NEARLY 4,000 people used warm spaces last winter, a Borders organisation has revealed.

Borders Community Action co-ordinated the creation of warm spaces around the Borders last winter to help those struggling to keep their homes heated due to the cost of living crisis.

The warm spaces, which received £40,000 of funding from the National Lottery Community Fund and the Scottish Borders Health and Social Care Partnership, provided much needed space for people of all ages to come together, enjoy activities and share food and conversation.

Juliana Amara, chief executive officer at Borders Community Action, said: “We believe in the power of community.

"Enabling communities to mobilise for action by bringing people together to create lasting connections and support each other's well-being is what make strong, connected neighbourhoods.

"These approaches are proven to reduce reliance on services, a great example of a win-win situation"

Borders Community Action helped to co-ordinate 58 volunteers and 10 paid members of staff to provide the warm spaces to an estimated 3,900 people.

Councillor Tom Weatherston, executive member for social work and community enhancement, said: “Borders Community Action have done a tremendous job in setting up and delivering the Warm Spaces initiative, with so many people benefiting from not only the activities themselves but also the sense of community and coming together that was enjoyed.

"I have no doubt they will build on this success with any future programmes and go on to provide an even greater range of opportunities for local communities to be part of and benefit from.”

Activities at the warm spaces during the winter included group meals, arts and crafts, music, films, and gentle exercise.

Ms Amaral added: “This type of initiative highlights the value of the third sector as a key player in improving the lives of people in our communities but investment in community led responses is key if we want rural communities to be stronger and more resilient in the long-run."