Popular ‘warm hubs’ to be kept in communities across East Devon

East Devon residents will continue to be able to use community hubs after more than 220 people used them over the winter.

The ten ‘warm spaces’ – heated communal places for people to keep in touch, avoid loneliness, and have a hot meal – were made available by the district council late last year.

Householders can also receive advice about their bills and learn about benefits they may be entitled to, writes Local Democracy reporter Rob Kershaw.

Moving forward, we are looking to adopt a new operating model and the costs during the summer will be circa £800 per month…

Some 221 people, aged from eight months to 96, have used the hubs across East Devon in the last four months.

This was more than council officers were expecting – and now the hubs will now be kept open as community centres.

“The warm hubs cost around a total of £1,300 per month which includes all the supplies and activities,” said an East Devon District Council (EDDC) spokesperson.

“Moving forward, we are looking to adopt a new operating model and the costs during the summer will be circa £800 per month.”

At an EDDC Poverty Panel meeting on March 20, Councillor Dan Ledger, who represents Seaton, described the centres as a ‘huge success’.

Cllr Marianne Rixson, ward member for Sidmouth/Sidford, added: “I think this has been a fantastic project and obviously it’s filled a gap which we didn’t know was there.

“It’s also, I think, helping people with their mental health because loneliness is a terrible thing. I imagine that this is helping to form new friendships which could be long-term as well.

“And so, all in all, I think this is just fantastic and I’m really pleased that it’s going to continue.”

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