Churches join nationwide campaign to keep people warm this winter

Churches are among the 4,000 community spaces that have signed up to offer a warm and safe place for people struggling with the cost of living crisis this winter.

With energy costs soaring, making it harder for millions to heat their home, the Warm Welcome campaign is working with community spaces, churches, libraries, local authorities and businesses nationwide to provide an alternative space for people in need of warmth. 

The Warm Welcome campaign is a response to the current crisis which has left many people facing the difficult choice of heating or eating this winter. 

Over 4,000 places have signed up to offer a warm welcome despite struggling with rising energy costs themselves.  

David Barclay, The Warm Welcome Campaign Manager, said, "It's unacceptable that people are facing the decision to heat their home or eat, but the response of civil society in opening thousands of Warm Welcome Spaces gives us cause for hope.

"At the start of October, we had 350 open spaces, we now have 2,460 live on the map so that's 2,110 new open spaces in the last three weeks.

"The response has shown just how strongly community organisations want to help the estimated seven million people who will be in fuel poverty this winter."

A Warm Welcome Fund has also been launched to provide extra support for registered Warm Welcome spaces. Small grants from the fund are being made available to help them meet their energy costs. 

"The Warm Welcome Campaign gives people hope and builds unity and friendship in communities. We recognise that many organisations will need additional support in order to offer their community a Warm Welcome, and we've been encouraging those with resources to make them available for this purpose," said Barclay.

"But more support is still needed to ensure organisations to continue to rally together and do more to help people who could so easily become isolated and struggle on their own."

Former prime minister Gordon Brown is backing the campaign and also calling for more support for charities. 

"Eighty perfect of families are already saying they are slashing their Christmas spending, and more than 40% expecting their home to be cold through the festive season," he said. 

"What does it say when we see innovation today is not to be found in the City or on the management floor, but within our charities as they desperately struggle to keep pace with demand which is going through the roof? But we cannot despair."