Driving away loneliness: the minibus connecting rural communities

helping our community

Cadent and The Warwickshire Rural Community Council (WRCC) are excited to announce the launch of the first Mobile Warm Hub.

The Mobile Warm Hub is a converted minibus that travels to rural villages in Warwickshire and Solihull. Visitors to the minibus will be offered a friendly space to meet up, enjoy free refreshments and take part in community activities. Gas safety advice and equipment will be handed out by Cadent who have funded the refurbishment of the minibus, along with the next 12 months of activity.

WRCC, a charity with a mission to tackle disadvantage and support resilience in rural Warwickshire communities, will be running the service supported by the local volunteer driver charity VASA.

Travelling through isolated villages across Warwickdhire and Solihull, the Mobile Wam Hub service aims to combat the increased feelings of isolation felt by people in rural areas following the COVID-19 pandemic. To comply with social distancing regulations the minbus currently offers outdoor seating. The inside of the minibus has been converted to offer seating for 8 people with wheelchair access for use when restricitions lift.   

Phil Burrows, Customer Vulnerability Social Programmes Delivery Manager at Cadent said: “We are really excited to be working with both WRCC and VASA to launch the first Warm Hub on Cadent’s West Midlands network. Social isolation is more prevalent than ever due to recent national lockdown, with rural communities also feeling the impact.

“It’s fantastic to be able to launch a project like the Mobile Warm Hub in the current challenging times, as communities needs for social interaction as well as warmth and energy advice is as strong as ever”.

Kim Slater, WRCC CEO, said: “We’re delighted to be launching our new Warwickshire Mobile Warm Hub service, in partnership with VASA, and supported by Cadent.  Our converted community minibus will help us tackle social isolation and loneliness by visiting villages around rural Warwickshire, including those areas where there are no existing facilities or places for people to meet. 

“By providing a safe, welcoming space for people to meet up over a free cup of coffee, and by working closely with other community service providers, we can help to make a real difference to the wellbeing of Warwickshire and Solihull residents as we gradually come out of lockdown”.

Kirsty Holder the Charity Manager at VASA said: "Over the last year, we’ve all faced isolation and the pandemic has really highlighted how crucial it is to connect with other people.

“We wanted to bring people together and the Mobile Warm Hub is ideal, especially in places where access to services is difficult. Our volunteers are now able to get the minibus to the areas where they’re needed most. We guarantee there’ll always be a friendly face and someone to chat to."

Malcom Dewsbury is a volunteer driver for WRCC and will be one of the volunteers driving the Mobile Warm Hub to rural communities is Warwickshire and Solihull he said: “Through my volunteering work I have found that some folk need the comfort of somebody to speak to, some have no visitors from week to week and live very lonely lives.  It is always nice to leave them with a smile on their faces. The Mobile Warm Hub idea is the perfect opportunity to bring the community together and relieve loneliness”

The Mobile Warm Hub has now hit the road and you can find out more about its destinations by following this link
 

Cadent

Cadent is the UK’s largest gas distribution network with a 200-year legacy.  We are in a unique position to build on strong foundations whilst encouraging the curiosity to think differently and the courage to embrace change.  Day to day we continue to operate, maintain and innovate the UK’s largest gas network, transporting gas safely and protecting people in an emergency.   Our skilled engineers and specialists remain committed to the communities we serve, working day and night to ensure gas reaches 11 million homes from Cumbria to North London and the Welsh Borders to East Anglia, to keep your energy flowing. 

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Media contacts

Rebecca Wright

rebecca.wright1@cadentgas.com

07899 983792