WARM banks across Clackmannanshire will have the chance to benefit from a boost in funding.

Eligible groups could receive a one-off £500 grant from the Co-op as part of their Warm Spaces Fund.

This money can be used to help support and improve banks around the UK navigate rising energy costs to provide free heating to residents.

Mary Laing, chairman at the Alva Development Trust, operates a warm space out of the Cochrane Hall, and says this money is essential for them to continue.

She said: “That money is invaluable to us. We provide hot soup, a warm space, but we also have access to the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) outreach, energy services as well.

“We hope that we can help people sort out their money whilst they’re here so that their house can become a wee bit warmer and maximise the benefits.

“This money would make a massive difference, it really would. We already have some funding that came from the Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund but that runs out in March.

“With fuel poverty and cost-of-living crisis, we’re going to carry it on as long as we can past March.

“We want to make it a one-stop place so that people can get as much help as they can whilst they visit the warm space.”

On top of the one-off payment, eligible groups can also apply to the scheme for match funding.

This allows organisations who host fundraiser events to have their totals matched by the Co-op, meaning if they raise £5000, the fund will double that.

This comes from statistics showing that over a quarter of community projects said they were having to reduce services due to lack of funding.

Rebecca Birkbeck, director of community and member participation at Co-op, said: “It’s important to remember the vital work that community groups and organisations are providing to people across the UK.

“I’d encourage people to apply for our Warm Spaces Funding now and make use of the additional £500 funding as well as the match funding from Co-op so they can provide warm spaces to people in their community.

Eligible groups can apply for the funding at coop.uk/warmspaces before February 28.

Warm spaces in Clackmannanshire include the Cochrane Hall and the Parish Church in Alva, St Mungo’s Parish Church and the Church of Jesus Christ in Alloa and at the Sauchie Resource Centre.