A COMMUNITY group helping vulnerable people during the coronavirus pandemic is offering food parcels to NHS and emergency workers during the lockdown.

The Witham Pay It Forward team will be able to provide the free food to anyone able to provide their NHS or emergency services ID.

The group is based at the Witham Hub at the Newlands Shopping Centre and set up the scheme in response to panic buying seen in some shops over the weekend.

Tina Townsend, who is coordinating the group, said: "For any NHS staff or emergency worker struggling to get food, they should come to us.

"There's been lots of stories about panic buying and some shelves in shops were completely stripped at the weekend.

"We want NHS staff to know we are here for them and they don't have to queue outside shops or have to go searching for food."

In a direct message to NHS staff, Mrs Townsend added: "We know that people are stripping the shelves, we know you are working long shifts, we know you struggle to get to the shops to grab what you need when you are exhausted.

"Bring your official ID to the Witham Hub and we will supply you with whatever we can as a thank you for what you do.

"Working with Stuff'd and Purple olive catering we will do our very best to make sure you have what you need."

The hub also says the community fridge scheme, which offers free food to the public, will also continue to operate throughout the lockdown.

Any vulnerable people or families struggling financially can access food from the fridge.

For more information, contact the hub on 0845 860 7648.