Glasgow libraries join forces to open doors amidst cost of living crisis

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Libraries across the city are offering Glaswegian’s a secure warm space to go during the challenging months ahead

Glasgow libraries are set to join the city council’s Welcome Places initiative established last year in the midst of the cost of living crisis.

The Welcome Places project is a partnership between the local authority, Glasgow Life, GCVS (Glasgow Council for the Voluntary Sector) and third sector organisations which launched last October. It seeks a stigma-free solution to the increase in fuel costs after the average household energy bill rose by 54% with inflation hitting a 40 year high.

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Partick library is another library taking part in Glasgow City Council’s Welcome Places initiative.  Partick library is another library taking part in Glasgow City Council’s Welcome Places initiative.
Partick library is another library taking part in Glasgow City Council’s Welcome Places initiative. | Google Maps

From October 1 this year, all 32 community libraries including the Mitchell, will join the Welcome Places initiative and will be part of the project designed to help Glaswegians find a warm space to go as winter and the cost of living crisis continues to impact people of all ages. The venues are open to everyone, with activities on offer as well as free refreshments.

Glasgow City Council has managed to secure £34,000 to fund the service which will help meet the costs of hot drinks across the network but community centres, which are part of the scheme will not benefit from this funding. During the well-being and equalities committee on Thursday, concerns were raised that community centres and third sector organisations would no longer be able to participate as a result.

Councillor Holly Bruce said: “In the report it does say that the third sector organisations who are currently welcome places will not receive that funding. I am not comfortable with that given that they have been key partners for the last six or nine months.

“In my ward this will mean Finn’s Place, which has been a welcome place, will no longer be one. They are open until 9pm or 10pm at night with various activities organised during the week.

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“There is Langside library which will now be a welcome place but is only open until 6 or 7pm so you can see there is confusion and there will be people that will go to Finn’s place and expect those hot beverages and not get them – then having to walk around the corner to see Langside Library closed.

“For me there hasn’t been a holistic look at what is happening on the ground and I think it is a little bit short sighted to just give funding to the libraries when the third sector organisations are doing a lot of work here. I am not comfortable with what is outlined for the £34,000.”

Councillor Bruce asked for conversations to take place that would allow third sector organisations to become a Welcome Place. Officers agreed that they would encourage further discussion with third sector partners regarding this.

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