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Due to essential maintenance, the following systems will be unavailable from 6.00pm on Monday 2 October until 8.00am on Tuesday 3 October: our online council tax, business rates and housing benefit services, and our welfare assistance form. You will also not be able to register to pay council tax online, make a change of address for council tax or cancel single person discount. You are still able to make a payment during this time. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

What Warm Spaces are, why we need them and how to find them

Warm Spaces are somewhere you can go to get warm, stay warm and enjoy a little company. In some you'll also be able to get refreshments.

With many people feeling the pressure because of increased energy costs and the rising cost of living, our Warm Spaces network aims to support residents across County Durham this winter.

Our Warm Spaces are free and will let you stay for as long, or for as short a period as you wish (within their opening hours).

Find your nearest Warm Space

Finding your nearest Warm Spaces is easy. We have added a section to Locate, our online directory, allowing residents to connect with local services. So, if you are cold you can find out where you can go to get warm, stay warm and enjoy a little company. Some Warm Spaces also offer refreshments, wi-fi access, parking and baby change facilities.

Find your local Warm Space and the facilities they can offer on Locate: Warm Spaces.

Why we need Warm Spaces

On 1 October 2022, the energy price cap increased meaning the average household energy bill is now £2,500 per year.

Even with the support packages detailed below announced by the Government, for most households this support only partially covered the increases in energy, food, fuel and other necessities.

  • Residents in council tax band A to D (or band E where there is a disabled reduction) were eligible for a £150 council tax rebate.
  • The energy price guarantee is a temporary additional measure to protect residents from the significant increases in the wholesale gas price. The guarantee began on 1 October 2022 and runs until June 2024. It means residents pay less for their energy than they would have under the price cap.
  • All domestic energy customers in Great Britain received help with the cost of their energy bills through the Energy Bill Support Scheme, this was given monthly through household electricity bills between October 2022 and March 2023, totalling £400.
  • All pensioner households received an extra £300 to help them cover the rising cost of energy this winter.
  • People with disabilities received an extra £150 to help with the particular extra costs they face.
  • The Household Support Fund helps households who are not eligible for other kinds of help or need further support. The Government announced a further £842 million of support for England via the scheme, which will now run until March 2024.

See our Help with your money page for more information and support on the rising cost of living.