A free initiative to help people struggling with the rising cost of living to escape the cold this winter has launched in Hertsmere.

It is called Warm Spaces and provides a place for people to gather, feel safe and welcome, have a hot drink, connect to free Wi-fi and take part in activities.

Libraries, community centres and places of worship in Borehamwood, Bushey and Potters Bar have opened doors for Warm Spaces to operate from and is free to use and open to anyone.

The initiative has been organised by Hertsmere Borough Council, in partnership with Hertfordshire County Council, Communities 1st, Big Local, Aldenham Parish Council and the Diocese of St Albans, with funding provided by Hertfordshire Community Foundation.

Meenal Sachdev, who is responsible for community and wellbeing, said:  “With additional pressures on household budgets and colder months on the horizon, we want everyone in the borough to feel supported.

“Every person has the right to be warm, and we pledge that all who use a warm space will be treated with respect and without judgement.

“Where possible, our spaces hope to provide activities for those who wish to partake, or can simply be used as a warm place to read, study or chat with others.”

Warm spaces venues in Borehamwood include St Michael’s and All Angels Church, Borehamwood Library, Aberford Community Centre and Organ Hall Community Centre

Bushey Library, SRMD London Spiritual Centre and The Red Trust Bushey Foodbank are places to go in Bushey, while Potters Bar offerings include Potters Bar Baptist Church, St John's Methodist Church, St Giles South Mymms, Christ Church Little Health and King Charles the Matyr.

More places are also scheduled to open.

For more information visit www.hertsmere.gov.uk/warmspaces.

Organisations interested in becoming a warm space, or to register to volunteer, should contact Hertsmere Borough Council for further information at: community.services@hertsmere.gov.uk

Residents who are struggling with the rising pressure on household budgets can also get in touch with HertsHelp on 0300 123 4044 or www.hertshelp.net