Free hot water bottles ensure warm welcome in Riverside as coldest weather strikes

120 free ‘heat packs’ have been given out so far in just five weeks by the community’s reactivated Warm Bank

FREE hot water bottles, draught excluders and thermos flasks are being given out in a bid to keep vulnerable people warm this Spring.

South Riverside Community Development Centre (SRCDC) is handing out the ‘heat packs’ to help people get through the colder months.

The giveaway is part of the community centre’s Warm Bank initiative, which runs on Tuesdays from 11am till 3pm at the Wyndham Street Centre. A Warm Bank is a way of making sure people who cannot afford to heat their homes have somewhere to go to keep warm.

In the last five weeks, 120 packs have been given out and there are 80 more up for grabs.

SRCDC was one of many centres offering itself as a warm hub last year, funded by the Welsh Government during the peak of the cost-of-living crisis. However, the scheme was discontinued.

This year, the centre wanted to reinstate help for those struggling with their heating bills and were awarded a National Grid grant to re-fund the Warm Bank.

The packs were put together using advice from Warm Wales, who specialise in finding ways to tackle fuel poverty.

Neil Binnell is one of the volunteers who has helped to organise the project, and applied for the funding from the National Grid.

“We are trying to keep it local, for local people in Canton, North Grangetown and Riverside. But you don’t have to prove your eligibility,” said Neil.

One pack is available per household. Visitors are also welcome to spend time at the centre, but this year SRCDC have placed an emphasis on making your own house warmer, which is why the packs are being given out.

The Warm Bank is being run on the same day as a food pantry, where you can spend £5 in exchange for £25 worth of food.

“We have people who come in for a chat and a cup of tea. They don’t just shop [at the pantry],” said Grant Cockerill, the pantry coordinator at the Wyndham Street centre.

Riverside Advice staff are also available every Tuesday at the centre to give information and support on welfare benefits and energy bills.

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