Community groups demand action on warm homes
Published: 7 Dec 2023
The campaign, supported by Friends of the Earth groups from Wales, England and Northern Ireland, calls on the UK government to provide warm homes and lower energy bills for everyone.
Last year the campaign in Wales focused on Welsh Government and the Senedd. This year the focus is on MPs rather than Senedd Members. We are calling for emergency support for vulnerable households, a programme of insulation and energy efficiency for homes, and cheap energy powered by renewables.
Craft to stop draughts
Friends of the Earth Pontypridd collaborated with Growing Space Pontypridd, The Crafty Crew and Purple Shoots to make some colourful and warm draught excluders from scrap material which they donated to the local food bank.
Hannah Hitchins from Growing Space Pontypridd said, "It was a winner all round. We used up so much scrap material that could have gone to landfill. We made useful items. We brought people together across all ages and socio economic backgrounds."
In Cardiff, Friends of the Earth Cymru were joined by Cardiff, Caerphilly and Merthyr Friends of the Earth for an event organised by Climate Cymru in the morning of the day of action.
Life-sized black silhouettes were placed outside the UK Government Offices in the morning to represent people who had died in cold homes last year.
Bethan Sayed, who leads the Warm this Winter campaign in Wales, said:
“It’s outrageous that almost 300 people died in Wales last year because they lived in cold, damp homes – that is 300 too much! Urgent action is needed, but the Welsh Government can only do so much.
“That’s why we’re calling on the UK Government to provide £11.8bn of extra support for those who need it, including a programme of sustainable debt relief. It is literally a matter of life or death.”
“This event was a great opportunity for people to add their voices and concerns. Everyone wrote messages on the statues, which we handed over to the UK government.”
Knitting Nanas of Nant Garw
Students at Coleg y Cymoedd organised their own quilt making event, with help from the Knitting Nana's group. They made this stunning quilt, which they're hoping to take to Westminster to show politicians how much young people care about the combined cost of living and climate crises.
Quilts to keep warm
In the afternoon, Friends of the Earth Cardiff, held a Community Quilt event at Chapter Arts Centre.
The event brought together people of all ages in craftivism – creating squares to be sewn together into quilt to raise awareness of fuel poverty and the need for warm homes for everyone.
Across the UK there were hundreds of events and activities, a nationwide effort, all highlighting the same thing, that no one should live in a cold home and we need our decision makers to take action.
If you want to be involved with our campaign for Warm Homes in Wales please email [email protected]
Around 45% of people live in fuel poverty
In Wales around 45% of people live in fuel poverty, and last year 300 people died from living in cold and poorly insulated homes. We have some of the leakiest and energy-inefficient homes in the UK, and as we go into another cold winter people will again be faced with rising energy bills, the worry about how they are going to pay for heating and the health impacts of a cold home.
Last year we organised a petition to Welsh Government and many Senedd Members took a pledge to keep people warm this winter, and in winters to come. In December 2022 we gathered on the Senedd steps for the first day of action on warm homes. In the lead up to Julie James' announcement on the Warm Homes programme, the aim was to exert pressure at the right time to ensure it was ambitious enough. Read this story to find out more!