‘Heat banks’ are proliferating in the UK to combat the energy crisis

First Amendment:

Due to high costs, 60% of Britons have to limit their heating, and not even one in five can turn it on. This is why “heat banks” are popping up all over the country: public spaces are open to everyone to keep warm. Visit one of them in Birmingham, the city hardest hit by energy poverty.

By our London correspondent, Emlyn Fenn.

About 10 people gather every Friday at the Community Center in Nechells, North East Birmingham. In between her two jobs, Yunfang comes over regularly, rather than staying home alone during the day. “It’s much hotter here than at home. It’s very cold in my house. When my husband is working, when the kids are at school, I don’t turn the heating on myself,” she says.

Next to the young lady, B is biting into a cake. He stopped working after suffering a stroke. He came here to enjoy the company and the heat. “I have a timer on my kettle, it automatically turns off in the morning and only comes back on at night. In the same time period, my bills have doubled! It’s hard,” she sighs.

4000 specific places

In the Birmingham area, nearly half of the population cannot afford to pay for adequate heating. Beth Bailey, Director of Nechells Pod, is well aware of the challenges facing the area. “The people we serve here are very affected by this problem,” says Beth Bailey. “Those who work do it for platforms, like Uber, or on precarious contracts, and they don’t have a steady or high income. Here, our social worker is an energy counselor, she can help them with the process of getting help,” he adds.

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Several platforms launched this winter to mark 4,000 warm spaces (warm spaces), churches, heated gyms open to the public. This is not the first time for Niels. “It’s something we’ve always done, the only difference is that this year it has a name and we managed to get some money to cover the bills. We’re always open during the day, anyone can come in, a cup of tea, a warm up, a cell phone charge… anything we can be a problem at home,” says Beth Bailey.

Avoid perpetuating movement

Subsidies come from the associations, but the city council is not yet involved. Politicians welcome this solidarity, but the movement against energy poverty fears it may not be needed warm banks [Heat banks]are becoming permanent, says Alexandra Considine of Fighting Fuel Poverty.

“Heat banks shouldn’t exist. We know there are many committed people, who are doing everything possible so that their neighbors don’t get cold. But we think that’s not sustainable. We can’t go on like this. We should have invested in renewables.” A long time ago, we should have had an upward energy rate, so that you and I wouldn’t have to pay the same amount as a villa or pool owner.”

Another increase in energy prices is expected in the spring.

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