Gareth Dowling Regional Organiser (North West & Northern Ireland) and Local Government Support 11th November 2022 Blog Share Tweet Photo by Julian Hochgesang on Unsplash We face a winter where many people will struggle to pay their energy bills, facing difficult decisions on whether to heat or eat. We should not be in this position but Co-operative Councillors up and down the country are leading the response in delivering warmbanks locally. Places where people can go to keep warm if they aren’t able to heat their own properties. In true co-operative spirit, councillors are working with council officers, voluntary, community and faith sectors to utilise buildings and spaces to support residents struggling with the energy and cost of living crisis. Co-op councillors are telling us about the 26 venues already planned as part of Birmingham’s network of “Warm Welcome” hubs across the city, using a mix of council and VCFS buildings. Funded by dipping into £5m of reserves in response to the cost-of-living crisis, not only will they provide a warm space, there will also be advice, food, foodbanks and energy efficiency support for residents who need it. Durham councillors are using libraries, community centres, church groups and area action partnerships to facilitate their warmbanks, while recruiting volunteers and administering grants to support the work. From Lewisham to Liverpool and Stafford to South Ribble, we are proud our co-operators are stepping up where government is failing. And it’s not just our councillors, across the co-operative movement many are engaging directly with the Warm Welcome campaign. The Warm Welcome Campaign exists to support and champion the community response to the cost-of-living crisis. Working with partners of all kinds, to equip thousands of organisations to provide a warm welcome to everyone who might need it this winter.