With many people expected to struggle with the cost of heating their home this winter, so-called “warm banks” have appeared across Scotland.
Many local authorities have provided funding for community groups to organise the spaces, which offer a warm place for vulnerable people to heat up during the day while having a hot drink, using the internet or reading a book or newspaper.
STV News asked each of the 32 local authorities in Scotland what their plans were for the provision of warm banks.
Over 200 have currently been set up across the country, meaning there are almost as many warm banks in Scotland as there are established food banks.
Here is a list of where warm banks and other cost of living support can be found in your local area:
The council have created a directory of 29 warm spaces with an interactive map of the area.
City centre spots including the Central Library at the Rosemount Viaduct and the Rosemount Learning Centre are among the resources listed. Areas outside the centre include the Culter Library on North Deeside Road and Dyce Library and Dyce Community Centre.
The spaces provide a range of services including access to digital devices, book borrowing and free hot drinks.
More information can be found here.
Free services have been launched throughout Aberdeenshire. Live Life Essentials has been introduced by the council’s sports and culture service. Announcing the services, the council have said: “You’ll always get a warm welcome at our leisure and community facilities.”
The initiative is expected to expand over the coming months but offers services at all public libraries and free internet access.
It comes after the council said it had experienced an increase in demand for food parcels, increasing rent arrears and increasing number of referrals for mental health support.
More information can be found here.
The council have not published specific plans for the introduction of warm banks however, a list of community spaces offering similar services is available on the website. Information includes a full map of areas available in the area.
A database of support available to residents through the cost of living crisis can be found here.
Argyll and Bute
The council have not set up any warm banks but say they are aware of the concept and may adapt them going forward.
A spokesperson said: “Support for communities is already in place with the council’s Flexible Food and Fuel Fund. Working with a range of partners, we’ll continue to share information and coordinate efforts in relation to rising food and fuel costs.”
More information can be found here.
The council did not respond to STV News, however, information about the allocation of additional support can be found here. Community groups are also hosting events to help support vulnerable people. ‘Warm Together’ will be open during normal St Mungo’s Community Cafe, Monday to Friday between November and March.
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar
The council told STV News that warm banks have not officially been considered, however the council say they are monitoring the situation as demand for public leisure and library facilities over the winter is on the rise.
Dumfries and Galloway
The council did not respond to STV News but has published a breakdown of support available through the cost of living crisis here.
Villagers in Moniaive are also hosting “warm spaces” in the area. The Paterson Rooms, a cottage owned by the Church of Scotland, will open its doors and provide hot water bottles and blankets, while tea, coffee and soup are to be served up.
STV News did not receive a response to enquiries about warm bank provision. However, a list of cost of living support services is available here.
Community Regeneration Forums from across Dundee have allocated over £25,000 from the Dundee Partnership’s Community Regeneration Fund to support warm spaces for winter.
Murray Webster from Coldside Community Forum said: “The current cost of living crisis that is now impacting communities across the city and will likely continue for some time needs urgent action.
“We are pleased to announce a number of projects have been awarded funding which will allow them to offer services and help to local residents, with advice, food and provide cosy spaces to help them during this difficult time.
“These projects alone will not solve the problem but are part of the work being carried out across the city.”
The council say they are considering locations within their leisure service, schools and communities which could be used as warm bank areas.
The plans include linking with communities to use public buildings such as churches and community halls as heated venues.
A council spokesperson told STV News: “These facilities will be promoted to local people as warm, friendly places to gather offering unstructured drop ins and structured drop ins in the form of support and activities.”
A community centre in Mauchline in The Old Library Room entitled Mam’s Nest has been included on a UK-wide interactive map showing warm banks in local areas. The map can be found here.
As part of its cost of living support package, the council has allocated £30,000 to a grant scheme to support the creation of warm spaces.
Local organisations who are providing warm spaces in their community can apply for up to £1,000 to cover their delivery costs.
The council said they will not be providing warm bank services directly however said they will support partner agencies who wish to create them.
A spokesperson told STV News: “East Lothian Council is actively working with community partners to help residents tackle fuel poverty and the effects of the cost of living increase. If any partner agency were to create warm spaces in addition to existing services we would be supportive of this.”
Volunteer Organisation the Pennypit Trust is working with local hubs to organise food and warm spaces. More information can be found here.
The Royal British Legion Scotland and local Labour club are among those offering people the chance to pop in for a few hours a day during the week.
The council say warm bank plans are still under development and will be community-led.
It says funding will assist local organisations to extend their hours for vulnerable residents.
Announcing previous funding to support residents through the cost of living crisis, council leader Owen O’Donnell said: “Residents are facing unprecedented struggles as the cost of living crisis deepens, so I’m pleased that in East Renfrewshire we are implementing vital support measures which will provide meaningful assistance to people during this difficult period.
