As cold snap bites, more than 20 'warm banks' open for Bradford's most vulnerable

More than 20 'warm banks' are open in Bradford to help those who cannot afford to heat their homes <i>(Image: PA)</i>
More than 20 'warm banks' are open in Bradford to help those who cannot afford to heat their homes (Image: PA)

More than 20 'warm banks' are taking in people in Bradford who cannot afford to heat their homes, new figures show.

The figures come as a leading anti-poverty charity cautions that hundreds of thousands of people on low incomes are at risk during the extreme low temperatures hitting the UK.

The soaring cost of fuel and basic essentials has led to the rise of so-called 'warm banks' – locations such as churches and libraries which people can visit if they are struggling to afford heating.

Warm Welcome, a campaign group, has compiled a map of warm spaces across the UK – with 21 open in Bradford as of December 1.

Warm banks open in Bradford city centre include in Bradford Libraries, in Centenary Square, Bradford Central Foodbank and Advice Centre at the Light Centre and FoodSavers, part of Inn Churches on Calendonia Street.

The charity said nearly 2,700 warm banks were open across the country at this time, including 282 in Yorkshire and The Humber.

They come in various shapes and sizes, and may provide other support – such as food, hot drinks, and internet access.

The charity says that more spaces are opening every day across the country, and that it is working hard to register new organisations that are helping out – meaning that the real figure could be higher.

David Barclay, manager of the Warm Welcome campaign, called it "unacceptable" that people are being forced to decide whether to heat their homes or eat.

But he said that the response from civil society has provided "cause for hope" – with the number of warm spaces rising significantly from just 350 at the start of October.

Mr Barclay added warm banks could also have a role in the fight against loneliness in the UK, providing vulnerable people with community support.

The figures come as a cold snap grips the UK.

The UK Health Security Agency has issued a cold weather alert from Wednesday to Monday, saying that those at risk should heat their most-used rooms to at least 18 degrees, wear extra layers, and have plenty of hot food and drinks to keep warm.

But a new report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, an anti-poverty charity, estimates more than 700,000 people on low incomes across the UK cannot afford these necessities.

Rachelle Earwaker, a senior economist at the charity, said vulnerable people were having to "wager their financial health against their wellbeing" during periods of dangerously cold weather.

For a list of the 21 warm banks in Bradford, visit