The newly opened community hub at Bishopstone railway station has become an official ‘warm space’ within Lewes district.

Lewes District Council has committed £50,000 to helping groups set up and run warm spaces during the winter months.

A total of 12 grants have been awarded to St Peter’s Church in East Blatchington, Friends of Bishopstone Station CIC, Peacehaven Town Council, Chailey Free Church, Kempton House Day Centre, Kings Church, Sussex Community Development Association, Seaford Baptist Church, Fitzjohns Foodbank, Newhaven Baptist Church, Lewes House of Friendship and Christ Church Lewes.

In addition to warm spaces, applications for the funding were also encouraged to address food resilience, advice – including debt & welfare, digital exclusion and green energy.

Councillor Zoe Nicholson, Deputy Leader of Lewes District Council, said: “When it became clear that the UK was heading into a cost of living crisis, we moved very quickly to put a safety net of measures in place that directly help local people who are in most need.

“Knowing so many of our residents will be worrying about how to pay their heating bills, this latest funding will create welcoming warm spaces across the district that anyone can visit.”

Soon after declaring a cost of living emergency, Lewes District Council put a £250,000 fund in place to support the local voluntary sector and followed this by agreeing £500,000 for households that don’t qualify for the government’s £650 payment, in some cases by as little as a single pound.

Other steps include a council tax reduction scheme that reduces the tax to zero for households on the lowest incomes and the quarterly distribution of the council magazine which includes lots of help and advice related to the cost of living crisis, to every home in the district.

Councillor Nicholson added: “We are doing everything we can to help as many people as possible, yet I still wish we could do more.

“I’m incredibly grateful to the many voluntary groups, charities and churches in the district that are playing a full part in helping others to get through this crisis.

“Whoever you are and wherever you live, please don’t suffer in silence, there is help available.”

A directory of the warm spaces in Lewes district is now available on the council’s website.

Contact Friends of Bishopstone Station by email for details of using the community hub.