Third of community buildings see utility costs increase by over 60%

10th January 2023

Community Buildings Barometer Report findings 

Following on from the recent State of the Sector survey carried out by Pro Bono Economics and the VCSE Data and Insights National Observatory at Nottingham Trent University, Leeds-based Community Matters conducted some follow up research with a subset of the questions just targeting community buildings, with the results showing that a third of local charities have seen an increase of 60% or higher in their utility costs since September 2021.

The research also found many organisations have been partially insulated from large increases in utility costs by having a fixed tariff, but approximately half of these will expire from March 2023. Around three quarters of respondents to the Community Matters’ Community Building Barometer – which received 121 responses from around the UK – reported increased need for their services given the current cost-of-living crisis. The report also found that 47% of respondents were acting as warm hubs, although there is an issue that the funding for this is very ad hoc with some having to fund this from their own reserves.

One respondent said they had seen energy bills rise from £300 a month to £3,800 a month and that they were using all of their organisation’s reserves to cope. The report states that because of their funding model, community spaces are especially vulnerable to the current large rises in utility costs.

Read the full briefing paper here community-building-barometer.pdf (

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