‘Warm Banks’ across Thanet to help those struggling with cost of living

Cost of living

As the colder weather moves in and people start to worry over heating their homes in the face of rising energy bills, an Independent Thanet councillor has put together a warm bank list for the isle.

Cllr Ruth Bailey says she hopes to see the warm bank scheme become more co-ordinated so those who need help can find the services on offer.

The idea of warm banks is to provide somewhere people can keep warm, chat, use computers and play activities for free, or at minimal cost.

National Energy Action says 12,000 people die each year from health conditions arising or worsening from having a cold home. With the cost of living crisis and a rise in energy bills even with the price cap, many people will be choosing between heating and food as they struggle to pay for day to day costs.

Even with cost of living and extra winter payments to those deemed most vulnerable, energy costs are still expected to bite with an average bill rise of 6.5% compared to last year. This is on top of a current 11.1% inflation rate pushing up the cost of food and other goods. Since December last year, bank rates have also increased  from 0.1% to 3%, making borrowing such as loans and mortgages more expensive.

In response a number of warm banks have been created. One at Millmead Children’s Centre was thought to be the first announced in Kent after a contribution towards costs from Margate county councillor Barry Lewis.

More have sprung up since that announcement back in September and in October Turner Contemporary in Margate opened its warm bank space after registering with the national database.

Fantastical art, books and comfort at Turner Contemporary’s warm bank and children’s library room

Based in the gallery’s Clore Learning Studio, people are invited to visit, read the books, use the wifi, get creative and stay warm.

The studio has been transformed from a white canvas to a vibrant space with comfy chairs, tables, some 400 children’s art books and the colourful Fantastical Worlds display by two groups of Year 8 students from Royal Harbour Academy working with Project Motorhouse, photographer Tim Topple and artist Christopher Tipping.

Turner Contemporary’s head of visitor experience, Toby Parkin, and learning producer Dee Ajiba (both pictured above) have overseen the warm bank/art library and exhibition installation.

Toby said: “The idea is for people to come and stay as long as they like. We are going to have early years sessions after the half term and then we will be looking at after-school clubs and sessions for older people.

“With the cost of living crisis we  have registered as a warm bank on the national database and we want to be a living room space for Margate. People can hang out here and cut their bills, use the internet and the café, members of staff will be here and there are the children’s books, many of them that will be interesting for adults as well.”

The Turner Contemporary warm bank is a pilot project running until January 8.

Cllr Ruth Bailey Photo Carl Hudson

Cllr Bailey said: “I started compiling a list because I thought it might be of use to those who are worried about paying their fuel bills in these worrying times.

“The warm spaces also help to provide a focal point for people to meet up and, in some instances, get a cup of tea and something to eat. The initiative is very welcome but quite ad hoc and needs to be a bit more coordinated so that people can be signposted to these warm spaces.

“Since posting I’ve already been able to add a further two venues which I’ve been alerted to, so hopefully this list will grow.

“I would like to see more organisations such as libraries or leisure centres perhaps, opening their doors where possible too.

“I would encourage anyone offering a warm space to register it on the warm spaces website. https://warmspaces.org/

Warm space list

Broadstairs

  • Queen’s Road Baptist Church, Broadstairs – Wednesdays 1.00pm-4.00pm
  • The Vale United Reformed Church, Broadstairs – Tuesdays 2.00pm-4.00pm.
  • The Pavilion Youth & Community Café, St Peter’s Recreation Ground, Broadstairs – Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays – 9.00am-2.00pm
  • St Peter’s Church is teaming up with the Baptist Church of St Peter’s so each venue can offer a warm space on different days.. A warm bank is in the St Peter’s church hall in Hopeville Avenue in the foyer to the Main Hall on a Monday morning between 9.30am and 12 noon with free tea and coffee and the opportunity to chat. The Baptist Church of St Peter’s in Vicarage Street will also hold a warm bank on Wednesdays at 12.30-3.30pm.
  •  Broadstairs Library – Friday, 10.00-5.00pm

Margate

  • Turner Contemporary, Margate – Wednesday – Sunday, 10.00am-5.00pm
  • Holy Trinity Church, Saint Mary’s Avenue Margate, 6.00pm-11.00pm
  • Millmead Children’s Centre – days/times tbc
  • St Philips’s Church, Summerfield Road, Palm Bay – Hot drinks, newspapers, board games, wifi, workspace and kitchen facilities, Thursdays 11am to 7pm
  • 101 Social Club at 101 Northdown Road – The 101 Soup Kitchen serves free veg soup, bread and tea every Sunday from 11am till 2pm. It’s eat in or to go, free for all.
    If you don’t consider yourself as in need, you can still join in and enjoy a meal and show your support by donating (cash or card), volunteering or just spreading the word. 101 also welcomes donations of ingredients from both residents and local traders.
  • Margate Library – Thursday & Friday, 10.00-5.30pm
  • Cliftonville Library – Thursday & Friday, 9.00am-5.00pm

