Groups throughout the Western Isles are being invited to be a part of a ‘warm community hubs’ network to support local communities throughout the winter.
With support from Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and third sector partners, a number of community organisations and local churches are aiming to open some of their buildings for longer hours than normal this winter, with activities such as soup lunches, cafés, conversation circles, craft activities and drop-in advice sessions being considered.
It is hoped that the availability of these facilities will play a part in supporting those struggling with the cost-of-living crisis this winter, and to help combat social isolation through the winter months.
A variety of groups throughout the islands have already indicated their willingness to be involved, meeting last week for the first time.
Now the islands’ MSP is inviting any other local groups who would like to be a part of the network to get in touch.
SNP MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Alasdair Allan, said: “Many households will be in a very difficult situation this winter, and the energy price guarantee announced by the UK Government at the beginning of September will unfortunately offer nowhere near the help people need. People’s energy bills will still be double what they were last year or more, and households are already struggling.
“The Warm Community Hubs initiative will of course not solve the problem, but I hope that these spaces will offer connection and support for local people this winter. It is vital that local representatives, voluntary organisations and third sector partners continue to work together to ensure we can offer people the best support possible.
“I have been pleased, though not surprised, by the positive response from churches and community organisations throughout the Western Isles, who want to do all they can to support their local communities. If your group is not already involved but would like some more information, please get in touch as soon as possible.”
The Scottish Government has today launched a new website where individuals and businesses can access relevant support during the cost-of-living crisis: www.gov.scot/costoflivingsupport