The Bishop of St Albans asked about government support for warm hubs on 20th October 2022:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask His Majesty’s Government what steps they will take to support the establishment and maintenance of warm hubs in England.
Baroness Scott of Bybrook (Con): Warm hubs, as with Covid support, are a fantastic example of the way in which faith and community groups can work together with local authorities to provide support and help for their communities. The Government strongly support these initiatives, but local government, which knows the needs of its communities, is best able to give support. We have made an increase of £3.7 billion to local government this financial year. We have also made available £1.4 billion through the household support fund.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: I thank the Minister for her reply. Warmwelcome.uk is a coalition of many Christian charities that so far have signed up more than 1,600 halls, organisations and buildings to act as warm hubs providing lunches after school, homework clubs and so on. What consideration has been given to using these places of meeting to communicate and help people understand whether they can access other benefits, health advice, local charities and other support that is available during these very troubling times?
Lord Callanan: The right reverend Prelate is absolutely right. Warm hubs are there to do one specific thing, but we have the opportunity to make them not just warm, welcoming places to go but places where people who might be lonely will not be as lonely, with ongoing support for loneliness, which we know is a cause of mental health issues. He is right that hubs are an opportunity to ensure that local people get the support and knowledge they need and are entitled to, including information on such things as flu and Covid vaccines. We should be using them, and to that end I will talk—and have already talked—to the Local Government Association about best practice to move this forward.