Independent retailers are providing vital services to their communities this Christmas by helping customers tackle their alcohol and drug addictions.

Dennis Williams, of Broadway Premier in Oxgangs has worked with nearby housing providers and charities over the last 10 years to identify customers in need of help. He told RN: “We’re notified about any customer who might have an issue with alcohol, drugs, gambling or tobacco and we limit their purchases.

“For example, we’ll stop selling beer to a customer we know has an alcohol addiction. These problems have a serious impact on their health and it’s important we provide these services to the community, especially during Christmas when these addictions are likely to increase.”

Trudy Davies, of Woosnam & Davies News in Llanidloes offers a similar service. She said: “We don’t serve alcohol in the store, but my brother volunteers at a nearby charity which helps people quit their drug and alcohol addictions.

“If we get a customer who’s experiencing an issue with those addictions, we recommend they go to the charity and receive support.”

The help comes as Barclays became the first high street bank in the UK to allow customers to restrict payments from specific retailers, such as supermarkets, restaurants and pubs. Account holders can choose which types of retailers they don’t want to spend money with in their mobile banking app and any transaction will be automatically declined.

Commenting on the Barclays app, Davies said: “The app is a really good idea to help those with addictions and it should be made available elsewhere.”

A Barclays spokesperson added: “Barclays identified customers who would benefit from being able to decide how and where their money is spent. These include those with mental health issues, addictions, and those who rely on carers or a guardian to handle their finances.”