Winter Welcome Centres to Return to RCT!

Winter Welcome Centres to Return to RCT!

As the winter weather begins to creep in and temperatures drop, the Council is once again working with key partners in the community to provide support services to all our residents via the Winter Welcome Centres and beyond.

Last year 96 Winter Welcome Centres opened their doors to help keep RCT safe and warm – this included 82 third sector organisations and 14 Council facilities.

The Council has once again asked community groups and organisations within RCT if they are able to offer a warm space to those in need this winter – and thanks to their support there will be 86 Community Welcome Centres operating across the County Borough again this winter. This will include 73 third sector organisations and 13 Council facilities.

A total of 56 groups and organisations have applied for funding support via the winter hardship fund this year. With over £107,000 being awarded to providing Winter Welcome Centres in Rhondda Cynon Taf.

The centres, which will once again be set up to provide a safe place to stay warm, have a snack, warm cuppa and a chat, helped over 3199 adults last winter. Over 1500 sessions were provided and over 3200 warm drinks and snacks were made and over 2000 much needed, warm packs were given out.

The warm packs included items that help people stay warm and/or use less energy. Items such as Blanket/duvet, Hot water bottle, Thermal mug, Dressing gown, Slippers/warm socks, Gloves, Fleece, Scarf, Thermal curtains. They also included energy saving items such as Air fryer, Slow cooker, Self-bleeding radiator keys, Boiler coats, Air tap head adapters, Insulation tape, Tumble dryer balls, Draft excluder, Energy-saving bulbs.

The welcome centres are only able to operate thanks to the dedicated volunteers in our community and last year almost 350 selfless people came forward to help those in need through the bitterly cold winter period.

If you’re feeling the cold and need a safe place to stay warm, have a snack, warm cuppa, a chat, charge your mobile phone, get free energy advice and even get involved in free activities – then these centres really will offer you a much-needed life-line.

All Libraries within the County Borough will once again be operating as Winter Welcome Centres and residents will be assured of a warm welcome, and a place to relax and recharge mobile devices.

Councillor Bob Harris, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Communities, said:

“The Council is aware of the pressure’s families are currently experiencing and are doing all they can to support them. Since April 2022 the Council has paid out many millions of pounds to residents in relation to the Welsh Government Cost of Living Schemes. In addition to this the Council has increased this to offer further financial assistance in relation to the Welsh Government Fuel Support Scheme.

“The Council has also offered additional financial support via its Discretionary Cost of Living Schemes. The scheme includes Family Payments to families that have children of compulsory school age. The Council has also utilised further funds to make Discretionary Housing Payments to households most in need with support for their housing costs. This is in addition to the Discretionary Housing Payments made from the grant monies allocated to the Council by the Department of Works and Pensions.

“Further to this, the Council has provided financial support to local foodbanks to help them continue to deliver their vital work.”

Residents who feel that they need extra support can contact the Council at any time via the Community Resilience Hubs by completing a ‘request for support form’ online at www.rctcbc.gov.uk/CostOfLiving. Support will be provided by; Council Staff, Community Resilience Volunteers; 3rd Sector and community partners.

Rhondda Cynon Taf residents can also get advice on the services available through the Council’s Heat and Save Team, the services available include:

Grant or Loan Assistance – financial aid may be available to improve the energy efficiency of homes with (examples of works)

RCT Switch – an impartial free tariff switching advice

General energy efficiency advice to save energy at home

Advice regarding utility debts (gas, electric and water)

Advice regarding maximising income and money management For more information visit www.rctcbc.gov.uk/heatandsave or email the team at heatandsave@rctcbc.gov.uk.

If you are facing homelessness, you can find help and advice by visiting www.rctcbc.gov.uk/homelessness or call 01443 495188.

For full details and locations on the Winter Welcome Centres please visit www.rctcbc.gov.uk/WinterWelcomeCentres and for general advice on the cost of living support that is available to you, visit www.rctcbc.gov.uk/CostOfLiving.

Information on the latest weather warning and service updates can be found on the Council’s website www.rctcbc.gov.uk or by following Council’s official Twitter and Facebook social media accounts, however if you have any urgent issues, please call the Council’s Emergency Out Of Hours number 01443 425011.

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