With the cost of living beginning to bite and people having to choose between heating and eating, an Irvine church is throwing their doors open to allow struggling people to do both.

Three sessions are being organised each week at Fullarton Connexions until March or April, under the Warm Spaces initiative being backed by the Church of Scotland.

As food costs and heating charges spiral out of control, the church feel they must act and help people save on costs.

Ashley Vaughan, Fullarton Connexions' development coordinator, said: “We are an open space and already heating the place anyway. It’s all about extending the invitation to people on particular days.

“Warm Space is being run here on a Wednesday and Friday, from 10am until 2pm, and on a Friday from 6pm until 9pm.

“This is something we just decided to do as a church as a result of what’s going on with the cost of living. People can come into a warm space, have a cup of tea and coffee and soup.

“We also have a coat bank where people can take a jacket or coat away if they need one and we have been inundated with offers of coats.”

Added Ashley:  “Anything we can do to alleviate the stress and pressure affecting lots of families and households is good. The cost of living crisis is pushing more and more people over the edge.

“We also have been fortunate enough to be able to apply for some grant funding for this which helps towards the cost.

"But as a Christian outreach this is what we are doing anyway. We don’t expect masses of people as other places are offering this too but hopefully people from this area will come along.

“It will run until March or April. It will then be reviewed. If there is a need for it after this then we will keep going.

“The feedback in terms of the response to what we are doing has been overwhelmingly positive. We spoke to those around us and it was unanimous that this was something the church needs to be doing. 

“It’s a humanitarian response and the church is called to do something. The church has the remit for care in the community and it’s important that we show that.”

Volunteers are on hand to help greet people at the warm space sessions but more help is always welcome.

People struggling with financial challenges or those who would like to help should email coordinator@fullartonconnexions.co.uk for more information.