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Support over the Winter

Volume 722: debated on Thursday 17 November 2022

The Church Commissioners have provided £15 million to help churches with their energy costs, so that they continue to act as places to worship Jesus but also stay open at other times, if they are able to, to provide practical community support, such as being a warm hub.

I thank the Government for ensuring that churches are included in the package of support that businesses receive to pay their energy bills. Will my hon. Friend join me in congratulating the churches across Wiltshire that have opened their spaces to people in the daytime, providing their traditional role as a place for fellowship, community and support? Does he agree that the churches that have found it easier to fulfil this traditional role are those that have ripped out the Victorian pews, which are such an obstacle to the traditional role of fellowship?

My hon. Friend is a powerful advocate for exactly this type of voluntary community action. The Church of England will always be at the centre of such endeavours, which can be facilitated by churches that make possible the type of activity he mentions. I am not yet aware of any warm hubs in Devizes, although I have noticed some in neighbouring towns. I am sure my hon. Friend will be encouraging his local churches to facilitate such schemes in his area.