Charities, councils and community groups across the UK are opening warm banks helping people who can’t afford turning on their heating.
The temperatures in London are falling but the energy costs are rising for households. The UK raised its energy price cap by 80% on October 1st which means the average UK energy bill will be reaching 3,549 pounds a year. Reports suggest that some people may resist using their heating despite the severe weather expected in coming days.
These warm banks aim to offer a safe, warm and friendly space during these tough times. People can come along, eat, drink and spend a good time.
Rachel Wright, Trustee at Harrow Giving, explains how they became involved in setting up warm banks in the Harrow town. She said: “We decided to set up warm hubs because we knew it’s going to be a difficult winter so we got involved trying to coordinate it. Our council has been supporting it, they’ve been providing things like warm packs”.
She added: “We have around 25 different community sectors and all of them opened up warm hubs.”
Around three thousand banks have already been set up across the country and many more are in making as the days will get colder.
These spaces provide people with daily necessities in terms of food, drinks, activities such as yoga and dance and most importantly, a warm environment.
We visited some warm banks in Harrow to know more about how they are operating and welcoming people.
“When we found out that the cost of living is going higher and that people can’t afford paying their energy bills, we thought of opening a warm bank so that people can come and spend a warm day here, have lunch and meet friends”, said Mr. Kanti Nagda, Manager of Sangat Center.
“When we started, we had around 20 people, and now we are reaching 45+. It is going crazy”, added Mr. Nagda.
One of the warm bank visitors expressed how grateful he was for being welcomed in a lively environment. “It is very hard for old people to stay warm in their houses with high energy bills, so we’re thankful for Mr. Kanti for opening this center until the end of march”, said Chandrakant, a resident of Kenton.
Forecasters are warning that the temperatures might fall to minus ten degrees, so the number of elderly and people with poor health is expected to rise even more.
“The cost of living is really affecting me. When I go to the supermarket and see the prices, it is too much. Also, I have made new friends at the Sangat center which makes me feel less lonely” said Shobna, a resident of Locket Road.
It is predicted that around a million people in the UK will be lonely during Christmas which makes these warm banks even more important where people can unite and spend this festive season all together.