We are working with partners to develop a network of Warm Welcome spaces where people can find warmth, company and support amid the cost-of-living crisis.
A Warm Welcome space is open to anyone who needs it, whether they are feeling lonely, struggling to heat their home or for any other reason. It can be based in any community building and will provide a warm and friendly environment where people can socialise over a hot drink and take part in activities.
Our experienced team is here support community groups and venues in Somerset to open their doors and offer a Warm Welcome. This could include help with your policies and procedures, finding funding, recruiting volunteers or connecting you with other providers to share learning and ideas.
In the meantime, you can find lots of useful information to help you set up or run your Warm Welcome space below.
On this page:
A Warm Welcome space aims to support local people who may be at risk of fuel poverty or feeling lonely or isolated. They are based in community buildings such as village halls, community centres or places of worship, and will provide a warm and friendly environment for people to socialise over refreshments and take part in activities.
Each Warm Welcome space will be different, so we don’t have a long list of expectations. You can open your doors for as long as you are able and as a minimum, we’d want you to offer a warm space to sit, a hot drink, some biscuits if you can. You’ll need the usual insurance, safeguarding policies and risk assessments in place and we can offer support with this if required.
We ask all venues to sign up to the Charter which can be found below and sets out what people can expect when they visit you and how they will be treated.
"One attendee told us he got to meet people he probably wouldn’t have otherwise and that it helped promote a good feeling, especially for older people like him who live alone. It was humbling to learn what our Warm Welcome space meant to him."
Fiona, volunteer, Churches Together in Pawlett
Read how two churches in Pawlett came together to create a warm and welcoming space their community here.
Find further information about Warm Welcome spaces in our FAQs.
Upon registration, your venue will be added to an online map of Warm Welcome spaces in Somerset. You can view the map here.
It’s really important that people feel comfortable, safe and welcome to use your space, so we ask every venue that provides a Warm Welcome to agree to the following Charter:
You'll get a Warm Welcome as well as warm space
Every time you visit our venue you'll be guaranteed a warm welcome from our friendly volunteers and staff.
Everyone is treated equally, with dignity and respect
We all have a right to be warm, so everyone who visits us will be treated with dignity and respect (and we ask for the same in return).
Our Warm Welcome will be a safe space
We will adhere to our usual safeguarding and food hygiene policies. We will also take reasonable precautions to reduce the spread of winter viruses such as flu and Covid.
We'll not tell anyone about you visiting a Warm Welcome
If you want to share the reasons you visit a Warm Welcome, someone will listen, but we won't tell anyone else unless you give us permission or we have concerns about your safety.
It doesn't matter why you need a Warm Welcome
We offer a Warm Welcome without judgement; whatever the reason for visiting, you'll be treated in the same way as everyone else and never judged.
If you need help and advice on how to fund your warm space, our Funding team are more than happy to offer you support. Please email us and we'll be in touch.
You can also find find a wide range of funding opportunities on the Somerset Funding Portal.
We run the volunteer service for Somerset and can help you find volunteers for your Warm Welcome space. You can advertise your opportunities and contact potential volunteers for free on our volunteering platform, Spark a Change. We can also offer best practice advice and guidance on volunteer recruitment.
Visit sparkachange.org.uk to find out more.
If you are looking to set up a Warm Welcome space, here are some of the things you may need to think about:
- Ensuring your venue is accessible
- Signposting people to other support and services
- Looking after your volunteers and staff and your safeguarding responsibilities
- Capacity of your venue
- Promoting your space to members of the public
The Guide to Setting Up a Warm Space in your Community, produced with support from the Martin Lewis Charity Fund, contains lots of useful Information on all of these topics and more! You can download it here.
If you have further questions, just get in touch. Thank you for making Somerset a warmer, more resilient place!