A one-stop support shop set up during the pandemic will be continuing to help people in Epping Forest this winter.

The Voluntary Action Epping Forest Community Services Hub was set up in 2020 for people living in the district who were experiencing challenges or difficulties linked to the Covid crisis.

Run by dedicated staff and heavily supported by volunteers, the hub responds to individual referral and self-referral requests for support - be that with shopping, prescription collection, help in using digital devices, telephone or in-person befriending and all other areas of community support and signposting.

Since March 2020, the Hub has helped provide 16,849 shops for shielding residents, 2,855 prescription deliveries, 12,161 befriending and welfare calls and 1,122 other referred supportive interventions.

This winter, the hub will be supporting referred families and people living in Epping Forest who will benefit from emergency food parcels and winter warmth aid.

It will also be running consultations with young people around youth crime and violence, as well as partnering with Epping Forest District Council in establishing a 'Men's Shed' project, whereolder people who may feel lonely and socially isolated can share skills.

For help and support, enquiries about the VAEF Community Services Hub, email communityhub@vaef.org.uk