A church is looking to build an extension to expand its thrift shop – to cater for a growing number of people in dire straits.
Ingol Methodist Church has applied for planning permission to provide more storage for basic household items to help desperate families.
And leaders say they are seeing more and more people struggling to make ends meet.
The Tag Lane church has teamed up with two others in the area in a scheme called Share IT, to provide a thrift shop and also a food bank and money advice service.
Rev Ray Borg, minister at Ingol Methodist Church, said the shop, which has run for many years, provides items such as clothing, cutlery, pots and pans, bedding and nappies at low prices.
He said: “There is definitely a growing need, because some of the benefits have been cut which means some people don’t have enough money.
“For some people it is very desperate.”
He added: “We have been given much and I think the least we can do is give some of that back to people who have relatively little.”
The shop uses a voucher scheme, which was launched last October.
Rev Borg said: “We are certainly seeing an increase in the number of vouchers.
“Whether that is because of the economic climate is one thing, or whether it is because it’s more well known and people know there is a safe environment here is another.
“But the general consensus among all food banks seems to indicate there’s a steady rise in the number of people who are in need.”
He said some people using the thrift shop were in work.
Rev Borg said: “Some aren’t able to get full time employment – they may be holding down two zero-hour-contract jobs.
“One week they may have work, the next there will be no work.
“And because they can’t claim benefits, when there’s no work there’s no money and when there’s no money there’s no food.
“We also see people whose benefits have not made ends meet and they have no heat or electricity.”