MORE than 2,000 Woking residents have escaped the winter cold at the borough’s 19 warm hubs.

The hubs assist those impacted by the rising cost of living, helping them to save on energy bills by not heating their own home when at the hub. Visitors are also using them to connect with the local community and find additional support.

A cost of living summit held last September by Woking Borough Council helped establish the hubs, including at the Centres for the Community, Woking library, The Lighthouse and many faith centres.

In Sheerwater, St Michael’s Church and the Eastwood Leisure Centre have both seen an average of 20 families per week using and taking part in the community activities on offer.

The Mascot Hub is supporting an additional 43 individuals since it has provided extra services as a warm hub, including handing out hot water bottles.

Andy’s Community Café, at St Andrew’s Church, Goldsworth Park, extended its opening times over Christmas and New Year and greeted 24 residents during this time.

The Welcome Church, in Church Street West, has increased its volunteer capacity and now provides more debt advisors offering support.

Cllr Ellen Nicholson, the council’s portfolio holder for living well, said: “In these difficult times, it’s really positive that so many vulnerable Woking residents have benefited from the many warm hubs available.

“I would like to thank all the volunteers who are doing amazing work to make these centres run smoothly, offering their time and kindness to some of our most vulnerable residents.

“The council is committed to ensuring all Woking residents can access the support they need this winter.

“If you or someone you know could benefit from visiting a warm hub, please familiarise yourself with the full list of venues published on the council’s website at”

To help further with the cost of living crisis, the council has been awarded more money from the Household Support Fund, which will be distributed by Citizens Advice Woking to help support vulnerable residents by the end of 2023.

This will primarily be for households struggling financially, with a focus on those with disabilities.