'Desperate' Solihull woman turns to heating up cat food in cost of living crisis

Cat eating
A cat eating food

A councillor has shared the shocking moment he discovered a woman heating cat food - because she couldn't afford a warm meal in the run-up to Christmas.Chelmsley Wood parish councillor Michael Connolly was knocking on doors on an estate in Solihull, when he met the woman.

He shared the woman's desperate circumstances as he spoke of the importance of a community "Friday hub" run called 'Onward Club', for over-60s at the parish council.

Cllr Connolly described the group as "invaluable" for some residents, amid a desperate backdrop of inflation and rising bills.The group launched six weeks ago, offering a warm environment with free hot drinks and warm lunch.

But numbers have since increased, with dozens of people in the local community coming forward for help.

"Heat or eat"

Cllr Connolly said some at the group were facing the choice of feeding themselves or heating their homes. He said:

"It's almost invaluable at the moment. One person who lives local to here was heating cat food. People can't afford to have the heating on all day. They can't afford to eat hot food every day."

Cllr Connolly said people at the group could also enjoy music, crafts and games, saying:

"We've got people who have nowhere else to go. We've got people who don't have anybody to spend time with.

"Some people have partners that have passed away. [There are] various reasons why they want to get out of the house from time to time."There's not a great deal on offer around the area. When we started this we had 13 people the other week. Then we had 52 and it's been going for five weeks."They love it. It's all about having fun. They decide what they want to do. We just go with the flow."