What is a warm bank and where they could be opened in the UK this winter?
Summer is behind us and temperatures are rapidly cooling down, reminding us that it will soon be time to switch on your heating again.
Heating our homes has never been as worrying as it currently is, with energy prices continuing to soar across the country, leaving many people struggling with expenses.
With the mounting price of heating and energy threatening to push several households into fuel poverty this winter, local councils are planning to convert public buildings into spaces where people can keep themselves warm.
Here’s what you need to know about warm banks and where these will be opened up in the UK.
What is a warm bank?
A similar concept to food backs, which provides supplies and food to low-income families, warm banks are set to give those who are unable to afford the rising cost of heating a place to go when the weather gets colder.
With the inability to heat homes predicted to be a serious risk for the very young, elderly or infirm, buildings like libraries, art galleries, community centres and places of worship are all set to become warm banks.
This initiative to provide sanctuaries with heating at no cost for those who need it this winter has been put forward by local councils.
MoneySavingExpert founder Martin Lewis tweeted about warm banks, saying: “Can’t believe I’m writing this, but I wonder if this winter [we’ll] need ‘warm banks’ the equivalent of ‘food banks’ where people who can’t afford heating are invited to spend their days at no cost with heating (eg libraries, public buildings)?”
Where could warm banks open in the UK?
Warm banks will be opened up in many places across the UK. London, Birmingham, Dundee, Glasgow and Aberdeen councils are among those planning to provide the scheme.
Officials in Southend-on-Sea in Essex, Sheffield in South Yorkshire, as well as Nottinghamshire could also set up warm banks.
In Birmingham, the UK’s biggest council area, councillor John Cotton, cabinet member at the Labour-run local authority, has revealed that spaces across the city where people can keep warm are being mapped out.
He said: “Whether that’s local community centres, places of worship or libraries, we want to help people to find places where they will be welcomed, free of charge.”
Bristol’s city council was one of the first local authorities to look into setting up warm banks from autumn onwards.