and white minibus with branding "Mobile Warm Hub"

Mobile Warm Hub event at Bidford

Did You Know?

WRCC and Leicestershire RCC have joined to run the Halls Together service. This advises village halls on matters ranging from governance to building requirements and potential for funding applications.

And we also run an Energy syndicate for residents who aren’t on mains gas!

To find out more about either of these additional services, please call 01789 842182 or email enquiries@wrccrural.org.uk