Energy & Keeping Warm

A Warm Welcome: Setting up a warm space in your community


In early July 2022, while the sun was blazing, I was sitting at my desk, doing some numbers, starting to feel overcome with a sense of dread about the coming winter. It looked like the
price cap rates for energy, which most of us pay, would be nearly doubling, leaving possibly 100,000s with the now almost cliched choice between heating and eating.

While mulling, I tweeted, ‘Can’t believe I’m writing this, but I wonder if this winter we’ll need ‘warm banks’, the equivalent of ‘food banks’ where people who can’t afford heating are
invited to spend their days, at no cost, with heating (e.g. in libraries, public buildings, etc.)’

I wasn’t the only one thinking it. I was both saddened and gladdened to quickly hear from a few councils and libraries already planning to do just that, as well as many organisations who wanted to help, but were asking how to do it.

This guide is the culmination of that. I asked CILIP to research and collate best practice information, on how to do it, and I am delighted that they accepted the commission. It’s not just for libraries, it’s for any organisation wanting to set up a warm space (the name has rightly changed too, a warm space is a far more approachable place than a warm bank). I do hope you find it useful.

Of course, warm spaces are far from a panacea, not everyone will be able to get to warm spaces, not everyone will want to, and people will still need to heat their homes sometimes.
Yet I think they will turn out to be crucial extra help to get a decent number of vulnerable people through the winter.

And while we now have the energy price guarantee, which has thankfully substantially limited the energy price rises this coming winter, on average, rates are still roughly double those of last winter. So, help is still very much needed.

Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert
October 2022

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British Gas Energy Trust

In response to the cost-of-living crisis and energy price cap increase, the independent charitable trust is currently providing two funds:

•             Individuals and Families Fund

•             British Gas Energy Support Fund

Both are intended to tackle fuel poverty by clearing the energy debts of struggling households in Great Britain.

The funds will cover debt arrears of up to £1,500. The Trust does not award cash payments and will instead credit the householder account.

Applicants to either fund must have received support from a money advice organisation and are required to provide the details of the group in question.

Those applying to the Individuals and Families Fund do not need to be customers of British Gas, though the majority of the funding pot is reserved for customers.

The British Gas Energy Support Fund is only open to customers of British Gas who have not received a grant in the past 12 months.

Proof of income is required to determine whether a household is in or at risk of fuel poverty.

Consumer Rights

A new online portal by Consumer Rights allows anyone in the UK to check if they qualify
for government-funded upgrades. It’s simple to use and takes less than 2 minutes with a
simple step-by-step process.

Due to the number of complaints about scams and cold callers approaching vulnerable
homes, we have built this tool to allow people to check if they qualify using a trustworthy
source. It allows use by carers, friends, or relatives on behalf of the vulnerable so they
don’t miss out on funding. We are happy to work with a caregiver on an applicant’s behalf
where required.

Check if you qualify – Apply for funding now at

Some of these measures may include;

  • Internal & external & cavity insulation
  • Loft insulation
  • Boilers
  • Storage heaters
  • Solar PV
  • Window upgrades & replacement
  • Under floor insulations
  • First-time central heating