Older people will be guaranteed a warm welcome this winter as community centres across Belfast open their doors for an extended programme of activities.

Centres operated by Belfast City Council will dedicate time each week for older people to drop in for some company, a chat, and light refreshments.

The ‘warm spaces, warm welcomes’ campaign aims to support older residents in response to the ongoing challenges of the cost-of-living crisis.

Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Christina Black said this support will be a vital lifeline for many older residents.

Councillor Black said: “A difficult winter lies ahead for many of us as we continue to face the challenges of the cost-of-living crisis. Quite often, our older residents are some of the most vulnerable and isolated in our city and they need that extra bit of help, particularly at this time of year.

“I’m delighted council is acting and reaching out to help our older residents through the ‘warm spaces, warm welcomes’ campaign. Our community centres are such a vital resource within local communities and this new campaign ensures our senior citizens have a safe and welcome space to visit each week.”

Sessions are free to attend throughout December, January, and February.

Older residents will be encouraged to make the most of the facilities on offer at the centre and will also have access to information on other council services.

The Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland, Eddie Lynch said: “It’s great to see the “Warm Spaces, Warm Welcomes” programme running throughout the city over the coming months. Earlier this year I contacted all Council’s calling for a community response to the cost-of-living crisis, so this initiative by Belfast City Council has to be applauded. The range of activities organised will offer older people the chance to get out of the house for a few hours and socialise in a warm community centre, which will make a big difference to anyone who might be struggling alone in a cold home.”

For more information on warm spaces warm welcomes visit www.belfastcity.gov.uk/warmspaces