A Suffolk debt support service has said it is helping a record number of people this winter, with numbers triple what they were last year.

The news comes as the cost-of-living crisis continues to hit households across the county, with soaring inflation and rising energy bills.

"Christmas is a terrible time for people in poverty," said Rev Nic Stuchfield, chair of the Suffolk Coastal Debt Centre - part of the Christians Against Poverty charity. 

"This is supposed to be a time of joy, but unfortunately it is one of pain for a lot of households. 

East Anglian Daily Times: Rev. Nic Stuchfield of the Suffolk Coastal Debt CentreRev. Nic Stuchfield of the Suffolk Coastal Debt Centre (Image: Anna Lipska)

"Some of those we support have young children and it is difficult for a lot of parents to be able to afford a traditional Christmas - particularly with what is happening at the moment."

Every year, the Debt Centre offers festive hampers to those using the service. 

It is filled with staple foods, Christmas treats and supermarket vouchers - all donated by people across the area. 

This year, Rev Stuchfield has said the centre is distributing record amounts of hampers. 

"We've put together around 23 so far, which is almost three times the amount we handed out this time last year," he said.

"That's the most of clients we have ever had. 

"Many of those who we support can feel quite unloved, so to receive such a large package can be quite overwhelming. 

East Anglian Daily Times: The news has come during a nationwide cost of living crisisThe news has come during a nationwide cost of living crisis (Image: PA)

"Many of those we speak to don't tend to socialise that much - especially those who have children that spend most of their time and money on them.

"Half of our users are overjoyed and half of them break down in tears. 

"It would be nice if this wasn't necessary, but it's a privilege to know we are distributing love to those who desperately need it."

The centre has said donations of both items for the hampers and money to help the service continue its support have skyrocketed this year.

"I don't know how many people have been giving in the last four weeks," said Rev Stuchfield. 

"But I'd imagine it's in the triple figures. 

"It's very moving and very powerful to see such an incredible display of generosity.

"I know I speak on behalf of our more than 40 volunteers when I say how wonderful it is to offer a bit of hope, a bit of love and a bit of joy at a time that should be focused on all three of those things."