Warm Space in the HUB

The Community Trust has opened Chester’s Den on weekday evenings as a Warm Space for the local community to come and spend some time this winter, in light of the cost-of-living crisis and rise in energy prices.

The HUB is open, with the heating on, to ensure members of the community have a warm and safe space to spend their evenings, with some people being unable to afford their soaring bills.

Keith Jackson of the Community Trust talked about the reasons behind the Warm Space project and why the Trust thought it was important. He said: “I think people in the local community are really struggling with the increasing costs of bills and in general they’re struggling with the everyday living prices.

“People are having to make really tough decisions and we wanted to help with that. The Warm Space offers somewhere that people can come down, get a free tea, coffee or soup and just be with other people.

“It’s about social inclusion and ensuring people are around their peers this winter, meeting new people whilst staying warm, having some free drinks and generally just having a good time.

“We’ve got board games and that sort of stuff for families and young children who come down with their parents, who can relax with a warm drink whilst their children play.

“Likewise, we’ve also had elderly people who are coming to keep warm whilst enjoying spending time with other people and are here for company.

“Whatever the reasons you’re coming down, there’s at least a guarantee that you’ll have somewhere warm and cosy to enjoy some food, drink and company.”

Keith touched on how this initiative is exactly the sort of thing that the Trust want to do, targeting weakened areas of society.

“This is what the Trust is all about really. We want to help people and we want to target areas of the community that are being most affected,” he said.

“We want to tackle issues in the local area. We’re trying to be reactive to what’s out there. It’s sad that in 2022 we’re dealing with these situations but it’s just the reality, unfortunately.

“We can’t change the price of fuel, food, electricity or anyone’s bills for that matter – however, we can do our best to provide alternatives and help the best we possibly can.

“This is what the Trust is all about and we’re doing our best to ensure we can help as many people as possible that are affected by the issues in our society.”

Meanwhile, Keith provided a supportive message to anyone who may be overwhelmed by the current situation and may be worried or embarrassed about attending the Warm Space, adding: “We totally understand here at the Trust what people are going through in the current climate.

“Everyone is affected including most of us, there isn’t anyone who isn’t affected by what’s happening. Just come down, please don’t be afraid.

“People come down here and are usually apprehensive at first but then quickly realise that it’s a real safe space.

“The tea and coffees are out ready, you don’t even need to talk to anyone, just come in and sit down. There’s no pressure on anyone to talk or anything like that.

“It’s all about just coming down, keeping warm, having a drink and relaxing. Don’t be afraid, there’s no shame in needing some help.

“No matter what form that’s in, we’re here to help and this initiative specifically is helping a lot of people right now and if it will help you, come down and see us.”

The Warm Space will be open this week, with the opening times changing from 6pm to 7.30pm, *Monday to Friday, providing free drinks and snacks, together with a selection of books, magazines and board games. It will be moved into Chester’s Den, providing more space and allowing children to run around.

Following closure during the festive period, the Warm Space will be available again on Wednesday, December 28 until the following Friday.

Closing for the New Year period, it will re-open on Tuesday, January 3.

*Not available on matchdays.