Trafford Living Rooms
What is it?
The Trafford Living Rooms project is about providing free, safe, warm and comfortable spaces for residents through the colder part of the year. The aims are:
To provide a free, warm, comfortable space to spend time for anyone who needs it
To save people money on energy bills
To provide friendship, activities and combat social isolation
To provide free hot meals and drinks to help with the cost of living
The project will run for 6 months from October 2022. We are hoping that at least one Living Room will be available at all times between 9am – 7pm in each of the 6 Trafford community hub areas. However, the more spaces available the better this is for everyone!
Who can take part?
Any organisation with an appropriate free comfortable public space in Trafford that is willing to open this up to the wider community can apply to be a part of the project. This can include community centres, churches, mosques, libraries, leisure centres and a whole host of other spaces.
What do we need to take part?
Each ‘Living Room’ will look at little bit different, and you’re encouraged to develop a Living Room that works for you and your community. The only requirements are that all spaces will need to offer the following:
The space must be warm (heated) and safe
Seating must be provided
No charge can be made for anything on offer
Clean, accessible toilets must be available
Free hot drinks and cold drinks must be provided
Be accessible to those in wheelchairs or with limited mobility
Your ‘Living Room’ must be available at the same time each week – with a minimum of ½ day each week to take part
Your organisations should also have relevant policies and procedures in place (eg a Health and Safety Policy, and a suitable safeguarding policy). See below for information about how we can help with this.
What else can you offer?
The sky is the limit! Have a think about who you might see, and what they may like. You could also offer:
A free warm meal (slow cooker?), soup, sandwich or snack
A TV or films to watch, or a radio / music to listen to
Board games, magazines, puzzles, books or other simple entertainment such as Bingo
Toys for children
Information leaflets or expert drop-ins on things such as energy saving tips
Free transport to and from your Living Room
Is there any funding available?
Yes, a little. We understand that opening your building each week and putting the heating on will have an impact on your own finances, and many people are worried at the moment. However, we also know that most if not all of the organisations willing to take part in the project already exist to love their community, provide and support people and will already be doing that in various forms. Signing up for the Living Project is an extension of that support, and may well be something you were planning to do anyway!
To say thank you, every organisation that becomes part of the Living Room project will be given £250 to help make your space more comfortable. This funding can be used to buy anything you need for the room, or for any energy efficiency improvements which will help to reduce the cost of running the space.
There is also a small amount of funding available to help with running costs if you’re willing to provide hot meals, and something to help with volunteer mileage if you can provide transport.
We’re unlikely to be able to cover all of your costs for running the project with the limited resources available, however if there are other significant items you would need in order to run the project, you are very welcome to discuss this with your local hub lead.
Who do we speak to about taking part?
The scheme will be coordinated in your community by your local community hub leader. You can contact them to discuss the scheme and work out the best time for you to be open.
Altrincham, Timperley, Hale, Bowdon, Broadheath – Rachel Muter at Altrincham
Partington, Carrington, Warburton – Ruth Lancey at Hope Centre Partington
Daveyhulme, Flixton, Urmston – Karen Glendinning at Age UK Trafford
Gorse Hill, Stretford – Kate McGeevor at Stretford Public Hall
Old Trafford - Christine Aspinall at St John’s Centre
Sale West, Sale, Ashton upon Mersey – Clare Standish at Our Sale West
What other support is there?
Marketing and communication – by signing up to the scheme your details and opening times will be published as part of the project across Trafford. These details will be online, on the Trafford Council website and made freely available to as many people as possible. We will be taking responsibility for this so you don’t need to worry too much about getting the word out beyond your normal forms of communication.
We will provide posters containing the logo and your opening times which you can display at your building and in the community to promote the help you are providing.
Red tape – We know projects like this can often feel like it comes with a lot of red tape! We’re trying to keep all of this to a minimum whilst ensuring that you have what you need to keep everyone safe. You will need to send us a copy of your safeguarding policy and a risk assessment, but we can help with a template for this. We’re currently working on a whole load of useful documents which you will have full access to. This includes things to think about, ideas on how you might help, and details around specific schemes if you were doing things such as providing transport.
I think we’re in – what’s next?
Next you need to let us know! We know there’s usually a process to go through getting approval for these things so we don’t need a firm answer immediately, but it’s really useful to know what you’re proposing and hoping to do at this stage. Time is getting quite short with a project due to launch in October, so if you’re interested please do make a bit of time to think through what you can do and when as soon as you’re able.
Your local hub lead will work with you to answer any questions, offer any useful contacts or support they have and generally help you to get the scheme off the ground.
If you are thinking of taking part, can you please get in touch with your local hub lead to register your interest at this stage too.
Will my taking part make a difference?
Absolutely! Working together this winter we need to provide almost 11,000 hours of warm, safe, welcoming Living Rooms through the colder half of the year. This will:
Enable vulnerable people and those in poverty to stay warm despite the costs
Ensure anyone that needs food can access free hot food if needed
Save on heating and energy costs for vulnerable people
Be accessible to all vulnerable residents across Trafford
Ensure children have a suitable safe, warm space to go after school
Improve mental health by providing social spaces through the winter
We can’t do it alone!