A multi-agency approach is needed to address the cost of living crisis causing worry and anxiety for residents in North Wales, says an NHS support lead. 

The community support hubs aim to provide a long-lasting source of help. The hubs are dotted all over North Wales and provide services such as legal advice, heating support, mental health support and food support, plus much more.

In Wrexham, the hub is located in Plas Madoc, which was the most used across North Wales last year. In Flintshire, the hub is based in Shotton.

Denise Chadwick runs the hub in Plas Madoc which she says has grown over the past 12 months and has started working with a number of organisations. 

She said: "Many services utilise our hub area to engage with the community and offer vital support.


"We have been supported by Citizens Advice, Warm Wales, NE Mind, Wrexham Foodbank, Communities for Work, Cambrian Savings & Loans, The Wallich, Adult Social Services and The Harm Reduction Team."

Alongside the essential advice teams, the Plas Madoc hub has teamed up with Wrexham Foodbank and Well Fed to offer some food budgeting sessions and cooking sessions. 

They have also worked in partnership with Street Games over the summer and offered free meals for families and a free swim. 

With the current cost of living crisis, Denise has seen increased demand, something she expects to only get worse. 

She added: "We are seeing an increase in the numbers accessing the services here and unfortunately this will continue to rise due to the current situation.

"It's such a worrying time for everyone and we are working hard to ensure that the community continues to have access to vital services on their doorstep.

"We will be offering a warm space during the winter months where people can meet and we will be offering a weekly cost-price meal. 

"Anyone can call in for support and we will signpost them to the appropriate service."

Lisa Goodier, is part of Betsi Cadwaladr's iCAN mental health support team and was formerly the lead on community support hubs across North Wales. 

Over the past year, Lisa has witnessed firsthand the level of stress and worry the cost of living and inflation have had on residents in North Wales. 

With the price of food and inflation at a record high, as well as the energy cap being increased as of October, more and more people are struggling to cope with the cost. 

When speaking with colleagues working at the hubs, Lisa revealed there had been a significant increase in demand for service at the hubs across North Wales. 

Lisa said that people are in pieces worrying about the winter, and more needs to be done to help people in the region. 

She said: "It's one big melting pot at the minute, in terms of people worrying. Lots don't know how to claim on Government schemes, Christmas is around the corner too. There needs to be more support for people to prevent crisis. 

"More and more are struggling because everything has gone up at once, it's not just one thing here or there, it's bills, food prices, petrol prices etc. 

"We need a multi-agency approach if we are going to create change."

One of the key issues Lisa has seen has been the nature and approach to claiming for Government schemes and payments. 

She added:" The payments are nowhere near enough, it's going to mean nothing for a lot of people, they need more. 

"People are at a point where they don't know what to do or where to go, and that's not just people out of work. 

"The issue we have is there are lots of people living in below standard houses in Wales, which have bad lighting, insufficient heating, single glazed windows, they cause a lot of issues during winter.

"There are also people who are too proud to claim on payments that they desperately need. We have to take the shame out of that, change the stigma about asking for help when you need it, as it is going to be crucial to avoid crisis in the coming months."

For more information about the iCAN support, visit https://bcuhb.nhs.wales/health-advice/mental-health-hub/i-can/

For more information about the community support hubs, visit https://bcuhb.nhs.wales/covid-19/community-support-hubs/

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