Wiltshire families struggling to buy household essentials amid cost of living crisis

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A charity in Trowbridge which helps provide Wiltshire families with essential household items like toiletries and cleaning products as well as toys and books, says it has seen demand for its services skyrocket since the start of the year.

Ruksak45218 was originally set up to help children and young people, but volunteers have had to expand its remit because of the need for help in the community.

Rory Donaldson told ITV News: "With the cost of living crisis. We have lots of families in Wiltshire that are really struggling to basically have the basics.

"We're seeing more and more families. They used to have a high income, and then all of a sudden the income absolutely plummets and the families are absolutely struggling. They've never ever had to struggle with money before.

The charity has seen the number of referrals for families in need skyrocket so far this year Credit: ITV News

Jane Robinson, head volunteer, is concerned the need for often unaffordable items such as school uniforms is still growing despite the warmer weather.

She said: "The number of people that we're seeing is just going out of all proportion. When (the charity) started we were seeing maybe 400 plus families in a year.

"We're over 800 in the first three months of this year, so people really are struggling. It is very worrying and I think, like everyone, we can't see the end of it."

Unlike foodbanks, people are referred to the Ruksak45218 charity by schools or social workers.

Jane says the growing need for help is showing no signs of slowing down Credit: ITV News

Since the start of the year, they have helped almost double the number of families than in the whole of 2021, with more and more referrals stemming from domestic abuse.

Rory Donaldson said: "There are more and more cases of domestic abuse. It's not just a case that we're dealing with children, we're also dealing with pensioners.

"More men are coming into us, facing domestic violence that are often quite reluctant to talk about the issues that they're going through."

Aretha Brum, who is the Business Manager for the site where the charity's storage facility is based, said: "What we want is as many people to know, by word of mouth and spreading the news, that we've got uniforms for schools for families who are in need.

"(We want) as many people as possible to know about this project so we can reach out to more families."