A series of warm banks will start running from the middle of this month following as part of a cost of living charter approved this week.

Such venues include Ipswich Borough Council's sports centres, Gallery 3 at Ipswich Town Hall and the Reg Driver Centre in Christchurch Park.

While there users will have access to hot drinks, a microwave, Wi-Fi, charging points, and games and toys for children.

The banks will open when daytime temperatures below 15 degrees centigrade are forecast. They will be operated by council staff and volunteer hosts.

It was among the steps Ipswich Borough Council's executive approved its cost of living charter which sets out pledges to help those struggling with money.

On Tuesday, Carole Jones, Labour councillor for planning and museums, said: “It is absolutely right that we must do this, and it is absolutely shameful that we have to do this in this country.”

In terms of financial support, the charter states the council will ensure grant funding is targeted to organisations working with those affected by the cost-of-living crisis; benefits and discretionary housing payments are processed quickly, and any government fund for local people or businesses is administered quickly.

The promise to remove the need for the lowest earners to pay council tax from April 2023 is also included.

Councillor Neil MacDonald, Ipswich Borough Council’s portfolio holder for the cost of living and housing, said: “It’s a sad state of affairs that I have to bring this paper to a council in the sixth richest country in the world. A paper to provide the basic need of warmth to people who can’t afford it.

“It sits alongside the six food banks and nine top-up shops in the town – and that’s just the ones I’m aware of. It is a sad indictiment of twelve years of Tory austerity.

“This Labour administration recognises that the national cost of living crisis is impacting and will continue to impact many Ipswich residents.

“There is not a lot the council can do to tackle the causes of the crisis but we can take steps to help residents to deal with some of the impacts.

“The cost of living charter sets out a plan to support residents, particularly over the forthcoming winter.”

To ensure people can access the support they are entitled to, the charter sets out ways it will inform residents, improve access to help, and work with other organisations that provide cost of living support.

The charter also promises to ensure services for the most vulnerable are efficient – including by referring households to additional support where appropriate.

It commits to supporting children during the school holidays through the Holiday Activities and Food Programme.