Penwortham man says ‘warm hub’ helped him escape boredom – as well as the cold

Posted on - 27th November, 2023 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Penwortham, Politics, Preston News, South Ribble Locations, South Ribble News
Leslie Eastham (left), pictured with a fellow warm hub user at Kingsfold Library, Penwortham
Leslie Eastham (left), pictured with a fellow warm hub user at Kingsfold Library, Penwortham

A Penwortham man who visited one of the warm hubs established across Lancashire last winter to help people struggling to heat their homes says that the experience has given him a new lease of life.


Leslie Eastham told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that the decision to drop in to the town’s Kingsfold library, one of the venues offering the service, led to a chance encounter with like-minded locals who have since become firm friends.

His story has emerged as Lancashire County Council launched its warm and welcome spaces programme for a second year, amid the ongoing cost-of-living crisis. All of the authority’s libraries will once again take part and a range of community and voluntary sector groups have also signed up to provide a place of sanctuary.

Read more: Lancashire devolution deal set out with new council set to be formed

Leslie, 63, says that by using the hub he escaped not just the cold – but a lifestyle in retirement with which he had become “bored”.


“I’ve got to know about a dozen people here, but there are a couple of chaps who have the same interests as me in old films and cult TV.    Now we go to each other’s houses a couple of times a week to watch films and old programmes.

Kingsfold Library, Penwortham
Kingsfold Library, Penwortham

“We all think the same and can really relax with each other, even though there is a bit of an age difference between us.

“I always used to come to the library, but hadn’t been for a while – and then I came along one particular afternoon when they had a games group on.   I really enjoyed it and soon got into the swing of things, making friends with everybody, including the library staff.

“Now it’s the highlight of my week,” the former Inland Revenue worker said.

Lancashire County Council’s cabinet member for health and wellbeing, Michael Green, said that Leslie’s experience was not uncommon and showed the broader “positive benefits” of the warm spaces initiative – as well as the worth of the authority’s libraries.

barton manor gym

“[The impact] has been far wider than what we originally set the scheme up for.   Friends networks are building up and people are then meeting [separately], going out for a meal or spending Christmas together, things like that.

“And our libraries are somewhere that’s part of the community.  People are able to just pop in, have a chat and a cup of tea or coffee and they also have access to courses and groups,” County Cllr Green said.

He added that it “goes without saying” that people are still struggling this year and stressed that the warm hubs were “just a part” of the help on offer to Lancashire residents.

“We’ve got things like food support, fuel advice and support, the essential household goods scheme that we’re running and affordable warmth initiatives.

“We’re also working with district [councils] and Citizens Advice to get greater uptake of benefits, particularly for pensioners.  People make contributions their entire life, but sometimes don’t claim the benefits that they’re entitled to.

“We’ve got a dedicated cost-of-living hub, which is something I think is really important, so that people have got a one-stop-shop that they can go to on our website or pop into the local library and get all sorts of advice.”

Applications are now open for community and voluntary groups, as well as parish and town councils, to pitch for grants of up to £500 to establish their own warm space this winter.  A total of £72,000 has been made available for the project.

 Read moreSee the latest Preston news and headlines

caritas fostering advert
Preston in pictures Bridge over the River Ribble Preston Lancashire - Aug.2015Preston Bus 211 F211 YHG (Leyland Lynx)Stagecoach bus on the X2 service to SouthportPreston Bus 216 G216 KRN (Leyland Lynx)34067 engine change @ Preston34067 engine change @ PrestonStagecoach North West 20733 K733 DAO (Volvo B10M-55 / Alexander PS)Pilons View more Advertisement Subscribe to the newsletter

Sign up below to receive Blog Preston's email newsletter. It wings its way into inboxes every Sunday and Wednesday rounding up our top stories and more.

Advertisement News by location

Find news by location, select an area of your choice to be kept up to date with the latest goings on.

The Preston Guide

Discover local businesses and services near you.

Advertisement Categories

Find news by category, select an category of your choice to be kept up to date with the latest goings on.

Blog Preston email updates

Receive our digest of the biggest and best stories every Sunday to your email inbox

We respect your privacy and you can unsubscribe at any time from our emails