East Devon ‘warm spaces’ to stay open over the summer – as community centres

Community heated hubs across East Devon are to stay open across the summer after proving a hit amid the colder months.


East Devon District Council recently announced the warm spaces will remain as community centres after more than 200 people sought the support of the 10 hubs over the winter.

It has not been confirmed if the warm spaces’ service will be repeated during winter 2023.

Residents in East Devon will continue to be able to use community hubs after they proved a hit over the winter, writes local democracy reporter Rob Kershaw.

Late last year, East Devon District Council (EDDC) opened up hubs, or ‘warm spaces’, as a way to keep residents in touch with each other and avoid loneliness, while also providing warm meals and a heated communal space.

People can also receive advice about their bills and learn about benefits to which they may be entitled.

Some 221 people, aged eight months to 96-years-old, have used the 10 hubs across the district in the last four months.

This was more than council officers were expecting, so the hubs will now be kept open as community centres. While it is unconfirmed, they could still be in use next winter.

The council said the hubs, which will be volunteer-led going forward, will cost less than a thousand pounds per month including staff.

“The warm hubs cost around a total of £1,300 per month which includes all the supplies and activities,” said an 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 a recent poverty panel meeting, Independent Councillor Dan Ledger, who represents Seaton, described the centres as a ‘huge success’.

And Independent Cllr Marianne Rixson, said: “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.”