Warm Welcome

Surrey County Council

Supporting 34,000 Surrey residents to stay safe and warm at home over winter

Our project at a glance

  • Strategic priority area: Targeting geographic communities most at risk of fuel poverty
  • Support target: 34,000 residents
  • Duration: November 2023 to March 2024
  • Investment: £150,000
  • Forecast SROI: £5.22

We have found that there are a variety of people who use the warm hub. There are lots of lonely, isolated people who live alone and love coming to access good free food and have a friendly conversation with someone in a relaxed warm space.

Talking Tree hub, Staines-Upon-Thames

Why we’re working together

Tens of thousands of Surrey residents face fuel poverty. Broader affluence masks areas of extreme deprivation with 21 areas of high need identified across the county in the English deprivation indices 2019. 

Many Surrey residents facing fuel poverty will already be vulnerable households, who are at risk of exacerbated ill health from being unable to properly heat their homes because of high energy costs. 

We co-founded the Warm Welcome partnership with Surrey County Council in 2022 to reach hyper-local communities within Surrey in need of support. We created a network of more than 100 warm hubs in locations across the county, with each venue offering residents a place to go for a hot drink, social interaction and wellbeing activities. 

In the first year of our partnership, we anticipated receiving 4,000 visitors. However, 21,921 vulnerable residents visited our venues by the end of March 2023.  

The sheer volume of visits demonstrated both the need for our service and the value residents receive from it. In response, we’ve extended this service for winter 2023/24.

We’re increasing our support for the programme this year, aiming to help at least 34,000 vulnerable residents in Surrey who will find it difficult to stay warm at home this winter. We’re also expanding our support to residents who cannot travel to a warm hub by supporting them in their homes, and offering a new boiler servicing and gas safety check scheme for the most vulnerable households. 

Project objectives

  • Supporting a minimum of 34,000 vulnerable Surrey households to keep warm over winter
  • Extending our support to reach vulnerable households in their homes, as well as at our Warm Welcome venues
  • Providing tailored advice and support to improve residents’ health, wellbeing and finances
  • Providing free boiler servicing and gas safety checks for eligible households
  • Providing an electric blanket testing and replacement service

How we’re working together

Creating safe and warm community spaces for winter

Around 80 Warm Welcome venues will be set up across the county this winter to provide a welcoming location for vulnerable residents to warm up and have a free hot drink or meal, while accessing much-needed energy advice and financial support. 

We’ve carefully co-designed the programme to ensure all venues are activity-based, with a free hot drink and food (where facilities allow) and as part of the offering. The majority of venues are led by communities and volunteers, embedded in libraries, community centres and faith centres. It’s extremely important to us that we create a positive experience for those using the service, a place to connect with the local community and encourage residents to support each other. 

Energy advice and financial support

While at the Warm Welcome venue, residents will be able to get free, personalised energy and debt advice. We’re also able to help households join the Priority Services Register and we’re raising awareness of carbon monoxide safety at home. 

At-home support

To help support residents after leaving the Warm Welcome venue, we’re providing packs of winter essential items including thermal socks, gloves, flasks, wheat bags and heated electric blankets. We’re also providing free CO alarms for households that need one, as well as free boiler servicing and gas safety checks to keep the most vulnerable residents safe at home. 

In partnership with Surrey Fire and Rescue Service, we’re offering free Safe and Well home visits for residents to receive personalised fire and gas safety information at home and have smoke and carbon monoxide alarms fitted if needed. 

Winter resilience advice

Our partnership stretches beyond supporting the vulnerable households that visit Warm Welcome venues in person. We’re also providing winter resilience, PSR, CO safety and energy advice to 256,000 Surrey residents through a direct mailer that will be arriving through letterboxes in late autumn and ongoing social media campaigns.

Media library image
3 women stand next to a display banner showing Surrey Warm Hub services

How to get involved

Visiting a Warm Welcome venue in Surrey

The Warm Welcome venues are open to all Surrey residents. You don’t need a referral or a library card to attend a Warm Welcome venue, just pop along to your nearest hub to get warm, meet others and access free energy advice. 

You can find details of all the Warm Welcome venues on the Surrey County Council website

Requesting a Safe and Well home visit

Surrey Fire and Rescue Service offers free Safe and Well visits to provide personalised fire safety advice at home. You can request a visit for yourself, or someone you care for, through the Surrey Fire and Rescue Service website

The partnership, particularly with SGN, was critical to scoping the details of how the scheme should operate. Their experience of working with community schemes and customers in fuel poverty was invaluable in helping define the outcomes we wanted to deliver.

Natalie Fisken

Chief of Staff, Surrey County Council