A warm welcome from libraries and community centres

The excellent Barbican library always has some quick choice selections on show, with timely topics, and I noticed on my last visit there was one offering more than books.

Enjoy our warm and welcoming spaces this winter where there is something for everyone.

Further investigation led me to an offer of grants of up to £2000 from the City Corporation for the creation of warm spaces this winter, and a £50,000 programme from Islington Council.

The library display and poster promises social, study and work spaces as well as information and advice. I checked in with the library on what was behind the offer, and Natalie Laccohee came back with more details. It turns out there’s hot drinks too.

“This winter Barbican & Community Libraries feel it’s more important than ever for us to offer a warm, friendly welcome to our customers many of whom may be visiting us more regularly or for a longer periods of time. All three library locations are signed up as official Warm Welcoming Spaces which is a national community-led campaign and response to the cost of living crisis.

Enjoy our warm and welcoming spaces this winter where there is something for everyone is our strapline and we will be promoting existing services and activities such as our free Wi-Fi and computers and our talks, workshops and games club for adults and our Storytimes for children.

“We will also be launching “Toy Time” every Wednesday in the Barbican Children’s Library 12-2pm to provide an extra activity for parents and young children in a warm, friendly environment.

“In the adult library every Wednesday we’ll also be offering readers a free hot drink in our comfortable space to sit, relax and read.

“We’re also providing an information point where customers can pick up the latest leaflets on the City’s response to the Cost of Living Crisis and other information on health and financial advice”.

The library also pointed me to a page on the City’s website providing more information about the campaign, a national map of warm welcoming spaces, advice on staying well, and details of a grants programme.

Charities and voluntary organisations can apply for grants of up to £2000 to host a “Warm Space” this winter, if it is in the City or on one of the City’s housing estates. More details here.

Golden Lane Community Centre is on the map, but I didn’t find anywhere in Clerkenwell.

However, an online search led me to this recent news item from Islington Council – A friendly welcome awaits at your local Warm Community Space.

“Alongside financial support for the most vulnerable and advice on everything from debt to cutting down energy bills, we’ve been working with Octopus Community Network to create a network of dozens of Warm Community Spaces. We’re also supporting the scheme with a £50,000 grant fund to help the centres extend their opening hours, provide free activities and cover their energy bills.

“These spaces – spread across the borough so there is one in walking or wheeling distance of everyone’s front door – include libraries and community centres, and offer respite and sanctuary in a familiar, welcoming setting. As well as offering a place to be warm, to enjoy some company, an activity and a hot drink, the centres can also direct people to other kinds of support if they need it.

“To find your nearest Warm Community Space, visit islington.gov.uk/WarmSpaces where every space is listed by post code, and to find details including opening times, facilities, what’s on and how to get there”

The Peel, St Luke’s Community Centre, Finsbury Library, St Clement’s Church and Vibist Community Centre are among those listed.

Wonderful what you may discover through a visit to the library.

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