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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Hundreds of thousands of Scots huddling in community centres and libraries just to keep warm

This news post is 7 months old

People driven from homes the cannot afford to heat

A charity estimates that over 230,000 people in Scotland in the past year have used free community spaces to keep warm.

They are being forced tp spend time in venues such as community centres, libraries and cafes as they cannot afford to heat their homes due to the cost of living crisis.

Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) analysed research from YouGov as part of its Worried this winter? campaign.

In an example of the type of case CABs are dealing with, a man sought help from his local CAB because he could not top up his prepayment meter due to a problem identifying his energy supplier, leaving him with no heating or electricity.

His situation worsened due to the financial impact of benefit sanctions. He asked for information about community spaces in his area so he could spend time in warmer temperatures.

CAS energy spokesperson Matthew Lee said: “These are shocking figures which show the scale of concern and the measures people have taken to try and stay warm in cold weather as energy bills have increased.

“People are struggling to keep warm in their own home and they don’t want to turn the heating on because of the costs, so they will find somewhere else to get a heat. People being forced to take these sorts of decisions should be completely unacceptable in 2024.

“We would encourage anyone worried about the cost of bills this winter to seek help from the CAB network.

“That doesn’t have to mean going to a CAB: our online advice pages are used by millions of people a year and we have interactive self-help tools to help people see where they could boost their incomes or cut their costs.

“The CAB network gets incredible results for people. Last year, for those who saw a financial gain after seeking advice, the average received over £3,700. That can be absolutely life-changing money this winter. And remember our advice is always free, impartial and confidential. We don’t judge, we just help.”

The charity is encouraging people to seek help from the Citizens Advice network in a variety of ways. People can visit and from there they can choose an option that works for them.