The government is working with Manx Lottery Trust to provide a warm spaces for people hit by the rising cost of heating.

The scheme was launched by the Cabinet Office last month and many organisations have now started to offer venues where people gather to keep warm.

Under the scheme, charities, community organisations or local authorities can apply for funding to help people get together, keep warm, not be socially isolated and enjoy hot refreshments.

Organisations can apply for between £300 and £2,500 to provide these services.

The applications for the fund have been open since October 1, and as we went to press, there were 25 applications, however this number is growing.

MHKs Kate Lord-Brennan and Sarah Maltby attended a warm space run by Age Concern at the Manx Legion, and said there were about 40 attendees.

Ms Lord-Brennan, Minister for the Cabinet Office, said: ‘It’s really heartening to see that it is adding to the support community groups, charities and local authorities already provide.

‘It’s only a small part of the measures we have put in place to help people with the cost of living, it’s not the whole answer but it is a softer, more social approach.’

Mrs Maltby, MHK and trustee of the Manx Lottery Trust, said: ‘Those who attend are often pointed in the right direction for extra support they might need, which is great.’

However, there have been concerns from organisers about people getting there.

An organiser of a couple of the initiatives in the south said: ‘One of the issues is transport. A lot of the people that would benefit from this cannot get there, not everyone can take the bus for various reasons.

They added: ‘Some of the venues that are less attended seem to be the ones that aren’t on bus routes, however it is early days.’

Ms Lord-Brennan said: ‘Organisations can include transport in their fund application.

Mrs Maltby added: ‘This is all about letting communities lead this organically with as little government intervention as possible.’

Another concern raised by an organiser was reaching people who would benefit from it.

They said: ‘Ninety per cent of the people we work with don’t have internet, in some cases because they can’t afford it.

‘It can be really difficult to reach the people who are isolated at home, without heating or internet.’

Bodies involved include local authorities, swimming pools and community groups.

Mrs Maltby said: ‘Most of the fund applications have been accepted, and in the cases where they haven’t, it has been a case of referring them to another fund.

She added: ‘As it is Manx Lottery Trust who handle the applications, they are able to process them much quicker than the government would, which means, applicants are hearing back in a matter of days.’

The fund closes on April 1, 2023.