Community Hot-Spots are Back!

People sit on a long table at St George Colegate in Norwich. They wave at the camera. The reverend stands at the ned of the table with a volunteer

Norfolk Community Foundation invests in warm welcomes across Norfolk for a second year

Last winter, ‘warm banks’ sprung up across the country to help deal with the energy crisis, and in Norfolk we helped over 10,000 people find a warm welcome thanks to our ‘Community Hot-Spots’ programme.

The idea was to give people a warm space near them to go to to beat the cold and save money on their bills. People went into their local Community Hot-Spot initially just to keep warm, but so many left with something more. They found a welcoming place where they belonged, met neighbours they never know they had, and discovered support they didn’t know was available. 

Laura Wigby, Head of Programmes, said: “Thanks to the support from those who sent us their unneeded winter fuel payments a few weeks ago, we have been able to fund many warm spaces for communities this winter. Last year, many isolated people found friendship. Those who needed extra help found it in a place near them from people they could trust, and we are please that this year many will be able to do the same again.”

Community centres, churches, cafés, leisure centres and arts venues in all 7 Norfolk districts will play host to Community Hot-Spots this winter. People will be able to join in with activities, meet new people and enjoy a hot drink for free.

Four women stand in a row in front of a counter at The Feed Social Supermarket Cafe. Left to right: Andrea, Lizzie, Laura, Izzy.
Andrea, Lizzie, Laura and Izzy at The Feed Community Café’s Community Hot-Spot in January
Izzy Foss from Norfolk Community Foundation talks to a older woman whilst taking part in an activity. Rv Annie sits behind talking to another person at the Community Hot Spot in the church.
Community Hot-Spots did so much more than get people out of the cold.

Why are Hot-Spots back again?

The energy crisis hasn’t gone away. In fact, many will pay more for their energy this year, and the financial reserves that saw so many through the toughest months have now run dry.

Along with offering a warm welcome, hot drinks and a warm space, Hot-Spots have gave people across the county the opportunity to get out in their community, make new friends, and find support they didn’t know existed. Community Hot-Spots also offered support that stopped people from needing more serious interventions from other statutory services.

Mental health services continue to be strained in Norfolk. The cost of GP appointment is £42 for 9 minutes, but for just £30 per person for the whole winter, we provided spaces across Norfolk that supported people’s wellbeing at a local level. Hot-Spots also signposted people made vulnerable by the rising cost of living to local support, both statutory and voluntary, that could help them through times of crisis and the long winter.

There are now 110 Community Hot-Spots giving a warm welcome across Norfolk!

Thanks to Norfolk County Council, Breckland Council, the Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk, equitix, East of England Coop, and the generosity of people across Norfolk who donated to our Surviving Winter campaign, we have been able to offer Community Hot-Spots across all 7 Norfolk districts. By working together, we have knitted a network of warm spaces that will give thousands of local people a place near them where they can belong this winter.

You can also see other warm spaces, such as libraries, churches and village halls, at the Warm Welcome website.