Leisure centres in East Suffolk have opened as 'warm rooms' for the winter. 

Waterlane Leisure Centre in Lowestoft and Waveney Valley Leisure Centre in Bungay are offering safe, warm places for the local community. 

The space, in the reception areas of both centres, will be available until March during usual opening hours. 

Councillor Letitia Smith, East Suffolk Council’s cabinet member for communities, leisure and tourism, said: “We know that many people in our communities are facing financial difficulties and I am pleased that we are able to offer a welcoming space at Waveney Valley and Waterlane leisure centres to help alleviate some of that burden.  

“We are very grateful for Everyone Active’s support in this important scheme, which offers a warm space for those who need it this winter.” 

Stuart Jardine, Everyone Active’s contract manager, said: “We know this winter could be difficult for many people, so we want everyone to know they have a safe and warm place to visit. 

“We have a community feel at our leisure centres and we want to invite people to come down and make the most of the space, not only to stay warm but to socialise with friends or use it as a co-working area. 

“It's a free-of-charge offer to just come in and spend time with us, safe and warm.” 

Hot drinks are available at limited times, while board games and books are also provided. 

Beccles & Bungay Journal: The swimming pool at the Leisure Centre in BungayThe swimming pool at the Leisure Centre in Bungay (Image: East Suffolk Council.)

People are welcome to turn up and speak to reception teams, without the need to pre-book. 

The spaces will be open to everyone free of charge, so people do not have to be leisure centre members to use them.

The warm rooms are partly funded through an 'Ease the Squeeze' programme - a partnership between the government and East Suffolk Council to help people with the rising cost of living. 

With the cost-of-living crisis becoming ever more prevalent, the initiative is encouraging community sites to support those struggling with the expense of heating their homes. 

Beccles & Bungay Journal: The new gym in Bungay's Waveney Leisure CentreThe new gym in Bungay's Waveney Leisure Centre (Image: Archant)