Two schemes to help local community groups and residents during the cost of living crisis have been launched by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough (ABC) Council.
They are the Warm Spaces Scheme and online Cost of Living Support Hub.
The Warm Spaces initiative will provide access to a network of 18 council community centres, town halls and recreation centres, free of charge, to help community groups deliver classes and activities.
These range from Ashgrove Community Centre, Portadown, and Avenue Road Community Centre, Lurgan, to Dobbin Street Community Centre, Armagh, and the Tommy Makem Arts & Community Centre in Keady (see full list below).
Offering a safe, secure, and warm environment, the scheme will enable community groups to save on costs such as heating, electric and room hire charges.
Eligible organisations will be able to make up to five bookings across the 18 centres.
Lord Mayor, Councillor Paul Greenfield said: “The impact of the cost of living crisis is being felt by people right across the borough, and not least by local community and voluntary organisations.
“These groups were instrumental in helping their communities respond to and recover from the pandemic, yet they are now facing spiralling costs, falling income and an uncertain future, which is affecting their ability to support those most in need within their areas at this difficult time.
“We hope with the introduction of the new Warm Spaces Scheme, we can take some of this burden off our hard-working local community groups, enabling them to redirect vital funds and resources that would have been spent on running costs, back into the planning and organisation of their programmes to directly help those people in need.”
Meanwhile, the council’s Cost of Living Hub brings together a wealth of support information around matters relating to food, fuel, finances, and more.
The hub features information on local food banks, details on where to get help with managing finances and energy bills, as well as signposting to key support organisations, charities and helplines, all aiming to help people access the right help.
The Lord Mayor said it was “hugely important” that people are aware of the wide range of support available.
“As we all feel the squeeze on our finances, I would encourage everyone to check out this new online resource centre and learn more about what assistance is available, so we can all tackle this together,” he said.
For more information on the Warm Spaces Scheme, including eligibility and how to apply visit: https://www.armaghbanbridgecraigavon.gov.uk/costofliving/#warmspaces or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
To access the online Cost of Living Support Hub visit: https://www.armaghbanbridgecraigavon.gov.uk/costofliving/.
The Warm Spaces Scheme is available at the following facilities.
- Ashgrove Community Centre: 156 Garvaghy Road, Portadown
- Avenue Road Community Centre: 5 Carrick Drive, Lurgan
- Brownlow Community Hub: 7 Brownlow Road, Craigavon
- Brownstown Jubilee Community Centre: 3 Brownstown Park, Portadown
- Dobbin Street Community Centre: 11A Dobbin Street, Armagh
- Dromore Community Centre: Holm Park, Lurgan Road, Dromore
- Dromore Town Hall: The Square, Dromore
- Gilford Community Centre: 5 Stramore Road, Gilford
- Killicomaine Jubilee Community Centre: 32A Festival Road, Portadown
- Lurgan Town Hall: 2-6 Union Street, Lurgan
- Mourneview Community Centre: 15 Knockshee, Lurgan
- North Lurgan Community Centre: Levin Road, Lurgan
- Portadown Town Hall: 15-17 Edward Street, Portadown
- Rathfriland Community Centre: 21 St John Street, Rathfriland
- Richhill Recreation Centre: New Line, Richhill
- Taghnevan Youth & Community Centre: Glenholme Park, Lurgan
- Tandragee Recreation Centre: 24 Madden Road, Tandragee
- Tommy Makem Arts & Community Centre: 7 The Cow Fair, Keady