SCOTS are risking going cold this winter due to the stigma around warm banks, a reverend has warned.

Tara Porr Granados, who runs the Ibrox Parish Church in Glasgow, said many Scots are struggling to admit they need help through the cost of living crisis.

The American, who moved to Scotland with her husband in 2018, said that despite the chilling weather in recent weeks, many warm banks are still seeing low numbers.

Granados told the Sunday National: “I think it’s a point of pride that people feel like they should be able to manage.

“But for a lot of reasons, often outwith their control, there’s a compounding of factors, and it makes it impossible.

“Even when help is on offer there is a stigma around admitting you need it. So one of the things we’ve done is, even though we’ve named it the warm welcome project, we’ve pitched it as a community meal.

“So the volunteers sit down and eat with the people who come along and use the service.”

For many people, services such as food banks and warm banks are also places to socialise. With that in mind, Granados said the warm space has been pitched less as a “let us help you” service and more of a place to “come hang out”.

After changing strategy, the reverend said more people were willing to come.

“It’s not a new phenomenon,” she said. “Before we even started this we were in a call with other groups who were doing this and they advised us to be careful on how we pitch it.

“They said if we could pitch it as something else we would get more people into a warm space. But you have to come at it sideways so you don’t put people off.

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“There is so much shame around this, of not being able to manage or to be okay, to need help.

“I think our food bank have been running long enough there is a queue outside and there’s a sense that I am not the only one.

“Whereas with our warm welcome space, it is so new. We only had four or five who came along in the first month.”

Granados also said it was hard for organisations to get the word out to let people know they are there.

While Glasgow City Council and Glasgow Life run their own warm spaces with a list of sites easily accessed on one website, churches and charity organisations do not have such a united approach.

One warm bank user, who did not want to be named, told the Sunday National they struggled to find the services they need.

“Part of it is just getting the word out to people who need it,” the reverend said. “We’ve done flyers, we’ve posted on our Facebook page, we’ve shared it with primary schools. But I’m not convinced the word is getting fully out there.

“People should remember that most people volunteering have needed help like this at some point and there’s absolutely no shame in coming along. Everyone is very, very welcome. We just want people to be safe and warm.”

Granados encouraged organisations running warm spaces to upload their details to, an online map which shows where your nearest warm bank is.

People can find warm spaces run by Glasgow City Council at

Ian Grant, church organist at Partick South Parish Church, also struggled to attract people to his service in the beginning.

He said the numbers at his warm bank service varies between a couple and a couple dozen.

Grant added that it was a “sad reflection of the Government, both in Westminster and Edinburgh”, that he has to run the service but vowed to continue it as long as it is needed.

Like Granados, Grant invites people to come in, socialise and eat with volunteers.

He said: “It’s a sad reflection of society that more and more people need to use food banks and services like this. As the weather gets worse there’s going to be an even bigger demand for spaces like this.”

Church of Scotland employee Borugadda Harshitha Joy said many people come to the church just to charge their phones and laptops to save energy. Others, she said, come for the company, the food and warmth.

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“When people come and talk to us I think they feel better,” she said.

A Church of Scotland spokesperson said: “Church congregations are acutely aware of the financial pressure facing many people this year as the cost of living crisis bites.

“Fuel and food costs have risen sharply and increasing numbers of people are worrying about how they will manage to pay their bills. The church is keen to reassure them that there are places where they can go for some hours of the day as an alternative to sitting in homes they can scarcely afford to heat.

“This is a fairly new initiative but is proving very popular across the country. In addition to opening their doors, some congregations are hosting community meals and are finding that everyone involved benefits.

“Congregations are called to serve people in their parishes and at the heart of the Christian message is hospitality and welcoming the stranger. We encourage anyone interested in using a warm space to check with their local church or look online to see if there is a space on offer nearby.”