A HUB set up to help vulnerable people during the coronavirus crisis has received inappropriate calls for help including advice on where to buy a hot tub.

A warning has been issued by Age UK in Barrow after it set up the hub alongside St Mary's Hospice to provide support for elderly people who are shielding or self-isolating.

An army of volunteers at Living Well Centre in Duke Street have been gathering donations from the public and assembling hampers to send to vulnerable people unable to go outside.

Questions asked of staff at the centre have also included requests for advice where to buy strip lashes, fake tan and if there are any nails salons or hairdressers open.

People have also asked if they can have barbecues or if their children can play out with friends.

Vickie Martin, the operations manager of Age UK Barrow & District, warned people that inappropriate calls were prevent people in need being helped.

She said in a statement: “The Support Hub for Barrow and District was set up to assist people who are self-isolating and shielding.

“We aim to provide advice and support to the most vulnerable, elderly and housebound members of our local community, particularly those people who do not have a support network and/or family available to help.

“Unfortunately, there have already been many inappropriate requests from people who are able to leave their homes and are usually fit and well.

“Before you contact our support services, please stop to think, ‘do I have a relative, friend or neighbour who can go out for me?’ if the answer is ‘yes,’ PLEASE ask them to help you with your shopping and medication collections in the first instance.

“We want to ensure those most vulnerable, who live alone and have no immediate help are able to get the help they desperately need.

“By people using this service inappropriately, it is preventing us being able to help those who really need it.

“Our staff and volunteers are putting themselves at risk to help those most vulnerable, so please only contact The Support Hub if it is absolutely necessary."

The support hub offer a 9am to 5pm telephone line as well as a food delivery and prescription collection service.

Val Stangoe, chief executive of St Mary's Hospice, said: “If you are self-isolating and struggling with shopping, meals, prescription collection please don’t hesitate to contact the team on 01229 444407."

The centre also acts a drop-off point for people who wish to donate essential items.

People who are at high risk can also contact an emergency support service run by Cumbria County Council on 0800 783 1966.