What are hot banks, this initiative that started in the UK?

Anaïs Cordoba (in London), edited by Laura Laplaud
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8:52 AM, November 27, 2022

In the UK, in the face of rising energy prices, hot banks are popping up everywhere. These spaces, where you can drink a cup of coffee for free or keep warm, flourish in places of worship, municipal libraries or associations.

Faced with skyrocketing energy prices and the cost of living crisis in the UK, an initiative has sprung up across the country: the “warm banks”. Referring to the term food banks, these are spaces where you can come to stay warm without paying anything. The concept has been developed by various institutions such as churches, municipal libraries and associations.

“There are children who come to play, it’s hot”

In this warm bank of a charity in south London, there are comfortable armchairs, unlimited coffee and cookies, as well as a children’s play area and a library, where Kristina just happened. She lives on the street and took shelter from the rain. “I like it here, I come to eat or just to drink a cup of coffee or a tea. It is very hot. And sometimes there are children who come to play, it is hot, there is no than lonely people like me”, she confides to Europe’s microphone 1.

Always more new arrivals

The space is open to everyone, and here we use the term lounge rather than hot banks in order not to stigmatize, as Natan, the manager, explains. He is worried about seeing more and more new arrivals while winter hasn’t even started yet. “The number of people needing our services has already increased and we’re seeing more and more people from all walks of life like this lady who works full-time in the neighborhood and came by last night for soup,” says he. This autumn, 2,200 hot banks have already opened in the UK.

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