Struggling community spaces in Bedford urged to apply for share of £500k fund to help with the cost of living

Community hubs in Bedford can now apply for a share of a new £500k fund from gas distribution network Cadent to help combat fuel poverty and cost of living pressures.
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  • Cadent is expanding its ‘Centres for Warmth’ programme, in areas of high deprivation, with £500k funding boost

  • The programme aims to ensure local community centres can provide emergency support to local families, whilst making a long-term impact

  • The new Centres for Warmth will receive much-needed funding, resources and training, as well as free carbon monoxide alarms and slow cookers

Vital support is being offered to those who need it the most this winter as Cadent, the UK’s largest gas distribution network, looks to extend its Centres for Warmth programme. With over 70 Centre for Warmth sites already operating out of community hubs across the UK, the new funding boost of £500k will help expand the initiative even further.

Community hubs in selected locations across the North West, West Midlands, East Midlands, South Yorkshire, East of England and North London are now invited to apply for some of the funds to become one of Cadent’s new Centre for Warmth locations.

L-R Shanta (centre user), Fenella (Children's & Families Activity Facilitator)L-R Shanta (centre user), Fenella (Children's & Families Activity Facilitator)
L-R Shanta (centre user), Fenella (Children's & Families Activity Facilitator)
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If selected, employees at the hubs will be supported and trained to offer advice to visitors on a range of topics including home energy efficiency, debt management, benefit entitlement, as well as how to sign up to the Priority Services Register.

New centres will also be provided with carbon monoxide (CO) alarms and slow cookers, helping them to educate local residents on how to stay safe against the dangers of CO and create healthy, affordable energy efficient meals at home.

The Centres for Warmth programme first launched in 2021, just as the cost-of-living crisis was starting to emerge, with Cadent utilising local community centres to provide vital energy and money management advice to some of the most deprived communities - and many visitors saving as much as £3,000.

Phil Burrows, Head of Customer Vulnerability at Cadent, said: “We’re committed to keeping our customers safe and warm and finding new ways to support some of our most vulnerable communities. Last winter, we reached over 18 million people and saved customers over £21m with helpful tips and resources, but we want to make an even bigger and lasting impact this year! We plan to do this by increasing the number of our Centres for Warmth through partnering with more community hubs in disadvantaged areas within towns and cities across our network.”

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The support and expertise put in place by Cadent at one of its Centres for Warmth is tailored to the needs of the community it serves and aims to promote togetherness and social interaction. The services offered are designed to help customers stay safe, warm and connected, with the new funding helping to provide vital resources and training to expand the services they offer to local communities.

Phil continued: “A key focus of the programme is providing community hubs, who are struggling themselves with rising costs, with important resources and training for their teams so they can offer essential advice on home energy efficiency, carbon monoxide safety and the Priority Services Register. Becoming a Cadent Centre for Warmth really will allow vital community centres, which are often the only service that some local people feel comfortable accessing, to significantly increase support.”

Cadent is now looking for new centres to partner with and successful applicants will benefit in several ways, including:

  • Funding for new / improved facilities and employees

  • Financial advice to help customers make their money go further

  • Training on gas safety and carbon monoxide poisoning

  • Slow cooking classes for local families to promote energy and cost saving benefits

  • Free carbon monoxide detectors and slow cookers

  • Information about the Priority Services Register and how to help customers register

The deadline for submissions is 11.59PM on 15.12.23, with entrants advised to check the entry criteria before applying.

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