“Many will be pushed further into poverty this winter including those who are facing food and fuel poverty for the first time and I’d encourage anyone struggling in these times to access the help and advice available.”
More information can be found here.
A rundown of where warm spaces will be provided can be found here. Events are held on a weekly basis at centres including Blackhall library, Sandy Community Centre and St. Mark’s Church Portobello.
The council’s libraries are also hosting Edinburgh libraries Movie Matinees with a selection of films on the big screen for you and your friends to enjoy.
Falkirk Council say they have eight public libraries which are open, free to access, warm, welcoming safe public spaces for everyone – with a range of freely accessible services that can help address poverty, inequalities, skills development and social isolation.
In a comment, the council added: “This may include people spending time in them because of the costs of heating their own homes and we will continue to promote libraries as places where people can access a wide range of services.”
A full rundown of support available through the cost of living crisis can be found here.
The council have created a section on their website dedicated to the cost of living crisis and the support available. A section entitled ‘warm spaces’ allows residents to view the areas being offered by Fife Sports and Leisure Trust.
The ‘Active Warm Sessions’ can be found in Kirkcaldy, Dunfermline, Glenrothes, Levenmouth, Cowdenbeath, north east Fife and west Fife.
Glasgow City Council have issued a list of almost 30 different council and community venues which have been allocated as warm ‘welcome spaces’ across the city.
The plans are in partnership with Glasgow Life and volunteer organisations.
Bailie Annette Christie, chair of Glasgow Life and city convener for Culture, Sport and International Relations said: “Everyone will be made welcome in our venues. These are challenging times but by joining forces and strengthening community links, we will get through this together.”
Centres are open in areas from Easterhouse to Drumchapel and Pollok to Partick, religious buildings including St Aloysius Church and St Francis Church are also included in the plans.
A Highland Council spokesperson told STV News: “During its meeting of September 22, council members considered and debated a motion which included the delivery of ‘heat hubs’ in council-owned buildings to provide warm spaces.
“Elected members concluded that The Highland Council would provide alternative and more appropriate measures of support to Highland households, which includes bespoke local financial support to assist residents to heat the living areas within their homes.”
More information is available on the council website.
The council recently launched the Inverclyde’s Warm Hand of Friendship initiative which has been provided with an initial funding boost of £100,000.
£90,000 of this money is being made available for a grant scheme for local organisations to apply for funding for spaces to help keep people warm this winter.
The council has also created a map of places where residents can find their nearest space by searching “warm”. The map is also free to download.
More information about the scheme can be found here.
The council did not response to STV News. However, the council have set up a support page for vulnerable people during the cost of living crisis. They say over 1,000 people visited the page in less than six weeks.
Meanwhile, community centres in places from Bonnyrigg to Penicuik are offering support.
A statement on the council’s website says: “A warm welcome awaits in our facilities. Whether you’re looking for a quiet space to read, a social space for a blether or somewhere for a cosy chat with an advisor, we’ve got you covered.
“Our community centres and libraries have various opening times but from Tomintoul to Buckie, Forres to Cullen, and everywhere in between, everyone is welcome to take some time out in our warm spaces.
“Staff in our information hubs in libraries are able to offer advice to anyone looking for additional information on council services. A number of classes and free groups also take place in our libraries and community centres – keep an eye on our website and social media channels for more details.”
More information can be found on the council’s cost of living page.
The council say they are working to expand their food networks and community groups who have specific funding for warm banks.
A council spokesperson told STV News: “Our buildings are open for a range of activities, and we continue to promote these in a welcoming way which would be appealing to all our residents. This includes libraries, community engagement hubs for older people and locals, community cafes and community halls/centres.
“Community partners with specific funding for ‘warm banks’ will be included in our ‘community books’ and the information app which also signposts to the 14 community food larders. They also have the benefit of providing activities to address social isolation and inclusion in community life.
“We are constantly monitoring the situation and will add measures if we feel this is appropriate.”
The council have published a database of cost of living support including information on available community funding. More information can be found here.
A council spokesperson said: “We are doing everything we can to support residents through the cost of living crisis and have identified 46 council community facilities which will be developed to provide support services. We will announce further details of these in the coming weeks.
“In addition, we are working in close partnership with around 80 local community organisations to help them to enhance the services they provide, such as providing safe warm spaces for people to go and get a warm drink and a friendly chat.
“The council recently agreed to support these groups by providing £450,000 in funding to enable them to develop the services they provide.”
The council did not respond to STV News. However, links to available support can be found on their website.
