Hard-up Brits are resorting to hanging out in bakeries in a bid to stay toasty this winter.
Families are seeking comfort in their local bread shops as the cost-of-living crisis pushes heating bills ever higher.
Some bakeries are even opening "warm rooms" to accommodate the extra visitors.
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Ed Hamilton-Trewhitt has opened one at his bakery in Guisborough, near Redcar in North Yorkshire.
He said: “I got the idea from listening to the news about energy poverty and the problems people are facing at the moment. It seemed like a no brainer really.”
The Brickyard Bakery owner, 55, now hosts chilly visitors in the room above his bread oven.
It was previously empty, despite being constantly heated by the old-fashioned range – which costs £2,000 a month to run.
He added: “I now pay twice as much as I was six months ago for the energy.
The opportunity to get a second use out of it might not bring cash into the business, but it can bring some use to people.
“People are desperate to have a nice, warm space. I’ve spoken to my customers and some of them have told me that they are considering travelling around on the bus because at least it’s warm on the bus.”
Warm room users can enjoy a hot cuppa, read a book or do a jigsaw in the knowledge that no-one is judging them.
“They know nobody is going to charge them or look at them funny,” said Ed.
All we do is make sure that the space is nice and clean and we keep the tea and coffee stocked up for them.”
Venues offering a similar service include Pudsey Parish Church in Leeds, West Yorkshire, where visitors can watch films, play board games and even work using free wifi.
Holy Trinity Church in Cleeve, Somerset, is planning to follow suit by opening a warm room in November.
Volunteer Lyn Mortimer said: “The room will be open to everyone in the Cleeve community.
It will give people the opportunity to turn off their heating at home and come and join us.”
It follows last week’s news that many Brits are now heading to the pub instead of putting on their heating.
Meanwhile the cost of coal and firewood has soared as households prepare for a Victorian-style cold spell.
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