The state of the cost of living crisis has been laid bare by two shocking statistics on the usage of warm rooms and food banks.
Over half a million people visited community “warm rooms” to escape freezing homes and escalating poverty during the winter reports The Guardian.
“Social contact is as important as food and warmth. It is the thing we live for, and if people don’t have it their mental health will suffer. If you get people together, they feel better,” said Nanette Mellors, the chief executive of the Brain Charity in Liverpool, which ran a warm room over the winter.
If that wasn’t enough, also record numbers of food parcels were given out by the Trussell Trust in the past year.
The struggling UK economy also helped drive more than 750,000 people to food banks for the first time.
The charity’s network distributed nearly 3m food parcels in 2022-23, its highest ever total and a year-on-year increase of 37%.
Over a million children were living in households using trust’s food parcels.
One in five people using a Trussell food bank over the period were in work, the charity said, showing that work isn’t covering the cost of living, especially with the rise in energy prices and food price inflation.
Trussell’s chief executive, Emma Revie, said the demand for food parcels last year was higher than it had been during the first year of the Covid pandemic, “which we had all assumed was a once-in-a-lifetime level of need”.
This is heart-breaking…
“Warm rooms were indeed appreciated for the warmth, it seems, and the cup of tea; but it was the respite from loneliness and social isolation – the “escape from an empty house” – that made the biggest difference, audit finds,” writes Patrick Butler, the reporter on the warm room story.