Shop closes but community organisation still promises 'warm hearts and warm homes'
A COMMUNITY interest company dedicated to providing briquettes to those in fuel poverty is continuing to operate despite losing its high street shop in Barnard Castle.
The Warm Age Wood Company works by giving one bag of briquettes to a needy home for every ten bags sold, but the coronavirus lockdown forced the closure of the shop which was also home to a knitting group that helped raise cash to alleviate fuel poverty,
Gerardine O’Connor, of Warm Age, said: “Our motto has always been ‘warm hearts, warm homes’. The shop in Barnard Castle was an extension of this motto as it allowed us to do two important things – to sell products which provided free fuel to those in need and, as importantly, to provide a space for people to come together and connect in both formal and informal ways.
“This connection has always felt like the true warm heart of our shop. Unfortunately, we felt that we were unable to meet these two aims in the current situation or beyond while ensuring that everybody remains safe.”
She added that over the coming months Warm Age staff would be exploring ways to continue the social enterprise’s ethos. However, briquettes, which are made from waste wood from the manufacturing and building industries, continue to be delivered.
Ms O’Connor said: “We are looking at alternative ways of selling our beautiful knitted products and different ways of connecting. We have the remaining knitted stock – hats, baby blankets, socks and more – and we continue to provide wool for those who wish to knit, all with the aim of creating warm homes this winter.”
The group welcomes people’s suggestions about how it should continue and those with ideas can email email@example.com.
People who would like to order briquettes or know more about the scheme can email firstname.lastname@example.org or by ringing Ms O’Connor on 07944 331065.
Ms O’Connor said: “Thank you to everyone who has made the shop such a wonderfully warm place to be; to the volunteers who helped run the shop, the knitters who filled it with such wonderful colours and to everyone who ever bought anything, and to those who came and sat and talked, thank you.”