Council offers warm spaces – at libraries closed for Christmas

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:

About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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5 Responses to Council offers warm spaces – at libraries closed for Christmas

  1. Is this the same Jason Perry that (allegedly) stole homeless people’s tents and sleeping bags? They should move into in his new gaff in Castlemaine Avenue, it’s more than big enough for his needs, despite his considerable bulk

  2. Ian Kierans says:

    Well done Croydon Mayor and Council Executive.

    I would be a tad cynicalthinking this does appear to be a deviant method to obfuscate a lack of actual Council activity.

    Did some bright spark think – ”lets group up everyone we can think of that is providing a warm space and lump it with what we might be able to provide in theory if we are open (but we know we are not). Does not matter that many are charities using Volunteers or even poorly paid workers who also do additional hours free – anyone – does not matter as long as their hard work and efforts can be used to obscure the little this Council are doing. We can then signpost people to this and pretend we are meeting our responsibilities.? Perhaps someone took that list and gave it to this Mayor maybe it was also used to answer the FOI request?

    Whatever the reason or if this site is being used for political purposes by the Mayor – it is not really the point. Nor is the fact that at present the Directory is sparse at best.

    What is certain is that the Warm space Directory is a good idea.

    It sounds great until
    Broad Green
    at rising from 11,000 to its current 20,000 and the most populated wards in the Borough thanks to shit planning (or lack of it) and little increase in services. Strangely despite many developers enriching the Council not a lot has been invested back into this ward. £20m of Riot money went where? a crap road narrowing and an LTN causing misery for thousands? Well like all the services purported to be available or including Mandatory there is only Broad Green Library on the list which is Closed 24 December to 2 January oops. So much for the Big Local Broad Green how are they not included? – were they missed? had funding cut? Not equipped?

    Then Thornton Heath
    Ah just the Library again but at least its open 3 days but again Closed 24 December to 2 January.

    Think it could get worse – oh yes – type in Selhurst another deprived and overpopulated area, home to a Premier League Football Club and there is just – No Library.
    But the Palace For Life Foundation is open on Tuesday for 2 hours – Well done to them for assisting this Councils FOI response – are they aware? But this is the Clubs Charity centred around helping our young – not about giving a warm space to older vulnerable adults. Perhaps they are doing additional stuff? Perhaps they can shed light on why they have been included for those two hours? (what about getting the team together and opening the catering areas and doing some social events each day for groups now that’s something to donate for.
    I am hoping that some idiot did not add them without knowing what they are about? –

    Same as Thornton Heath – amazing – Both Libraries are going to be overcrowded – ah nope – they are both closed!

    Well no favouritism here for Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care Ms Hopley – just the Library open for three days and then wait for it Closed 24 December to 2 January. So how does that marry with the Cabinet role – not able to set any example here? Or is it must level down time?

    And the Good

    Waddon – now we are talking
    Free tea, coffee and biscuits. Free hot shower also available.

    Dates – From 5 December – days Monday, Wednesday and Friday

    Time 1pm to 3pm

    The Oval Tavern – (Congrats to Greens Councillor Ms Sutton for putting her pub where her humanity is. -0
    Depending on busy times, we can accommodate around 20 people. 30 at quieter times during weekday afternoons.

    Monday to Saturday 12 noon to 11pm

    Sunday 4pm to 10.30pm All ages welcome during the day but no under 18’s after 9pm
    I am not going into the Ugly look them up yourself.

    In short this is still a very good idea that is placed on a a reasonably developed site and if as many of the people/organisations/bodies that can do something are able to add to that list – even if for a day or two in any area until early March than many in Croydon will be alive and grateful for that.
    If organisations including libraries print out other spaces that are open and place those in their windows now – those without digital means would still see them if they visited those premises that are closed again thinking Libraries and staff.

    If all 70 Councillors and three MPs worked their phone book and contacted anyone or any company to enable another place to be added or support to those organisations to do a bit more – it will not be wasted time or effort.

    It would be nice if this Mayor stopped trying to publish his face and he stated the Council are doing nothing – but they the Council can acknowledge that and still facilitate those that can and help organise it even with just administrative know how and advice – ana then get behind them and thank them for their public service in the face of adversity.
    Much more honest and not so self serving!

  3. Billy James says:

    Is this the same Jason Perry who has left the disabled people at Cherry Orchard Garden Centre without any heating in their greenhouse?

    Shame on you……..

    • Tell us more Billy. Turning off the heating in a greenhouse isn’t just bad for the staff, it could be fatal for the stock

      • Billy James says:

        You are most certainly correct I think tender plants require some heat or are kaput.
        It certainly looks like a dirty tactic by Perry and the rest of his propert developing cabinet masquerading as alleged councillors to destroy the stock.

        Remember Perry what goes around comes around..

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