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In one of the UK’s most deprived areas where people are turning off fridges to save money

Ranked as Surrey’s most deprived area in 2019, residents in Merstham are turning off their fridges as they can’t afford electricity

Volunteer Zoe helps run the community fridge at the hub
Volunteer Zoe helps run the community fridge at the hub

One neighborhood in the UK is so deprived that people have to turn off their fridges to save money.

Increases in food, gas and energy prices have caused residents to take extreme measures to survive. SurreyLive reported.

Ranked as Surrey’s most deprived area in 2019, residents in Merstham are turning off their fridges as they can’t afford electricity.

Volunteers and staff at the Merstham Hub, a community center used by several organizations in the area to help those in the area, are doing whatever it takes to help those in desperate situations.

These include the Merstham Community Facility Trust, whose services include a community fridge where local businesses can donate substitute food for local people to take home.







Mary Ann Dove, Manager, Merstham Community Facility Trust
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Picture:

david bradshaw)

There is an “IT Cafe” for people who need help navigating the Internet to access essential services, and a “Repair Cafe” for those who have household items that need repairing.

MaryAnn Dove, who manages the service, said the number of people trying to access her services has increased significantly in recent months.

In some cases, people are at their wits’ end as they approach the center and their mental health is at a critical point.

She said: “More and more people are coming to us asking if we have food they can have.







Merstham has been identified as one of Surrey’s most disadvantaged areas
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Picture:

SurreyLive – Grahame Larter)

“A lot of people turn off their fridges because they can’t afford electricity.

“Our food club now has a long waiting list and when food is donated for our community fridge, it’s gone within hours.”

Although the service has received funding from sources such as Reigate and Banstead Borough Council in the past, increasing demand is now straining its resources.

For the staff and volunteers who work at the center, not being able to offer a solution can often be the hardest part of the job.

“It’s really difficult,” added MaryAnn. “One of the biggest challenges has been accepting when you can’t do much and it can be really difficult to process that and move on.







There has been a significant increase in the number of people trying to access food in Merstham
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Picture:

SurreyLive – Grahame Larter)

“You always want to reassure people that everything will be fine, but sometimes that’s the worst thing you can say.

“It’s better to be honest with people, spend time with them, and let people know they’re not alone.”

One of the volunteers at the hub is Zoe, who helps run the community fridge. She’s proud of the work she does in her community, but has been struggling to make ends meet herself since the price hike.







A lot of community work is done to help those in need
(

Picture:

SurreyLive – Grahame Larter)

She said: “I’m struggling to buy meat products at the moment because meat is so expensive. So if I come here to get the veggies for my meat then it works that I can afford to buy meat which otherwise I couldn’t have.

“Coming here and getting support from people makes a difference. It’s important to know that there is someone here who can help.”

The area of ​​Merstham to the east of the railway station was ranked among the 5,000 most deprived areas in the country (out of around 33,000 in total) when the 2019 England Deprivation Indices were released.

The study measured relative deprivation in England’s neighborhoods based on factors such as income, employment, ill health and disability, education, crime, proximity to services and living environment.

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https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/inside-one-uks-most-deprived-27266142 In one of the UK's most deprived areas where people are turning off fridges to save money

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