Inside Britain’s ‘warm spaces’ – where people go when they can’t afford to heat their homes | UK News

“It was the Victorian era, wasn’t it?” Hannay Reay asked as she was thinking about what they were doing.

She is expanding the players’ lounge that her son uses in the summer as a player at their local cricket club so it can be used as a “warm space”. ” this winter – give locals somewhere to go if they can’t afford to heat their homes.

“It was just a big thing,” Hannah told Sky News.

“It’s not even just people on Universal Credit that are going to have a hard time – it’s common, everyone is going to have a hard time. It’s really disgusting.”

She’s cleaning the table, checking how portable smart thermostats really work, and planning how they can turn it into a practical useful space for everyone.

“We’ll have games and books, it’s a place to charge your phone and a place where people will be respected – we just want to be here for the people, with a glass of water and a slice of cake.” Hannah added.

Greenside Cricket Club is one of 65 venues across Gateshead that have signed up to be ‘warm spaces’ for people – similar schemes have been set up across the UK sometimes with different names but they all work the same way.

It is communities and local governments trying to mitigate one of the financial dilemmas many people are facing.

Churches, community centers and sports clubs are all signed up – discussions are even taking place with the fire service in Tyne & Wear to see if their buildings could be used. or not.

‘It got a little ridiculous’

The Greenside Cricket Club also doubles as a weekly food market that Hannah and her fun Pickle Palace team run. They also make pickles, hence the name.

At their market, people can fill a bag of groceries after paying the £3 entrance fee.

The mother of two Jess is a frequent marketer with her seven-month-old daughter, she can’t believe how much people are being pushed into poverty through no fault of their own.

“I think the fact that people are going to have to come here to sit warm, I mean it gets a bit ridiculous, doesn’t it?

“I think the government needs to pull their finger out and do something about it.”

The government of Liz Truss has stepped in by limiting the impact of an increase in energy bills for households from October 1 – there are also various energy rebates.

Hannah is helping renovate the living room to become a "warm space"
Hannah is helping turn the living room into a ‘warm space’

However, the reality for many families is that this is not enough. Inflation, rising interest rates, gasoline and diesel – everything costs more than last year.

For many families, budgets are tight and precarious, so the British government’s help is negligible.

Two out of three households will be in trouble in January

Citizen Consulting has told Sky News that it predicts two in three households are struggling to meet essential household bills in January.

Alison Dunn of Gateshead Citizens Advice told Sky News: “That’s a terrible number. It equates to 24 million households.

“As a network, we’re expecting a tsunami of demand through our door.”

While they do their best to help people this North East England Citizens Advice Foundation has volunteers of their own telling them they won’t be able to continue working for them because they have to cut the broadband in the house to save money.

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Gateshead is one of many places to start planning a warm space
Gateshead is one of many places to start planning a warm space

Government intervention won’t make a difference

National Energy Action, which works to reduce fuel poverty across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, says the government interventions that have just come into force will not make enough difference.

“Sadly, it’s not surprising that people are being pushed to this extent,” said Peter Smith, policy director at the NEA.

“Low-income households that cannot afford their energy will be pushed into desperate coping tactics like going elsewhere for warmth.

“And even if they don’t use any of their energy, they will still spend money and continue to be in debt. Low-income households need more targeted support from the government if They want to stay afloat this winter.”

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The problem they had at the Greenside Cricket Club – and in every other venue that registered as a “warm space” – was that people would visit and then leave – often returning to the houses. cold home, where sometimes there is not enough. dish.

People want to have their own warm spaces in their own homes. In Greenside, they don’t think it’s too much to look forward to.


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