LEADERS at a community hub say families struggling to make ends meet have been hit by a "perfect storm".

The government furlough scheme ended on Friday and a temporary £20 a week increase to universal credit payments stops this week.

The Witham Hub helps people who are struggling financially or at risk of social exclusion.

Chairman Tina Townsend says they have been "inundated" by requests for support.

"There is going to be an impact," she said.

"It is going to be an almost perfect storm because you have furlough which is stopping, universal credit assistance which has dropped and fuel prices which are going through the ceiling.

"Those who don't have a lot to spare at the end of the month are going to be struggling.

"I don't know what the answer is going to be, but we have to be there to support people every which way we can."

The hub team racked up its 50,000th intervention during the pandemic in August.

They included putting together and delivering food parcels, collecting prescriptions, moving furniture, and assisting anyone who has struggled with their physical health or suffered with mental health issues.

The community fridge is even more important to those in the community who are struggling financially

The hub – a registered charity – has a number of procedures in place to ensure it is helping people in genuine need.

Volunteers work on a case by case basis so there can be a delay in answering queries.

Supermarkets give food to the hub's community fridge but Tina says donations have almost dried up because of supply chain problems and volunteers being unable to get petrol for their cars.

"The community fridge is even more important to those in the community who are struggling financially," she said.

"We are balancing between volunteers being able to get to supermarkets and them having anything for us because they have supply problems as well.

"Instead of picking up ten crates of food I picked up less than a carrier bag full, which is unheard of."

The hub can be contacted at Info@withamhub.co.uk or leave a contact number on 01376 617998.

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