Cold-hearted Tory Mayor Jason Perry has, somewhat belatedly, got round to publicising a list of warm banks around the borough.
But typically of the dysfunctional council, the listing of 34 venues is offered on its website, which is not accessible for those who don’t have broadband at home and are locked out of their local library for up to five days each week.
Inside Croydon published a news story on November 30 which reported a council FoI response to a question about when Croydon would begin to utilise its libraries and other public buildings as warming shelters during the cost of living crisis. “We have no such plans at present,” the council stated, somewhat coldly.
A week later, the council published an online directory, which mainly lists the efforts and generosity of community groups, volunteers and charities.
The warm banks listed include some of the council’s libraries, though only during their scheduled opening times and therefore not at all for the 10 days over Christmas and the New Year, when all the borough’s 13 libraries will be closed.
“The council is committed to supporting our residents this winter,” said the part-time Mayor.
The council press release disingenuously described the council’s online directory as listing “a network of council and community warm spaces”. The council has not extended any opening times at its libraries, and the two leisure centres which have made warm space arrangements have done so on the initiative of Greenwich Leisure, the operators, rather than the council itself.
The details and locations can be found by clicking here – “Please check the opening times before attending,” the council press release states, less-than-helpfully.
“All the participating venues are heated and free to enter, and some offer hot food and drinks, activities and services such as debt advice, help with benefits, energy saving, and support to get online,” the council says.
“Plans are in place to keep services running across the borough and the council is asking residents to follow guidance to keep warm and well, and to look out for others who may struggle in the cold weather. Council teams will be checking in on elderly and vulnerable residents to make sure they have what they need and are coping well.
“Anyone concerned about not having enough money to heat their home or eat well during this time can find help and support on the council’s cost of living website page and the healthy homes page.” Once again, the digital-only council’s comms department offers no alternative means of accessing the information or services provided.
“The council will be working with our outreach partners including Streetlink and Thames Reach to support rough sleepers – encouraging them to take up offers of accommodation and shelter. People can also get in touch with Streetlink for advice on how to help someone sleeping rough.”
The Mayor, who represents a political party whose leader notoriously once said, “there is no such thing as society”, appears to want society to do his council’s work for him.
“We know our communities take care of each other in times of need and we hope that you can visit frail or older relatives, neighbours or friends, and other vulnerable people, especially those living alone or who have a serious illness,” Perry said.
“Let’s make sure they are warm and safe to keep them well. Please keep checking service updates from the council, the weather forecast and transport schedules to help you plan for the cold days ahead.”
- For the online information and help resources already published by Inside Croydon:
- Helplines and financial aid that can help through winter
- The 21 charities and voluntary groups helping out this winter
- Online support and phone numbers for Christmas period
- South Norwood Pay What You Can Café, Tue-Fri 10am-3pm
- Fighting fund’s £1,000 donation helps at heart of community
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