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Council designates three of its libraries as ‘warm space’ during energy crisis for people to go if they’re cold

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Carmarthenshire Council have designated its libraries at Llanelli, Ammanford and Carmarthen as spaces to keep warm over the winter months.

The council says the cost-of-living crisis, and in particular rising energy costs, is a very real problem and concern for everybody, with many contemplating how they will afford to heat their homes to stay warm.

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Carmarthenshire Council says it recognises that keeping the heating on all day, or even for part of the day, will become increasingly difficult for many of its residents, so its inviting those who wish to spend the day in a warm, friendly and welcoming environment, to do so at a space in one of its three main libraries.

In a statement, the council said: “A warm welcome awaits at our warm places as refreshments will be served and visitors are welcomed to access a television, computers and newspapers there.

“Our friendly staff will also be present at the libraries and will be at hand to provide visitors with advice about the cost of living and how to access potential support.” 

The council is also encouraging communities to apply for funding to provide Warm Welcome Spaces within their communities.

Pre-existing initiatives such as food banks, community luncheons, sports or social groups hosting events and, or, serving refreshments can apply for funding. But the council say they are also encouraging communities to think creatively about the type of events that can provide a warm and welcoming space for those most in need in their communities over the winter months.

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A total of £180,000 is being made available through Carmarthenshire County Council’s Poverty Fund which is funded by the Welsh Government’s Discretionary Fund and other Welsh Government’s funding schemes.

Deputy Leader and Cabinet lead Cllr. Linda Evans said: “We all know that heating our homes will be considerably more expensive this winter, which is a worry that plays on everybody’s minds.

“For our part, the council is making our libraries in Llanelli, Ammanford and Carmarthen available to the public, not only to enjoy the wide selection of books available there but also to spend a few hours, or even the entire day in a location that is warm and welcoming.

“Staff will also be on hand at the libraries to offer guidance to anybody who wishes to have advice on the cost of living.

“Of course, we understand that we also need to provide Warm Welcome Places in other towns and rural communities of Carmarthenshire. That is why we are encouraging individuals and local groups to apply for funding from our Poverty Fund, which will allow them to finance new and pre-existing events and initiatives that could also serve as a means to provide a warm space for residents to attend, even if it is a few hours a week.

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“We understand that local communities know what initiatives will work best in their area. and suit their local needs. This isn’t a one size fits all support scheme and that is why we want to work with communities across Carmarthenshire to create schemes that are tailored to the needs of their residents.”

Council Leader, Cllr Darren Price said: “People are facing the very real prospect of having to prioritise buying food over heating their homes. In the face of this dreadful circumstance, Carmarthenshire County Council is making our libraries at Llanelli, Ammanford and Carmarthen available as warm spaces to the public.

“Welsh Government funding has allowed us to set up a Poverty Fund that is available to communities across Carmarthenshire to host various types of activities that can offer local people a warm welcome space for a few hours a week.”

Applications for funding from the Warm Welcome Spaces scheme can be made until November 18 and must be used by March 2023.

(Lead image: Carmarthenshire Council)

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