An organiser of one of the island’s ‘warm spaces’ has said that although some of the venues are well attended, transportation to venues remains an issue.

The initiative to help combat the cost of living crisis in the island has been ongoing since October, with many venues opening their doors to provide warmth last month.

Under the scheme, charities, businesses, venues and community groups can apply for a grant from the government through the Manx Lottery Trust for a grant of up to £2,500 from a total pot of £100,000 to provide these services.

Sue Watterson, one of the individuals who set up the warm space initiative at St Mary’s on the harbour, said: ‘The feedback has been really positive as most people come for the company, the food and warmth are an added benefit for them.’

Another organiser of one of the Southern warm spaces who did not want to be named said: ‘Some sessions are very well attended, but others are under used, particularly those which are off the beaten track.

‘Not everyone who comes are there because of fuel poverty, there may be those who come because they want some company, a chat and a cuppa in a warm and welcoming environment.’

She added: ‘We anticipate that the need will grow when it gets colder for more prolonged periods and after Christmas when families in particular always feel the pinch.’

Some organisers have been told to ‘keep on doing these events’, and hosts of warm spaces are grateful for the government grant. An organiser said: ‘The grant has meant that we are able to go the extra mile to help those wanting a warm space.

Ms Watterson said: ‘We at St Mary’s on the Harbour are most grateful to the church wardens for their support, to the Quilliam Trust which provides funding for the food, and to the Manx Lottery Trust whose grant means that we need not worry about the cost of fuel and equipment.’

St Mary’s on the Harbour’s Wednesday sessions, which provides soup and warm drinks, sees more than 20 people regularly attending.

Yet the greatest challenges that were reported, have been transportation to and from venues, particularly for places which are not on bus routes, and ensuring that people are aware of the initiatives available.

The organiser said: ‘Transportation is an issue. Because of insurance limitations we are unable to offer transport in our own cars, so we try to encourage friends to help each other out where possible.’

In a previous interview about the subject, Kate Lord-Brennan, Minister for the Cabinet Office said: ‘Organisations can include transport in their fund application.’

The organiser added: ‘We also have concerns that we are not reaching people who are isolated behind closed doors.

‘We want to take every opportunity to get the message out that the warm spaces are there to be used, and are for everyone and anyone.’

l You can find a list of warm spaces online at: or in the Isle of Man Courier of November 17.

In addition to the list already published, the following places are offering a warm space:

St Mary’s on The Harbour in Castletown provides a warm space on Wednesdays from 10am, with a soup lunch served from 12 until 1pm.

Colby Methodist Church: lounge Saturdays 10am to midday, coffee, tea, croissants and chat.

Colby Methodist Church: first and third Mondays each month ‘Souper Monday’ homemade soup served with fresh bread, from midday until 1.30pm with the lounge open for tea, coffee, biscuits and chat until 4pm.

Colby Methodist Church at first and third Thursdays 2pm to 4pm craft club. Bring a craft project, read a book or sit and enjoy the company in our warm lounge with tea and coffee and biscuits.

St Thomas’ Church, Douglas: a warm space with coffee and a chat Friday mornings from 10.30am to 12.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints: Woodbourne Road Douglas hosts a warm space every Tuesday afternoon from 2pm to 4pm and every Thursday evening from 6pm to 8pm, offering board games, a hot chocolate, biscuits and a chat.

If you are hosting a warm space which has not been mentioned get in touch by emailing [email protected]