Churches across the UK are being asked to open their doors this winter as a place of warmth and support for people struggling with the cost of living crisis.

Food and energy price rises have sent household bills soaring, leaving many people worried about how they will get through the winter and facing the prospect of choosing between heating or eating.

Last month Citizens’ Advice forecast that 1 in 4 people will not be able to afford their new energy bills despite the recently announced price cap.

Responding to the crisis, the ChurchWorks Commission has launched a new initiative asking churches and community centres to open up as a place of warmth and welcome during the winter months. 

The ‘Warm Welcome’ campaign has the support of former prime minister Gordon Brown and 1,000 churches have already signed up. 

Mr Brown said, “This crisis goes far beyond politics; this is a moral issue – our responsibilities to our neighbours and in particular to those who have the least and whose needs are the greatest.”

READ: The Government has a moral duty to act over energy price cap

The Warm Welcome campaign is being supported by the Church of England, Catholic Church, Baptist Union, Methodist Church, Church Urban Fund, Christians Against Poverty UK, Edge Ministries, and The Salvation Army, among others.

Despite the positive response so far, the ChurchWorks Commission is appealing for hundreds more parish churches to join the campaign so that people who need warmth can find it in their local area on any day of the week. 

Churches to give a warm welcome this winter as energy prices soar

Paul Butler, the Bishop of Durham and Chair of the ChurchWorks Commission said, “Over the last few years, we have seen inspiring and meaningful action from churches across the UK stepping up to help those most vulnerable.

“Through the Covid-19 pandemic, the Church responded quickly and creatively. Now, during another national crisis, churches and community centres need to once again step up by being places of warm welcome in their localities.

“As bills increase, even with government support, millions will be affected and unable to afford basics.

“Churches and community groups are perfectly positioned to help those who need a place of warmth and welcome, but if we are truly going to make an impact on a national level, we need hundreds of groups to pledge their space.”

To find out more, pledge your church or community centre as a place of Warm Welcome, or sign up for the webinar on Wednesday 28th September, visit warmwelcome.uk