Ramsgate

  • The Corner, Whitehall Road, CT12 6DF opening from 5 December, Mondays & Tuesdays 9.00am – 8.00pm
  • St Luke’s Church, Hollicondane Rd – Thursday 10.00-3.00pm

Minster

Minster Parish Council is working with Minster and Monkton RBL, Minster WI, St Mary’s Church and the Salvation Army to help struggling residents

  • Free  hot drinks and cakes for Minster residents in need at the Salvation Army Hall every Monday 9.30am to 11am.
  • Free soup lunch, hot drinks and company at Minster and Monkton Royal British Legion every Wednesday noon to 2pm
  • Free hot drinks and cakes at the Library every Thursday 1.15pm-4pm
Westgate
  • Library, Friday 10.00am-1.00pm
  • Westgate Town Council offices, 78 St Mildred’s Road, Monday to Thursday, 10am to 12.30pm.
Birchington
  • Library, Friday, 9.30am-5.00pm

Food parcels – Please enquire with Penny Gimes on 07500 554510 or parish clerk 01843 821339

27 Comments

  1. Paying for warm spaces for many more places and for much longer hours would be a much use of the £2million quid lavished on the albino jumbo of Cliffsend station!

  2. What a situation we are in! How has it reached a situation where one of the richest countries on Earth has to offer “warm banks” so folk can endure the winter? What happened to the North Sea bonanza? What’s happened to our oil and gas? Why are we paying vast sums to energy producers, profits that are not attracting windfall taxes? And no – it’s got sod all to do with Ukraine. Energy companies were going under long before Russia invaded.

  3. Who is paying the heating bill for Turner.. Is it another rent free situation like poor old Winter Gardens. My eyes water. What if they cant get to turner because fairs are not cheap on buses. Why would I want to be warm in a cold turner. What is your heating bill cllr ruth Bailey

    • For senior citizens, bus travel is free.
      In fact, travelling round and round on the Loop, or going to Canterbury and back on a warm bus, is an option for cold pensioners.

      • I can remember when I retired almost 10 years ago, I joked about getting on a bus from Margate to Canterbury with a flask and sandwiches to keep warm and save on my energy costs. Yet here we are and it has become a reality, if only had the same for thought with the winning lottery ticket numbers.
        Don’t forget whose responsible for this debacle……..and it wasn’t Putin, Corbyn or anyone other than this latest version of the Tory party would have you believe. Just make sure that you check on any elderly neighbour this winter and show this government that most of us do care.

  4. what a world , our prime minister is a multi millionaire – he tells us hard times are ahead , not for him and his crones obviously , this lot are out of touch with whats happening in our forgotten towns

  5. £1.35p (free refills~self serve machine) for as much tea,various coffee’s, hot chocolate you want,stay as long as you want in a warm place.

    Ramsgate wetherspoons

  6. I wonder if Turner Contemporary will welcome the 34 Gallery Assistants they abruptly terminated the employment of during lockdown Nov 2020 just before Christmas when the Government extended the Furlough scheme. Not a very merry Christmas. Toby Parkin, was okay tho and got promoted.

  7. People like the current prime minister have got richer since Truss blew up the economy. It’s a sad state but they are only interested in amassing personal wealth whilst telling us to struggle. The Tory party is the only party to say the will not claim Christmas parties on expenses too. Whilst tax payers use warm banks they will party on fine food at your expense.

    How have we let it get to this….

  8. It’s unbelievable that we have to do this as a society when the Government refuse to change the “non dom” tax rules which could bring in an estimated £3bn in extra tax a year.

    Rishi has personally benefited from this as his wife has raked it in and it is another case of incredibly wealthy Government ministers protecting their own whilst having complete contempt for the electorate.

    Please remember this if you’re tempted to vote Conservative in the future.

  9. Its scandalous that people should have to huddle together for warmth, in a space made for them so they don’t die of hyperthermia! Remind me, what century is this? Oh! right the 19th! This Tory government keeps banging on about growth, but the only growth I can see appears to be in Food Banks, Happy Christmas everybody!

    • PS. What happened to Mackinlay on Monday then? I received his email which was largely about migrants, who are coming here in unseaworthy boats as a direct result of Mackinlay’s policy to leave the EU. As usual he blamed the victims! Vote him out next time!

      • Yes Peter, that curious anomaly has puzzled me for years, and I can only put it down to people “snacking” on cheap processed food, rather than buying, and cooking vegetables to make a meal.

  10. I was 66 a couple of months ago and have my free bus pass. In fact got it 10 days before my birthday and it was valid for immediate use. You can apply up to 6 weeks before your 66th birthday.

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