Heated spaces for residents who need warmth and are worried about soaring energy bills have been opened across Edinburgh by the city’s council.
More than 60 so-called “heat banks” have been set-up in libraries, community centres, museums and galleries across the city with activities and hot drinks for those who choose to visit.
Launching the city’s ‘Warm and Welcoming Spaces’ this week, council leader Cammy Day said they will be key to “combating social isolation, boosting mental health and well being, and allowing people to access services and support in a respectful and friendly manner.”
He said the coming months would be “one of the most challenging winters in recent times” with the cost-of-living crisis, rising energy prices, and inflation hitting bank balances hard and forcing many to think twice about putting the heating on.
An interactive map showing all warm spaces, when they will be open and the activities on offer is available on the council’s website where more details can be found.
Stephen Jenkinson, who was among the councillors to call for the scheme to be launched, welcomed the news that warm spaces were now open but said they “should not be necessary in this day and age.”
He added: “The timing of the launch of Edinburgh’s warm and welcoming spaces couldn’t have been better, especially now the temperatures have started to drop and the snow has started to fall.
“There’s about 60 spaces initially signed up to provide this service and these are spread geographically throughout the whole city. Now the warm and welcoming website is up and running I’d encourage others to sign up and get involved and I’d also encourage people to find out where their local warm and welcoming space is.
“These are not just going to be warm spaces to sit around with nothing to do, there is going to be a full range of activities and advice sessions available and lots of information to help with the cost of living crisis, income maximisation and food and fuel poverty.
“As our budgets are extremely tight this service is being delivered at no additional cost and we will just really have to wait and see what the uptake is like.”