An open meeting was held in St Peter’s Rooms on Tuesday 18th October 2022 to discuss a village initiative launched by St Peter’s Church and Ruddington Parish Council, to help residents who may struggle to both feed their families and heat their homes this winter.
Church member Liz Mack told RUDDINGTON.info: “After some brilliant ideas and suggestions from the breadth of views in the room, we decided it would be helpful to set up a smaller Enabling Group to find out more, and offer suggestions of ways we might promote and encourage warm spaces opening up within the village over the colder months.
“It was the consensus that a big motivator, in addition to the more obvious need of providing warm public spaces, was to promote community and friendship. This is especially the case as things begin to bite and Christmas looms just around the corner – bringing another worry for many people awaiting big energy bills.”
Since the October meeting, the new Enabling Group has discussed how to open up more warm spaces, pulling together a list of all the places around our village that could be considered a warm space, what they offer and who they’re for.
“We noticed more public places opening recently to offer a warm space, often with free refreshments and activities, so we’ve tried to find the best way of advertising these within the community without taking overall responsibility for them,” explained Liz.
The group’s findings were discussed by Ruddington Parish Council at its full meeting on Tuesday 9th November. Councillors resolved to support initiatives as and when they come forward, and to help develop new ones where needed. This could mean extending current activities such as coffee mornings, targeting hard-to-reach people, or providing spaces when other parts of the building are already in use.
Liz said this is welcome news. “It makes a lot of sense if places and groups that are already open to the public could add a couple of hours onto their opening times which would not add much more to their heating costs.
“However, at St Peter’s Church we’ve been looking for funding for extra heating so we can stay open longer. Our big church building is not the most ideal place to heat as it’s so huge, but like all churches, we’re uniquely placed as a central point in our communities to welcome, host and care for people.”
Liz also mentioned a new nationwide community group called Warm Welcome Spaces (www.warmwelcome.uk), which has set up a scheme where anyone can register a warm space open to the public, including anything else they offer such as refreshments, and be put onto a national map so people in their area can find them.
St Peter’s Church has already added its Heat ‘n’ Eat initiative to Warm Welcome Spaces as a trial, with the caveat that people need to book via Eventbrite if they’d like a meal (anyone can go along for friendship, tea and coffee without booking).
Liz added: “We’re very fortunate that, between us and the large group that first met, we have lots of connections around the village and can hopefully help many local residents this winter. Ruddington is full of very caring people who want to look after their neighbours and it’s one of the great joys of being part of this community.”
Graham Wright via RUDDINGTON.info