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

Anaïs Cordoba (in London), edited by Laura Laplaud
modified to

8:52 a.m., November 27, 2022

In the United Kingdom, in the face of rising energy prices, hot banks are springing up everywhere. These spaces where you can drink a coffee for free or stay warm are flourishing in places of worship, municipal libraries or associations.

Faced with soaring energy prices and the crisis in the cost of living in the United Kingdom, an initiative has sprung up all over the country: the “hot banks”. In reference to the term food banks, these are spaces where you can come to stay warm without paying anything. The concept is developed by various institutions such as places of worship, municipal libraries and associations.

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

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

Always more new arrivals

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

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