February 15th, 2022
A Cornish charity that offers help to people struggling to find housing or pay bills says it has seen a "massive increase" in demand for its services.
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DISC in Newquay said it had prepared and sent out more than 500,000 meals to local people in need since the coronavirus pandemic began.
It had also started giving cash top-ups for those struggling to pay gas and electricity bills, staff said.
Manager Monique Collins said the rise in demand had been staggering.
'The new poor'
Staff have been supporting people in the Newquay, where the charity is based, but have also helped people across the county, including Bodmin, Launceston, Penzance and St Austell.
Monique Collins said: "Before Covid, it was about 50 people a week. Now it can be up to 1,500 people a week that we're helping.
"That's the massive increase that we have seen, and it is getting worse.
"People will say: 'Why don't they get a job?' But, actually, these are people that are working.
"These are mums, dads, individuals that are actually working but can't make ends meet. They're the new poor."
Matthew Webb's chimney sweeping business went bust during the first lockdown and he said he had struggled to find full-time employment since.
He said the charity had been helping him and the "people who fall through the cracks".
Mr Webb said: "There are those who are still working but still can't afford to make ends meet, with rent prices going up, with bills and everything like that, but there's no increase in wages.
"So even those who are earning money still need to subsidise their income."
He added: "Without people like Monique, we'd be stuck. I'd be starving, I genuinely would be."
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