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World News

'Every church could tell you a story of some sort': Truro bishop says it's getting harder to help people in cost of living crisis

by Sophie Drew

The Bishop of St Germans says every church in the Diocese of Truro has experienced an increase in people coming to them for financial help, but says the type of need is getting far more complex.

He reports that, even in the wealthiest areas of the Truro Diocese, church food banks are being left bare every week.

It's an issue that expands far beyond the borders of Cornwall; a church in Burnley recently shared similar experiences.

The rise in the cost of living has left people bracing for immense financial hardship over the winter, as some families report having to choose between putting food on the table or heating their homes.

Beyond the usual food banks, churches across the country are turning up the heating and opening their doors to the community, allowing people to gather in the warm without paying for heating themselves, in a new initiative dubbed 'warm banks.'

Bishop Hugh Nelson said: "I would guess that almost every church could tell you a story of some sort about people whose level of need as gone up over the last three, four months.

"I was talking to a parish priest who lives and works on one of our poorest states in Cornwall, and she was saying they've seen an increase in the level of just straightforward kinds of request for support, but much more than that, what they've noticed is an increase in the level of complexity, the kind of complex range of needs that people are having to balance and juggle, has got deeper.

"So she was telling me about someone who came to see her for the first time she didn't know her before.

He says it's the combination of soaring housing prices - both for those renting and those with a mortgage - as well as strain on the health service and immense financial hardship.

"The kind of complexity of poverty, housing, and just and health needs is clearly growing.

"It's not just the number of people who have needs, it's the complexity of the range of needs that they're carrying."

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