Diocese of Chichester

Warm Spaces

With thanks to Oxford Diocese for the material on this page.

Could your church run a warm space?

As winter approaches and energy bills increase, there is growing concern people will not be able to afford to heat their homes this winter. This could lead to health issues and, in extreme cases, death. As expenses increase, it is likely that leisure pursuits and social activities (including gym memberships) will be some of the first cuts to people’s spending. This could have knock-on effects for feelings of isolation and people’s mental health.

There are many ways churches can respond to the cost-of-living crisis and support their communities, and warm spaces are just one example.

Not all churches could or should become a warm space. The government’s energy cap will now include churches, as they are a charity, but many churches will still be paying double (or more) than this time last year. We acknowledge church’s concerns about their energy bills in the current context, as well as the impact on the climate when heating with non-renewable gas and electric. The government’s energy price cap will begin on 1 October and last for six months. The government have said they are considering extra support for vulnerable business sectors (eg schools and charities).

However, for churches where there is a community need and the resources to respond, offering warm spaces will be an act of generosity in a difficult time for many. In some cases, these warm spaces will be in church halls or other church-owned buildings, which are often cheaper and easier to heat than church worship areas.