Places for People – the UK’s leading Social Enterprise – has opened three Warm Hubs at its Places Leisure facilities in Sheffield this Winter.

The three new hubs form part of the Sheffield Welcoming Places initiative and are located at Graves Health and Sports Centre in the south of the city close to Bochum Parkway, as well as Thorncliffe Health and Leisure Centre in High Green, with a third hub based at Wisewood Sports Centre on Laird Road in Sheffield, which is being funded by Clarion Futures (Clarion Housing Group’s Charitable Foundation).

The centres will be open from December until March, giving locals a chance to meet new people, play board games, and join in other activities. They will also offer free blankets and refreshments, with visitors to Wisewood and Graves given free hot food and drinks at selected sessions, while visitors to Thorncliffe will receive hot drinks and snacks.

The news comes as Places for People is working hard to extend its support to people across the country. Other Warm Hubs have also opened in Preston, West Bromwich and across the company’s three Brio Retirement Living developments in Aberdeen, London and the Cotswolds; Warm Hubs have been in operation at these communities since October.

Oliver Lee OBE, chief executive, Places Leisure explained: ““We know that people are acutely struggling with increasing energy costs and broader costs of living. We are finding ways to help, offering a space for those in need to have somewhere not only safe and warm, but a place in which they can socialise and be part of a community. We are proud to open Places Leisure facilities this winter and be a part of such a fantastic project and partnership. We hope it makes a small difference at such a challenging time.”

The three centres in Sheffield are managed by Places Leisure – part of Places for People – and offer an array of activities to local people which encourage healthy and active lifestyles from swimming, fitness classes, gym facilities and sporting opportunities to health suites to relax and unwind in.

The leisure centres are encouraging more local people to join those already enjoying the warm hubs and their benefits – from refreshments and friendly chats, through to energy support, help from local charities, advice on managing bills as well as access to community support to combat isolation.

Marcus Hulme, director of Places Impact, Places for People added: “The cost-of-living crisis is having a significant impact on our customers and communities. The warm hub project in partnership with Places Leisure and Clarion is a great example of how organisations can combine resources to work together and offer practical support across Sheffield through these challenging times.”

The centres in Sheffield are well-used by the local community, and this collaborative initiative aims to encourage even more local people to venture inside to stay warm, meet new friends and get the support they need this winter.

Matt Parsonage, head of communities at Clarion Futures, shared: “Clarion Futures (Clarion Housing Group’s Charitable Foundation) are proud to be partnering with Places Leisure on the Warm Hub initiative. These are obviously very worrying times for our residents and communities in Sheffield, so it’s vital that where possible we come together and provide the services they most desperately need.”

Warm Hubs aim to support local people who may be at risk of fuel poverty or may be feeling lonely or isolated. A Warm Hub can be any community building and will provide a confidential, warm, and friendly environment for people to socialise over refreshments and take part in activities.

A representative from Sheffield City Council concluded: “Sheffield City Council is working with voluntary, faith and community organisations to help support people through the cost-of-living crisis and promoting the 88 Welcome Places that are open in Sheffield. The map showing where they are is at”

Places Leisure Warm Hub opening times vary; Wisewood is open to all from 1-3pm on Mondays and 9.30-11.30am on Fridays. Graves will be open from 1-3pm every Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday, while Thorncliffe opens 1-3pm on Wednesdays and 9.30-11.30am on Thursdays. The initiative will run through to March 2023.