Thousands of warm banks opening again this winter as Brits struggle to heat their homes

Thousands of warm banks opening again this winter as Brits struggle to heat their homes

Anna Riley visited a warm bank for people struggling with energy bills this winter in Hull

Anna Riley

By Anna Riley

Published: 15/10/2023

- 04:00

Around 10,000 people die each year from health conditions arising or worsening from having a cold home, according to National Energy Action

Even though energy prices are dropping, there are concerns that electricity and gas will still be unaffordable for millions this winter now that the Energy Bill Support Scheme has ended.

So, thousands of warm banks are opening again across the UK this month in public places such as libraries, cafés and churches for those that are struggling to heat their homes.

HU4 Community Trust is a charity-run social hub in Hull’s Boothferry estate that brings people together.

Its foodbank service is a lifeline to those struggling with the cost of living.

People visit food and warm bank in Hull

Thousands of warm banks are opening again across the UK this month


And now as it’s getting colder, it is once again operating as a warm bank for those struggling with energy bills.

Terry Sullivan, co-founder of HU4 Community Trust, told GB News: “The subsidy which we got from the government, which was about £76 a month if I remember rightly, has now gone.

“Yes they’re saying the electric prices and gas prices are going down, but so is the £76 so people have got to find almost £20 a week just to stand still from last year.

“So the demand for the food parcels and food support and winter warmth, it’s massive on this estate, because this is the only building what offers it on this estate.”

The trust founders say it’s a mark of poverty in the UK that winter warm banks could be here to stay.

Dawn Sullivan, Co-Founder of HU4 Community Trust, said: “We live in the West, we live in one of the supposedly richest countries in the world but when you look around here and many other cities and towns or many, many, many estates up and down the country, we don’t have a share of any wealth.

“We don’t have any connections, they want our safer voting, but they ignore us the rest of the time. We’ve just got to pick up the bill.”

Events are held weekly in the community hub come café, with those attending thankful of the company as well as the food and warmth.

Pip Rastall, a regular visitor to HU4 Community Trust said: “It’s a lifeline, literally a lifeline without any question of a doubt. Everything is going up, it is a big concern especially for somebody who is on just a basic state pension.”

Barry Sissons enjoys the social side of the community trust and said: “I was getting quite upset, so I came here. I come here twice a week and you know, it’s alright. They’re all a good laugh.”

Chris Harrison also told GB News that she appreciates using HU4 Community Trust as a warm bank this winter.

She said: “I was on a fixed tariff and it went up from £56 to I’m now paying £112. I think twice before putting my heating on or you know I go upstairs and get an extra cardi or an extra jumper because it’s not just the knock on effect of that, it’s everything else as well, it’s like food prices and petrol.”

Person at warm bank in Hull

People at the warm bank said it is a 'lifeline' for those struggling with energy bills in the winter 


Christine Crabb is a volunteer at HU4 Community Trust and said she tries to make a difference to the people that visit the hub every week.

“It helps with mental attitude doesn’t it really and you just feel like you’re putting a big hug around everybody and saying you know, I care,” she said.

“It helped me come out of myself because when I first moved up here I was quiet and hardly talked to anybody but now everybody will say ‘she’s gobby, her’ but I’m not, I just love being here.”

This season is going to be a tough one for millions across the UK, but centres like this bring out the best of humanity in challenging financial circumstances.

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