As fuel giant BP announced rising profits this week, social cafes are being set up across Fife to provide warm spaces.
Winter wellness cafes, hosted in community sports and leisure facilities across the Kingdom, launch this week.
We went along to Levenmouth swimming pool and sport centre’s first cafe session.
And we spoke to local people about the benefits the cafes could bring – and how they’re feeling ahead of the colder winter months.
The cafes will offer warm space, the chance to boost wellness and get active once a week.
‘The prices of everything are going up’
Organisers hope they will also give a chance for social interaction as well as a hot drink and a biscuit too.
Audrey Ross has been diagnosed with early-onset dementia and says: “I think there will be a lot of folk who will be struggling with their gas and electric.
“The prices of everything are going up. I’ve noticed it when I’ve gone for my food shop as well and have been worried about it.
“It’s good they are trying to get people in the door to these cafes.”
Ed Beck says local support groups can make a big difference during times of hardship when people are in need of support.
‘It helps when people come together’
He gave the example of the group he is a part of called STAND which carries out a range of projects locally.
He explains: “It helps when people come together and are able to meet face to face.”
Ryan Duncan admits, as a father, he’s increasingly concerned about the cost of living.
He says: “It really worries me, but I often wonder what do we do?”
‘It’s a great idea’
He dropped into the first cafe with his three-year-old daughter Davina after a swim.
“I think this is a great idea, I didn’t know about it but luckily found out about it as we were leaving.”
The six-month project is made possible by a £35,000 investment by Fife Council.
The cafes are being run by the Fife Sports and Leisure Trust health team.
‘Somewhere to come and be social’
Susan Wilson, health and wellbeing advisor, explains they hope awareness will grow as the weeks go on.
“It’s about getting people together and giving them somewhere to come to be social.
“They can have a cuppa and a biscuit, play a game or even talk to us about what we’d advise for exercise.”
Cllr Linda Erskine, Fife Council spokesperson for communities and leisure services, says: “We know the rising cost of living is impacting on more people every day.
“It’s going to be a difficult winter for many.
‘Support where we can’
“As a council we can’t fix everything.
“But we are supporting where we can.
“We know the benefits these warm spaces can provide.”
“That’s not just physical and financial benefits – the benefits for people’s mental and emotional wellbeing are huge.
“With the trust, we are providing people with space to get warm, meet others, have a chat, enjoy some activities.
“And most of all, not feel so alone.”
Where are the wellness cafes?
- East Sands Leisure Centre
- Cupar Leisure Centre
- Levenmouth Swimming Pool and Sports Centre
- Cowdenbeath Leisure Centre
- Carnegie Leisure Centre
- Michael Woods Sports and Leisure Centre
- Kirkcaldy Leisure Centre.