“Cool churches” advice note
In the July 2022 heatwave several local Public Health Directors asked churches and community groups for help to protect the most vulnerable members of society. Rough sleepers, people who live in upstairs flats, and children and elderly people are at greatest risk. If your church or hall are cool in hot weather, please consider opening them to the public during Amber or Red Warning Heatwaves.
It is recommended that you provide:
- Cold water and squash – and water outside for wildlife, while you’re at it
- Fans and where possible shading at windows
- Access to toilets and baby changing
- Tables and seating, perhaps with books or jigsaws
- Publicity on social media and signage from the street
- If possible access to a shower, particularly for rough sleepers.
If in doubt please check that your insurance policy covers the activities planned. If you do not have CCTV it may be helpful for volunteers to attend from a security and safeguarding perspective. If vulnerable people are expected, a safeguarding risk assessment should be prepared and at least one volunteer should hold a DBS certificate for working with vulnerable adults. Look after volunteers’ health and safety by checking that they are comfortable with the temperature (particularly in a kitchen, for instance), and are not at additional risk from underlying health conditions.
When a heatwave warning is announced, it is recommended to contact your council to establish whether a local Severe Weather Emergency Protocol has been activated so that you can be part of a co-ordinated response.
For more information please contact email@example.com.
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