VILLAGERS in Bidford having been staying connected with the help of the Mobile Warm Hub community minibus.
Run by Warwickshire charities WRCC and VASA, and sponsored by Cadent Gas, the bus goes out daily and is doing its bit to beat social isolation in communities around the county.
On Wednesdays it parks in the Crawford Memorial Hall car park in Bidford where residents go along to enjoy free refreshments and a friendly chat outdoors.
Regular attendee Phyllis, who plans her week around the event, said: “It’s been a light at the end of the tunnel, which gives us a purpose and something to look forward to.”
The Mobile Warm Hub has helped create a new focus for community collaboration in Bidford, supported by the parish council.
Bidford Midcounties Co-op sends a volunteer biscuits, and community band Upbeat regularly entertains residents.
Stratford Time Bank and WCAVA recently joined in the community spirit, along with a team from Cadent Gas, who provided practical advice on home safety and warmth and free carbon monoxide monitors.
The minibus also carries flyers and information from other support groups and organisations on board.
Bill Fleming, Bidford Parish Council chair, was delighted with the success of the project:
“It’s kept Bidford people in touch with each other, especially those who wouldn’t otherwise have had anywhere to go, and no one to chat to face to face. It’s made such a difference to the local community.”
From mid September, the parish council will be running its own permanent Warm Hub event, accredited by WRCC, inside the Crawford Memorial Hall.
Jackie Holcroft, WRCC Projects co-ordinator, said: “We’re delighted with the fantastic response our Mobile Warm Hub has received from the Bidford community, and we’ve really enjoyed meeting and chatting with local people every week.
“We’re also grateful to Cadent for supporting this important project. WRCC is looking forward to supporting Bidford Parish Council with its new Warm Hub, which will continue to help the community come together and tackle social isolation and loneliness.”
Susan Greenway, VASA Project Co-ordinator, added: “This shows what charities and community groups can achieve when we work together.
“And we’d like to thank our amazing VASA and WRCC volunteers for giving their time to support this project and for helping to bring a bit more happiness into people’s lives.”
Anyone who would like to see the Mobile Warm Hub visit their community can email email [email protected]
And the hub is always looking for more volunteers –email [email protected] for details. Visit www.wrccrural.org.uk/warm-hubs for more information.