Merseyside residents are facing a difficult winter as energy bills, inflation and the general cost of living soar. Some families already face the tough choice of heating or eating.
With the Met Office predicting the beginning of December will be cold, dreary and cloudy and residents already noticing the drop in temperature, those problems are set to become even more stark.
To help combat the issues, councils aross the region have introduced ‘warm banks’ or ‘warm hubs’ to help protect residents. Warm banks are places where families and individuals who are unable to afford the rocketing cost of home heating can go as the weather turns colder.
Council buildings, libraries, art galleries, community centres and places of worship could all be utilised.
Where to find a warm hub in Liverpool
Liverpool council say the city’s libraries will be geared up to offer a warm welcome to residents this winter - with free access to books, wi-fi and public computers.
The council will continue to explore how other council buildings could be used if needed, buts say their focus is ‘on making sure people are safe and warm in their own homes’.
Residents can find more information on the opening hours and locations of community libraries by visiting liverpool.gov.uk/libraries/find-a-library/
The council are also working alongside LCVS (Liverpool Charity and Voluntary Services) who have compiled a list of resources for those in the city affected by rising costs. Find out more at the LCVS website.
Meanwhile, National Museums Liverpool has said it will welcome people into all its buildings to keep warm. “Our museums and galleries are public spaces, so the comfort of our visitors is of the utmost importance,” a spokesperson said.
Around 40 Catholic social clubs in the Archdiocese of Liverpool will also open their doors to visitors, providing free tea, coffee and biscuits with access to TV and wifi. The ‘warm and cosy’ parish centres are open to all during the winter months, from 1.00 pm-3.30 pm, but opening days will vary. You can see the full list of clubs and opening times on liverpoolcatholic.org.uk.
You can also find any local shops, pubs, eateries and other businesses offering a warm bank service on theWarm Space website, which offers an interactive map of venues that have signed up to the initiative.
Where to find a warm hub in Sefton
From Monday November 7, Sefton’s Warm Spaces will be open to the public, including libraries, places of worship and community centres. The venues and services available differ each day, from Basic Hubs offering access to a warm space to Enhanced Hubs which offer hot meals and activities.
Enhanced Hubs include Formby Luncheon Club, Liverpool Road Methodist Church and Birkdale Community Hub & Library. Warm Spaces are available across the region and the council have provided a list of services available each day.
Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing said: ““Sadly, they will be much needed by those people across the Borough who are in real fear of putting on their heating in this national cost of living crisis.”
Where to find a warm hub in Wirral
Wirral Council announced their Warm Hubs initiative in August, and 21 venues are now offering spaces to keep warm across the region. The Warm Hubs are located in New Brighton, Beechwood, Moreton, Seacombe, New Ferry and Birkenhead across places of worship and community spaces.
Christ the King Church in Birkenhead is offering free refreshments and St Mark’s Church, New Ferry, offers free hot drinks on Friday mornings. Birkenhead Salvation Army also offers a free two-course meal on Tuesdays. The full list of Warm Hubs can be found at Wirral Info Hub alongisde an interactive map.
An additional 62 sites are to be proposed at a Wirral Council meeting on November 10, aiming to offer further support across the region.
Where to find a warm hub in Knowsley
Knowsley Council’s Warm Hubs are available at local libraries from 10:00-17:00 Monday to Friday and 10:00-13:00 on Saturdays. Community groups who want to extend their opening hours to provide Warm Hubs are also able to apply for a Winter Wellness Grant.