Warm banks operating across Norwich as winter freeze sees a record number of Google searches for ‘warm spaces’

Google searches for places to keep warm have risen steeply in recent weeks as the cost-of-living crisis deepens, new research from Labour shows.

Analysis of Google Trends data finds that:

  • Searches for “warm spaces” reached their highest recorded level this month.
  • Searches for “warm bank” have skyrocketed too, also reaching their highest ever level.

Warm banks are public venues with heating that people can visit free of charge if they are struggling to heat their homes. Labour analysis also showed that Google searches for “how to keep warm” are now higher than they have ever been.

These findings come in the wake of runaway energy price inflation, with the price of gas, electricity and other fuels rising 89% in the year to November 2022.

Alice Macdonald, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Norwich North, said: 

“Sadly, I am not surprised by these findings. I know from my conversations with people in Norwich North that many are struggling to keep warm this winter. 

“I want to thank all the churches, community organisations, council staff and volunteers across Norwich North who are working so hard to support people. We should not live in a society where warm banks are needed. The Tories’ cost of living crisis has left many people desperate.

“We need short term action as well as a proper long-term plan to tackle soaring energy prices. Labour will deliver a fairer, greener future with our plan to turn the UK into a clean energy superpower, slashing energy bills for good, creating hundreds of thousands of good jobs, and growing the economy.”

There are a number of warm spaces across Norwich North. These include public libraries such as Mile Cross, churches such as Oak Grove Community Church and community centres, including the Silver Rooms. The Silver Rooms is run by Cllr Julie Brociek-Coulton. 

Cllr Julie Brociek-Coulton said:

 “It’s heart-breaking to see families and pensioners having to come to us just to keep warm. We’re seeing a significant rise in the number of people coming to access the warm bank and to use the food bank here. This is also having a devastating toll on people’s mental health causing anxiety and stress for many. It shouldn’t be this way.”