A network of warm spaces have opened up in Bolton to help people with the cost of living through winter.

Bolton Libraries are acting as warm hubs this winter to help those struggling with the cost of living, particularly coping with the rising price of fuel to heat their homes.

Within all 10 Bolton Libraries people can drop in to get warm and join in lots of free activities such as reading, group events or using free Wi-Fi and computer access.

Visitors can also get a free hot drink to warm themselves up and chat to staff to get advice on how to get help with food, fuel and finances.

The library Warm Spaces are open during normal library opening times including Saturdays, with the new Crompton Place Library also open to the public on Sunday from 10.30am to 4.30pm.

Among those making use of the warm spaces across the borough are the Farnworth Knit and Natter group who meet regularly at Farnworth Library.

The group are skilled at making woollies to keep themselves warm, but they also enjoy the warm welcome at their local library, using the space to meet friends for a natter over a cup of tea or coffee.

The Knit and Natter regulars are always looking to expand their numbers and new members do not even have to knit to get involved.

Bolton Council’s Deputy Leader, Cllr Hilary Fairclough, said: “The weather has been relatively kind so far this winter and many people have managed to stave off the cold and keep warm in their own homes, despite the rising cost of living.

“With colder months ahead, those on tight budgets may soon have to make difficult choices and the Warm Spaces may offer valuable support to some people.

“The libraries are a great place to get help and advice when times are tough, so don’t shiver in silence and come along, grab a hot drink and talk to someone about what help is on hand with heating, food and finances.”

The libraries are listed on the national Warm Spaces website at www.warmwelcome.uk/

The Warm Spaces are open to all, but visitors are asked to be respectful of others. Young and vulnerable visitors must be accompanied by their parents, guardians or carers at all times.

Cllr  Fairclough and Farnworth councillors Paul Sanders and Nadeem Ayub launched the  initiative at Farnworth Library.


The Bolton News: Knit 'n' Natter have been meeting at Farnworth Library for years and recognise the benefit of a warm place to meet peopleKnit 'n' Natter have been meeting at Farnworth Library for years and recognise the benefit of a warm place to meet people (Image: Newsquest)

Cllr Fairclough said:“People can be in a warm space and have a warm drink and meet other people. We’ve recognised that there is a need for it to be funded, it won’t come out of libraries fund.”

She continued: “There are quite a number of other areas who want to get involved. Astley Bridge doesn’t have a library, but we have four hubs that want to get going and want to help the community.

“It’s really important for people to get out and about and I think really, on the back of Covid, people spent a long time being isolated.

“In the long term it affects positivity.

"So come to the warm hubs, there’s lots of things going on you can take part in, but you can also just sit here, have a drink and read the paper, I’m sure people will make lifelong friends.”

Read more: The heart-breaking struggle facing people - and the free lunches being provided

Knit ‘n’ Natter's Elizabeth Jones said: “We don’t want someone sitting at home thinking I’ve got nowhere to go, they can come along even if they don’t knit.

“In fact quite often I don’t get any knitting done!

“But you’ll always find someone you can chat to if you’ve got a problem, they may not have the same problem, but they’ll be able to help.”

She added: “And I think having a warm space to come to, the more they use it, the less weird it feels.

The Bolton News: Knit 'n' Natter meeting at Farnworth LibraryKnit 'n' Natter meeting at Farnworth Library (Image: Newsquest)

“It’s getting them to come over the threshold, and once they come in they’ll see that it’s not threatening.

“They can have a coffee and come and sit in, even if they don’t want to knit or read a book.”

Cllr Paul Sanders of Farnworth said: “Libraries naturally are an obvious warm hub.

“I’m really pleased to see Bolton Council have chosen Farnworth Library to be the first example of this scheme, it’s a wonderful building.

“The offer that is available in terms of reading, there are historical groups like Knit ‘n’ Natter, which gives people something social.

“There is welfare advice, the team are always warm and friendly. It’s a place people should feel they can come during this difficult period.”

He continued: “I think it’s very important. I think it’s going to be a wait really in terms of how bad the weather and winter gets.

“But in any case, knowing financial constraints we’re all facing, to have this provision and this place for the people of Farnworth, Kearsley and wider to come can only be a good thing.

Read more: How Bolton is joining together to help YOU - including the first Warm Hubs

“I would advise residents to come here and use the space, take advantage of it.”

Cllr Nadeem Ayub of Farnworth said: “It’s very good to have a warm place for everybody, where they can talk to each other, not only keeping warm but to relieve stress.

“More importantly, it helps with mental health issues when people of a similar background and interests to support each other.

“I’m very much behind this and long may it continue.”

Cllr Ayub said: “We just need more, even if we can get more libraries, religious places, churches, mosques, that would be really good to encourage them as well.”

Farnworth Fire Station ais also hosting a Warm Space in the area, supported by Bolton Council.

They opened their doors as a Warm Space on Wednesday (November 16), welcoming members of the community in for a hot drink and a biscuit.

Carl Haslam, Farnworth Station Commander, said: "Farnworth Fire Station welcomed the first members of our community to use our Warm Space in conjunction with Bolton Council.

"Tea, biscuits and safety advice all thrown in."

A full list of Bolton Council's Warm Spaces are available here:


Astley Bridge

All Souls Bolton, Astley Street

Oasis Café, Oldhams Start Well Centre, Forfar Street


Bromley Cross

Bromley Cross Library, The Crecent



Breightmet Library, Breightmet Fold Lane



High Street Library, High Street

The Salvation Army – Bolton South, Aldred Street



Farnworth Baptist Church, Trafford Street

Farnworth Fire Station, Albert Road

Farnworth Library, Market Street



St Peter’s Halliwell, Church Road



Harwood Library, Gate Fold


Heaton and Doffcocker

Grace Church, Somerset Road

Hub at the Hope, St Andrew’s Hope Centre, Tattersall Avenue


Horwich and Blackrod

Blackrod Library, Church Street

Brazley Community Centre, Cedar Avenue, Horwich

The Bridge Church, Rock Street, Horwich

Horwich Community Centre, Beaumont Road

Horwich Library, Jones Street

New Chapel United Reformed Church, New Chapel Lane, Horwich

Rivington Parish Church, Horrobin Lane

St Elizabeth’s Church, Cedar Avenue, Horwich

St Katharine’s Church, Church Street, Blackrod


Little Lever

Little Lever Library, Market Street


Town Centre

Crompton Place Library, Crompton Place Shopping Centre

The Welcome Drop In/Bolton Methodist Mission/Third Space, Knowsley Street


Tonge Moor/Fold

Saint Chad’s Church, Longworth Street

Tonge Moor UCAN Centre, Tonge Moor Road



Westhoughton Library, Library Street


To find out all the general cost of living help and advice to people in Bolton visit www.bolton.gov.uk/costofliving, and for more information on Warm Spaces, visit https://www.warmwelcome.uk/.

If you have a story or something you would like to highlight in the community, please email me at zach.harrison@newsquest.co.uk or DM me on Twitter @zachhjourno.