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Number 72 charity in Sudbury reports rise in number of people experiencing debt-related problems due to coronavirus pandemic





A Sudbury charity, which offers vital support and advice, is urging people whose problems have been heightened by the pandemic to seek help.

Number 72 was forced to shut its café and drop-in centre in March after the Government instructed that all venues, including community centres, should close to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

“Because of the nature of what we do, it wasn’t an easy decision to make,” said centre manager Rob McNeish.

Number 72 is a charity, which provides support and friendship at its cafe in North Street...Pictured: Clare Gillett (Family Support Worker), Sarah Fernandez (Trainee Manager), Joy Ayrton (Director and Founder), Tim Ayrton (Director and Founder), Rob McNeish (Manager) and Jerry Thompson (Volunteer) ...PICTURE: Mecha Morton .... (42495126)
Number 72 is a charity, which provides support and friendship at its cafe in North Street...Pictured: Clare Gillett (Family Support Worker), Sarah Fernandez (Trainee Manager), Joy Ayrton (Director and Founder), Tim Ayrton (Director and Founder), Rob McNeish (Manager) and Jerry Thompson (Volunteer) ...PICTURE: Mecha Morton .... (42495126)

While the centre in North Street was closed for six months, the charity was able to maintain its services by offering key support to people over the phone and online.

Since the virus took hold, the charity has seen an increase in debt-related problems, with some cases brought about by the crisis.

“People have been losing their jobs and, with the furlough scheme coming to an end, it has made things worse,” said Mr McNeish, who reported a rise in parents seeking support at the start of lockdown on the challenges of home-schooling their children.

“Mums and dads were having to take on all those roles, so there was an increased anxiety about whether they were taking the right approach.”

While coronavirus continues to pose a threat, the charity is anticipating a spike in cases related to the impact of the crisis. It has already taken on two new members of staff since reopening last month.

“We are expecting to see an increase with the issues we are dealing with,” added Mr McNeish. “They may not have started because of the pandemic, but they may have been exacerbated by it.”

For more information about the charity, visit number72.net , or call 01787 310610.

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