Warm communal places will be set up in Bristol for people who cannot afford to heat their homes this coming winter.
As energy bills are set to skyrocket again in October, fears are mounting about the many people who will struggle to pay their heating bills as the weather turns colder. Bristol City Council is planning to set up “warm places” across the city to help people who can’t pay.
Marvin Rees, the mayor of Bristol, made a plea for help providing these warm places, and money to set them up. The spaces could also provide support for people with food, education and financial advice.
Average energy bills increased in April by £693 after Ofgem, the regulator, lifted its price cap in response to huge jumps in wholesale gas prices, partly linked to the war in Ukraine.
Ofgem is expected to increase the price cap again this October, meaning bills will skyrocket even further, adding more pressure to people’s pockets just as many turn their heating back on.
During a cabinet meeting yesterday (June 7) Mr Rees said: “It almost sounds like wartime, but we’ll be working with community organisations and partners around the city to set up warm places that people can go to if they need to, come the autumn when people need to turn their heating on again.
"We’ll be looking at a number of characteristics for these places and we’re exploring what we can do at the moment.
“It’ll be a warm place, there’ll be homework support, services there, financial advice. Hopefully we’ll be able to align it with some of the programmes we have to tackle hunger as well.
"But it will be a real community hub where we can bring people together, and break down isolation as we go into those colder months.”
The mayor asked for support from “anyone in the city” who has a warm place to offer, as well as financial support to set up the communal spaces, as the council “needs the cash”.
He said: “Anyone in the city, any organisations who would like to contribute in any way to that—if you have a place, we’re looking for places for financial support, food support, educational support, and we need the cash.
"It would be very welcome. This will need to be about a city mobilisation to help us all through these challenging times.”
Credit: Local Democracy Reporter Service/ Alex Seabrook