Sheffield warm bank: Stradbroke 'community flat' where anyone can get hot shower to open in November

As the UK approaches what will be a frightening winter for many, a Sheffield community group is acting to help as many as possible.
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The Link Community Hub, in Stradbroke, has announced it is weeks away from opening its first ‘community flat’.

It won’t appear to be anything more than a normal council apartment on Stradbroke Drive.

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But inside, anyone will be free to come in, stay warm, get a hot shower, wash their clothes and use the WiFi, at no cost.

Helen Eadon, of Sheffield Link Community Hub, has been supporting people struggling with the cost of living crisis. She spoke about people's experiences during a Sheffield Council full council meeting in summer.Helen Eadon, of Sheffield Link Community Hub, has been supporting people struggling with the cost of living crisis. She spoke about people's experiences during a Sheffield Council full council meeting in summer.
Helen Eadon, of Sheffield Link Community Hub, has been supporting people struggling with the cost of living crisis. She spoke about people's experiences during a Sheffield Council full council meeting in summer.
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As the UK heads into a winter where the cost of living could cost lives, the charitable group says its mission is create a warm place and help their community with “survival kits".

Community development manager Helen Eadon said: “The vision for the flat came to us as people were even talking in summer about how they were going to survive this winter.

"We’re talking about people who have no hot water or heating, no internet, no credit on their phone, who can’t afford to wash their clothes, who we have to send away with food parcels that have food that can be eaten cold because they can’t afford to cook.

Link Community Hub which supports residents in the Stradbroke estate, Sheffield.Link Community Hub which supports residents in the Stradbroke estate, Sheffield.
Link Community Hub which supports residents in the Stradbroke estate, Sheffield.

"You can imagine the affect on mental health.

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"I never thought I would see such extreme poverty in my area.

"But it proves what a community can do. It’s sad that we need it, but this could be replicated in every little community.”

The flat has been given to Link by Sheffield City Council at no cost and with no rent, following a speech Helen and the team of Link gave to the full council in the summer about the needs of her area.

Helen said: “We want to create a warm space and support hub for people during the cost of living crisis.

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"The thing is, we won’t be able to stay open 24 hours a day. At some point people will have to go back to their cold flats. We want to send them away with literal ‘survival kits’ – a hot water bottle and a flask to see them through.”

The Link Community Hub is set to open in eight weeks – if not “as soon as possible”, as Helen puts it.

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