A HEREFORDSHIRE town has put plans in place as it sees a spike in families with children needing help from the food bank and other services.

At Ross-on-Wye Town Council's meeting earlier this month it was shared that a 30 per cent increase in debt enquiries had been recorded by the town's Citizens Advice Outreach.

This was found through the number of people needing services and help with making applications for benefits.

The service is preparing for the increased need, and with the Lottery Funding award, more staff had been taken on to work within the outreach service.


More volunteers had also been taken on to cope with the increase in people.

From April this year the presence in Ross had been boosted to weekly sessions at the Larruperz, which were going well with high demand for appointments, said the meeting minutes.

Ross residents are still being prioritised and with the rise in more complex issues the resumption of the face-to-face services had been well received.

Many people were coming in who have long term health issues and disabilities, and there were many vulnerable people too, so building on this local service is vital, said the minutes.

The next phase of planning would see the introduction of drop-in sessions in town to encourage people to seek early help through the provision of accessible services.


Work is on-going with other agencies including Talk Community.

The foodbanks had been busy with an 11 per cent increase in people needing access to this service.

Statistics show there were now more families with children needing food.

There are challenges ahead as one of the core funder's commitments comes to an end in April so there is a gap in funding anticipated.

Councillor for Ross-on-Wye west ward Louis Stark said: "This is a national, not just a local catastrophe which needs a national approach and solution.

"It is high time the national government recognised that the years of austerity have left councils short of money and relying on the third sector, such as Citizen's Advice Bureau (CAB) to support the most vulnerable in our society.

"That said, Ross Town Council continues to support the excellent efforts of the bureau locally through a generous grant each year of some £10k."

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