Perth and Kinross
The council have approved additional funding for community groups providing warm spaces, with £150,000 to support organisations opening their doors to provide warm spaces and £170,000 for community groups and organisations to purchase and distribute warm home packs and provide food.
The council have set aside £50,000 for a Winter Connections programme which will work with local groups to support people in community spaces.
Councillor Jacqueline Cameron, convener of the Fairer Renfrewshire sub-committee, said: “Supporting people through the cost of living crisis remains our top priority. We have already allocated £4.4m into the Fairer Renfrewshire programme that is funding initiatives to support people now and in future.
“Earlier this year, we allocated more than £1.4m to ensure residents and households can get support on food and fuel, including topping up the Scottish Welfare Fund and the Discretionary Housing Payment as well as delivering Financial Insecurity Payments.”
“We are also adding a further £500,000 to support people facing the challenges of rising energy bills and higher costs of living. That money will include £50,000 to develop a Winter Connections programme and working with local community groups and the third sector to help people connect with one another over the winter through community spaces. This will also ensure that people can access advice and support in addition to reducing isolation.”
A database of cost of living support can be found here.
The council say plans for warm banks are currently under consideration. A list of cost of living crisis support can be found here.
Shetland Islands Council has recently announced a Winter Activities fund, and cost of living information and support.
The fund is now open to grant applications, to help community organisations to support people in their area.
The grant scheme is available for a range of community-led programmes including parent and toddler groups, soup and sandwich nights and wellbeing activities.
Grants will support up to 100% of capital and revenue costs to deliver additional winter activities, including equipment, salary costs, volunteer expenses, energy bills and food.
Funds of £500 to £10,000 are available for revenue projects, and £500 to £2,000 for capital projects.
You’ll find more details online.
A spokesperson for South Ayrshire told STV News: “South Ayrshire Council continue to work alongside our partners to assist with the cost of living crisis.
“A new internal members/officers working group has been established and councillors recently approved funding to assist organisations who are supporting communities in South Ayrshire. Discussions regarding warm banks are being progressed alongside our Community Planning Partnership partners.”
The council have published information of a network of different “warm spaces” which will be run across local communities, voluntary groups and colleagues at South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture.
A spokesperson for South Lanarkshire Council told STV News: “We are working with a range of partners on the logistics of this scheme and hope to have more information to share with the public soon.”
More information can be found here.
A Stirling Council spokesperson told STV News: “Stirling Council is looking at the cost of living crisis as a whole, including the provision of targeted support to help Stirling’s most vulnerable households cope with the pressure of rising costs.
“While the council has no plans to operate ‘warm banks’, our communities have told us they would like more activities to address social isolation this winter so we will be ensuring this happens across a range of community-based buildings.
“Libraries will operate their usual opening hours and will be providing free tea and coffee this winter. We will also be supporting the work of community partners through our cost of living grant scheme.”
Two areas of Stirling have been included on an interactive map created by warmspaces.org aiming to inform people across the UK of warm spaces in their local area. The spaces run by Stirling Baptist Church offer free food and drink, free wifi, device charging and space to work. They can be found on the interactive map here.
A spokesperson for the council told STV News: “We are committed to supporting people with the rising cost of living and have recently announced planned investment of £5m across West Dunbartonshire including an energy support fund to assist those hardest hit by the cost of living crisis. Our focus is on supporting vulnerable residents within their homes, and we will keep this under review.”
A community-led foodbanks Old Kilpatrick Food Parcels Hub and Dalmuir Barclay Church, have also been featured on Warm Spaces, an online interactive map showing warm bank provision across the UK. Details are available here.
A statement from Old Kilpatrick Food Parcels said: “We will have a selection of board games, playing cards, newspapers, magazines and books readily available with unlimited free tea and coffee every day. Homemade soup is also free to everyone and if you would like to take some home with you just ask one of our girls in the Chatty Cafe.
“We are happy to offer our space as a Warm Hub so get yourself wrapped up and come on over to our place and keep your heating off during the day so you get the best of it at night. We intend to do our best to make our hub as comfortable as possible and will include the use of fleece blankets to anyone who needs an extra wee bit of warmth.”
An online map of the Warm Welcome locations has been created and is available via the council’s Help With Costs online hub which provides people in West Lothian with cost of living advice.
A West Lothian Council spokesperson said: “A short life working group has been established to consider the impact of the cost of living crisis on local people living and working in West Lothian. A mapping exercise is currently underway to establish locations across West Lothian that could serve as warm places.
“These could potentially come from a mixture of properties run by the council, third sector organisations and faith based groups. Further information on the establishment of such venues will feature as part of a wider cost of living campaign to raise awareness of all the support available to local residents.”
An online virtual hub offering cost of living support can be found here.
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