A programme of spaces where people can meet to keep warm in Renfrewshire this winter is expected to be published in mid-November.
The council’s Winter Connections initiative will see community and voluntary organisations take part in a coordinated schedule of free events to support people during the worsening cost-of-living crisis.
The local authority is looking for hosts, who can offer a community venue, run an activity or open up existing work as part of the project.
Grants of up to £2,000 are also available to support groups with any additional costs of being a host.
Annabelle Armstrong-Walter, the council’s strategic partnerships and inequalities manager, said in an update to the recent Fairer Renfrewshire sub-committee: “The idea is that this programme is built on the relationships, places and communities that already exist.
“I think we learned a lot during the Covid pandemic in particular about how often the best way to provide support to communities is by bolstering the relationships and connections that people already have in their local places.
“This is very much about building on a network and infrastructure that already exists locally.”
Applications for funding are currently being assessed with awards due to be made this month.
Toolkits and other support will also be provided to hosts taking part in the initiative.
SNP councillor Jim Paterson, who represents Renfrew South and Gallowhill, welcomed the work of officers in putting the programme together, but hoped there wouldn’t be a need for it beyond this year.
He said: “As much as this good work is appreciated, I absolutely despair at the thought of this having to be replicated next year.
“I very much hope this is a once and done exercise.
“My instinct is that it won’t be and that we will be following councils to provide this service every year, which is deeply concerning, and that Winter Connections, warm banks, whatever we are calling them, will become just another feature of the welfare state, as opposed to being there just in times of crisis.”