Film Editor James Evenden writes about the rise in demand for warm spaces across Birmingham
As the cost of living crisis goes on into winter, there has been a rise in demand for warm spaces in Birmingham, as families keep try to keep the heating off and costs low. Warm spaces have opened up around the city, including in places such as libraries and churches.
Love Your Neighbour, a national network of churches and charities based in working class communities, run a café that doubles as a warm space, open to anyone. Head of Love Your Neighbour in Birmingham, Esther Rai, said that ‘It has such an impact on little ones. If they’re huddled under a blanket, they’re not playing. We hear children say their bedrooms are cold because parents can only afford to heat the communal areas.’
According to Love Your Neighbour’s website, the network consists of ‘88 Hubs which mobilise and partner with organisations across their town or city, to ensure the needs of the most vulnerable are met through local neighbourly activity, connections and support.’
Mother of five, Stacey, said as someone who uses the café, ‘Being at home with the children, you’re burning through gas and electric, so coming here, it’s not just letting the kids have a play; we’re saving so much money too’.
Linda Jay Jordan, mother of a five year old, commented that ‘It doesn’t just help financially, it’s emotionally too, it’s a feeling,’.
Love Your Neighbour is not the only service that offers warm spaces, Warm Welcome is a coalition of charities that has partnered with organizations such as the Royal Voluntary Service, the Muslim Council of Britain, and Kids Matter. Co-Founder of Kids Matter Eli Gardner, commenting on the scheme, said that ‘We know this is going to be a tough winter for many, with our youngest children most at risk…The Warm Welcome initiative is a simple and effective way of connecting people and places so no one needs to struggle alone.’ Warm Welcome have over 3,000 spaces available across the UK.
This week, the BBC reported that the weather is preventing people from getting to these warm spaces. Matt Fellows, chief executive officer of Age UK locally, told BBC radio Gloucestershire that ‘Encouraging older people or more vulnerable people out of their homes and into the community creates a risk of them falling.’ The BBC also reported that this week, one Gloucester warm facility closed its doors on Monday after temperatures dropped to minus one on Sunday Night.
Read more News stories here: