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Cost of living crisis: ‘warm hubs’ could be created across Flintshire

21 Sep 2022 3 minute read
Picture by Peter Byrne / PA Wire.

Rory Sheehan, Local Democracy Reporter

Warm hubs are set to be created across Flintshire to help support the most vulnerable through the winter ‘cost of living’ crisis.

The hubs are one of a number of further measures being looked at by Flintshire Council to help residents through the challenges of the coming months.

They would be set up in community centres and sheltered accommodation across the county, operating from November to March next year, if backed by the council’s cabinet next week.

Two additional community support hubs would also be created, along with a ‘well fed’ shop being set up in Shotton, to sell affordable and healthy ‘grab and go’ food, ready meals and slow cooker bags.

The cabinet will look at a report on the ‘cost of living’ crisis produced by the chief officer for housing and communities, and will decide what action they can take to help residents through the next few months.

Other measures on the table include developing and promoting the ‘meals on wheels’ service, increasing the ‘well fed’ mobile shop in rural areas, and continuing with free fruit in Flintshire’s nine high schools.

Residents’ fears

Outlining the proposal for creating warm hubs, the officer’s report states: “The recent increase in the cost of living at a time when a combination of factors are impacting on communities, driving them further into poverty and creating social needs that have now become more of an issue post-pandemic.

“Residents fear they will not be able to afford to buy food and pay their energy bills this year. One in four older people are known to struggle with rising fuel prices, food poverty and isolation.

“To help ease the pressure of those affected we propose to open the community centres/rooms within the sheltered accommodation schemes, November 2022 to March 2023, for Local Authority tenants in those schemes.

“This will initially be targeted to the residents within the schemes and we will look to expand this to the wider community by working with other organisations and centres to ensure as wide a coverage as possible.”

The report adds: “We will also support our residents to eat well by providing each centre with a fridge, microwave and Well-Fed meals giving the residents the opportunity to eat together or take their meal home with them.

“We have liaised with a number of residents and identified their interest to help direct us with the arrangements.

“The accommodation support team will assist with the opening/closing of the centre and be there to support the residents as well as encouraging those who may still be apprehensive about leaving their home.

“In addition to the centres, we will also be supporting the community hubs in Shotton and Holywell as well as the community centre in the Holway to become warm hubs.”

The Cabinet meeting takes place on Monday, September 26.

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