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Millions of people will be in fuel poverty this winter, however, some may not be aware that a new interactive map can locate open warm spaces for people to use. As the cost of living crisis continues to put a squeeze on household budgets, Britons are urged to use the help that is available to them.
Warm Welcome Spaces come in all different shapes and sizes, from a homework club in a local church on a Tuesday, to an over 65s community centre drop-in on a Wednesday and library co-working desk open all weekend.
16.4 million people will be in fuel poverty this winter, according to the End Fuel Poverty Coalition.
People with disabilities, elderly people, children and low-income households are among the most affected groups.
There is an estimated £800 gap between the overall cost of living and package for families on means-tested benefits, meaning many will have to look to their local community and churches for support.
People in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland can use a new interactive map which has details of 4,261 ‘Warm Welcome Spaces’ which have opened their doors to the public.
The app is signposted on the gov.uk Cost of Living microsite.
The network of community organisations, churches, libraries, businesses and other faith groups across the UK have opened their doors to provide heat, Wi-Fi, hot drinks and company to anyone in the area who needs it.
To find out what is available in someone’s local area, they just have to enter their postcode into the tool.
The Warm Welcome Campaign is the community response to the cost of crisis.
The cost of living crisis is already affecting millions across the UK, with many reporting they will be unable to switch on the heating on in the coming months.
On their website it states: “We are determined to equip and support thousands of free, warm, and welcoming spaces in communities across the UK
“Working with churches and other faith groups, civil society organisations, businesses and Local Authorities, we want to make sure that nobody is left to suffer on their own this winter.”
The website explains that each warm welcome space will be free, warm, welcoming and safe.
Warm Welcome spaces will be free to enter, heated and able to provide basic refreshments such as tea and coffee.
The spaces are inclusive, non-judgmental spaces where everyone can expect a warm welcome from staff and volunteers.
Every organisation setting up a Warm Welcome space will abide by their usual safeguarding policies and hygiene rules.
Organisations will make basic signposting information available to people who need further support and help.
Their mission is to support organisations to open their doors and provide a warm welcome for those struggling to heat their homes this winter.
Paula Stringer, CEO of Christians Against Poverty, said: “Millions of people struggling on low incomes are looking at this winter with dread, with families worrying about how to afford basic essentials like food and heating.
“Warm Welcome Hubs are a beacon of warmth and friendship, and across the UK our partner churches are opening their doors and hearts.
“Anyone can pop in for a cup of tea, or more, and be warmly welcomed.”
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