In the UK, the most deprived escape the cold in libraries

“It’s a very warm place to come, given the cost of heating these days”, says Marina Flynn: he spends his day in a library in the east of England, where more and more residents struggling to pay their bills.

“It’s as cold at home as outside this winter,” the 54-year-old told AFP, as the temperature in Ipswich peaked at 5 degrees on this day in late January.

Unemployed, Marina Flynn has been coming regularly for a year to the Chantry Library, to warm up, have fun and also for the distribution of food or toiletries.

The United Kingdom, where inflation has exceeded 10% for months, is going through a severe cost of living crisis and millions of Britons can no longer afford to eat or heat properly.

Municipal libraries and other community centers or premises serve as heated reception areas for the poorest inhabitants.

Galloping inflation that weakens the poorest

“I use the food bank a lot (…) I can no longer afford to buy food” adds Marina Flynn, sitting reading a book, and forced to force her voice to be heard among the babble of toddlers and babies who came with their parents or nannies to take part in a musical activity.

Faced with their increased role in communities, public libraries in the UK, funded by local councils but which have suffered major budget cuts since the financial crisis, have had to raise additional funds or rely on volunteers. .

With inflation and electricity bills soaring, a charity specializing in library access, Cilip, has issued guidelines for organizations that wish to establish these “heating points”, such as churches or halls. municipal.

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