'People are choosing between heating and eating': Warm Shelter in Belfast offering free hot drinks

'Use your Loaf' is one of several warm banks opening across Belfast to help people struggling to heat their homes during the cost of living crisis

Belfast City Council have launched a ‘warm spaces, warm welcomes’ campaign to support older residents in community centres across Belfast by providing some company, a chat, and light refreshments.

Warm banks are opening across the country to provide heated spaces for those struggling to heat their homes.

Temperatures are expected to remain low over the weekend and the cold weather means warm shelters are in high demand.

A warm bank is a public venue where anyone can visit for free if they are unable to afford the increasing cost of home heating.

‘Use Your Loaf’, a bakery on the Antrim Road, has become a warm shelter supporting the community during the cost-of-living crisis.

They offer free breakfast packs, warm drinks and fuel for the fire to anyone in need.

Owner John Kelly, said “the only reason I am doing this is because it makes me feel sick to my stomach that people are choosing between heating or eating.”

“We know that it’s really cold out there and we know that people are under pressure and people are worrying about Christmas, so come in for a free tea and coffee and hot chocolate for the kids.”

One regular customer who is struggling to afford their grocery shop and heating goes to the bakery daily.

“Come down, show your face and explain the situation and you will be well looked after.”

You can find a list of more warm shelters available here.

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