2As temperatures drop and people struggle to afford to heat their homes, a North Yorkshire bakery has opened up a warm room to the public for people to use free of charge.
Brickyard Bakery in Gisborough has a room above its kitchen which is empty andheated solely by the ovens in the bakery.
Owner Ed Hamilton-Trewhitt decided to make it available to the public who may be struggling with the cost of living. He realised he was paying double on his energy bill to run his bread oven and wanted people to benefit from the heat that escaped upstairs.
“There were a couple of rooms, just store rooms and it wasn’t a massive leap to decide maybe we should stop them being a store room, make them nice comfortable rooms, and open them up to the public because it’s really warm up there,” Ed told GB News.
“All this heat is all going upstairs and heating the rooms. I’ve paid for the electric so it’s not costing us any extra, but it doesn’t half feel good getting some more value out of that really expensive power.
“We’ve got tea and coffee and on a Thursday we do them a three-course lunch because I’ve got a cookery class that do a three course meal on a Thursday, so we invite the people in the warm rooms to come and have lunch with us as well.
“It’s been really busy, busier than I thought – because it’s cold this morning but it hasn’t been that cold, but people have been coming in and using it – about 15 or 20 people a day.
“They’re coming to have a look and see if it’s genuinely free and there isn’t a catch and coming in and sharing the space and having a chat. It’s good, it’s really working well.”
The bakery is a community interest company that does not look to make a profit, but instead aims to look after the community.
Ed hopes that providing warm room access to all will go some way to meet these goals.
“It costs us a bit to run the warm rooms,” he said.
“But there are going to be people dying this year because of the cold, because of the energy prices, and I can’t cope with that when I can help.
“I’m not going to change the world, but I might be able to make it a bit better for a few people, and if I can do that for one person then it’s worth it.”
Across Britain, businesses are opening warm rooms in their premises to help people save on their energy bills.
Councils have also been asking groups or organisations that can offer a space to contact them following a rise in gas and electric prices at the start of the month.
Suitable spaces include community buildings, sports venues, places of worship, and libraries, where there will also be advice and information for people about tackling the cost-of-living crisis.