A Builth Wells community volunteer has claimed that organisations such as food banks are heading for a COVID-19-level pandemic this winter.

Sarah Mason, from Helping Our Homeless Wales’ Builth Wells branch, made the warning in an interview with the Brecon and Radnor Express.

The charity is planning to host a free Christmas lunch on December 23, and 24, but there are fears that the number of people attending could be extortionate.

Sarah said: “I think that the worst is just about to come, it is the beginning of our pandemic now with the number of people expected to come through the doors.

“Like COVID-19, I’m unsure how they are going to deal with it.

“We are launching free Christmas lunches on December 23 and 24 so people can access them, anyone can apply, this isn’t about homelessness, it’s about the necessity, we know there will be so many people who need it.

“If I’ve got to, we will supply any amount, we have enough cooks so that’s not an issue, we want as many people as possible.

“I’m not trying to criticise the government, but like the furlough system, it seems like they’re looking for a quick fix to get out of this mess.”

Sarah has been a main player in the success of the community hub that Helping Our Homeless Wales has set up in Builth.

The hub now feeds 25-30 people at their luncheon club a week and plays host to many activities that are integral to the community.

It’s this experience that has led Sarah to believe that the government is passing the buck regarding the issue of supporting the community’s most vulnerable.

“There is nobody that wants higher-level services to be stressed further than they are, but it is definitely a pass of the buck from the government, there is no funding given to people like us,” said Sarah.

“We need people in a position of higher-level job status to come in and see the work that people in our area are doing, we need to promote it.

“We’ve never had a county council in our local community come see us, we’ve never had a local MP come and see us. People in powerful positions are not taking the time to help and support it.”