Midlothian Warm and Well hubs open in libraries

Monday December 5th 2022


Midlothian Council leader Kelly Parry (left seated) with cook/supervisor Brenda Syme-Davidson, Ross Craig, the customer service team leader, at Lasswade Library (back left) and Lasswade High School Depute Head Neil Chisholm, whose remit includes community initiatives.

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

Free hot drinks and soup will be available at two Midlothian libraries from today as they opened their doors as Warm and Well hubs to support locals during winter.

The hubs in Lasswade and Newbattle libraries will provide warm spaces for people to gather alongside drinks and soup and bread during normal opening hours.

They will also have free wi-fi for residents along with books, card games and jigsaws to help them pass the time.

Launched using the local authority’s £1.36 million share of an £80 million Local Authority COVID Economic Recovery Fund distributed by the Scottish Government to councils across Scotland, the #MidlothianCares hubs will run throughout winter.

Council leader Kelly Parry visited the hubs ahead of today’s openings and urged residents to make use of the facilities which are open to all.

She said: “Our libraries and staff have always been warm and welcoming so it makes sense to base our hubs in two of our main centres and to offer free hot drinks and soup with bread.

​“All councillors will be aware of constituents who can’t afford a hot drink or meal so we’re hoping the facilities will be well-used.

“Please come and use them, even if it is for a bit of warmth and some company. Staff are here to welcome you and to help.”

Library staff will also be on hand to offer help and advice to make sure customers know where to go to make sure they are getting all the supports to which they are entitled at the hubs.

​Other #MidlothianCares measures to help people struggling with the cost of living include £50,000 of funding for food banks and pantries to make it easier for local people to get emergency and affordable food.

Plans are underway for a three-month pilot offering support to 200 people to make sure they can afford to wash and dry their clothes at laundrettes once a week.

Free, re-heatable meals will also be made available at three different local venues to help feed up to 200 vulnerable people five days a week for three months during the winter.

​Other help already agreed include £400,000 to expand the council’s ‘trusted partners’ – a network of local organisations offering help and support to those in need.

​A ‘Heat and Eat Fund’ of £279,000 will help families not eligible for Scottish Welfare supports was among the first initiatives approved by the taskforce. ”

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