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Suffolk church offers 'Warm Room' to those struggling to pay energy bills

by Kelly Valencia
Bungay warm rooms.PNG - Banner image
Holy Trinity Church Bungay

A church in Suffolk is helping people tackle high-living costs and loneliness. 

As fuel, energy and food prices soar, Holy Trinity Church has teamed up with Together with Bungay Community Support, to come up with the "Warm Room" scheme. 

The project provides free and warm spaces for people to come five days a week to chat, drink tea and play cards while keeping warm. 

Rev Josh Bailey from the church told Premier the scheme gives an incentive to people to come out of their house and not suffer in silence.

"It's interesting that the stigma of the church building is still a barrier. If literally, the only reason you're coming into the church is because it has heating that someone else is willing to pay, that removes some barriers and we've seen that with people." 

"Some people who have had other needs in the town [such as] help with bills, or help with food have kind of come alongside it a little. It's kind of a relatively inauspicious way to gather for this one reason," he continued.

The Warm Room in the church has also started to become a foodbank drop off point and bags of donated clothes are also kept in the corner for people to take home if they need to. 

From April, the typical energy bill is increasing by £700 and more than 30 campaign groups are demanding the government, to do more ,to support households. 

So far, the government has announced four in five households will receive a £150 council tax rebate in April, and in October electricity customers will get £200 off, but it will have to be paid back. 

The scheme was first started last year after the council heard of people choosing to "eat or heat their homes" as they were struggling with rising bills. 

"[Taking part in the scheme] it's just the church being- what the Church has always been. It's Jesus, welcome for those who need help. The thing that was interesting about this was it arose from the community. 

"We heard the need from the council, and from this charity, and we were able to work together with them to meet it.

"It's been a really good partnership that I hope will continue," Rev Josh added. 

Although the project is expected to end on March 31st, conversations are ongoing for it to become a fully church event at Holy Trinity Church. 

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