More people have been turning to Stafford Borough Council for support and advice as a result of the third national lockdown.

There have been around 200 new referrals to Stafford Borough Council in the last few weeks over people needing support with finances, heating for their homes, food, and other lockdown related issues. In addition to this, 50 vulnerable and isolated residents who have been in contact with the local authority are now receiving support calls from council staff every other week.

Councillor Jeremy Pert, cabinet member, said many people getting in touch with the local authority for help had never had to ask for support from the council before.

He said: "We have aligned resources to support those who have suffered, and are still suffering, because of Covid while continuing to maintain the services our community relies on. Our determination is that no one individual gets left behind as a result of this pandemic."

During the first lockdown in March, Stafford Borough Council contacted around 7,000 residents as part of a ‘Community Hub’ operation to make sure they were ok.

The council also organizing deliveries for hundreds of food parcels and prescriptions and arranging other tasks such as dog walking or gardening.

Councillor Pert said: "When we went into the first national lockdown there were about fifty households that wanted a regular call every week or two from the Council and we continue nearly nine months on making those calls to support those in our communities as best we can. More recently we’ve had 200 new referrals from people who have been trying to survive without wider help and have never been supported by the Council before.

"We have introduced ways for the community to find support for a range of issues – including running webinars, dedicated webpages and promotion of schemes to help people heat their homes."

"I’d urge any resident who has concerns to visit our website and see what support is available now rather than put things off."

If you need help

CALM (0800 58 58 58) thecalmzone.net has a helpline for men who are down and who need to talk or find information and support. They're open 5pm to midnight, 365 days a year.

Depression Alliance is a charity for people with depression. It doesn’t have a helpline, but offers a wide range of useful resources and links to other relevant information depressionalliance.org

The Sanctuary (0300 003 7029 ) helps people who are struggling to cope - experiencing depression, anxiety, panic attacks or in crisis. You can call them between 8pm and 6am every night. There are other depression charities.

Havoca provides information to any adult who is suffering from past childhood abuse. https://www.havoca.org

Samaritans (116 123) samaritans.org operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you're feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at [email protected], write to Freepost RSRB-KKBY-CYJK, PO Box 9090, STIRLING, FK8 2SA and visit www.samaritans.org/branches to find your nearest branch.