THE Mercury is launching a new campaign to save Bridgwater Food Bank from closing.
The Food Bank, which had been based at the Enterprise Resource Centre in Northgate, was moved out by its landlord, Somerset County Council.
The council has offered the Food Bank a temporary base at the Mount Street Day Centre, behind Bridgwater Ford - but only until March 31.
Time is running out and the team says if it does not find a new base, it will have to close.
Ted Stock, Food Bank manager, leads a dedicated team or volunteers, whose help goes way beyond simply giving out food. They offer a safe, welcoming place for people and spend time talking and listening to them.
Social Workers now also attend some of the days to inform people of the support they can access.
Mr Stock said: “We have been humbled by the amount the local community have donated to the Food Bank.
“The move just after Christmas cost us a great deal of time and money and now having to find another home so soon is worrying.
“I see firsthand how much this service helps people at their time of need. The volunteers and I want to be able to continue doing this desperately but we need a permanent home ASAP.”
Westover ward councillors Brian Smedley and Kathy Pearce visited the Food Bank with Bridgwater county councillor Leigh Redman and town councillor Ian Tucker.
Cllr Smedley said: “The volunteers told us that although many of the users were people in crisis because of dire circumstances, many others were ordinary working people who still couldn't make ends meet.
“We need to keep Food Banks going as long as there's a genuine need for them and the people who run them also need security, and that means a permanent base so they can get on with the job."
Cllr Justine Baker, who has been leading the search for a new base, told the Mercury: “I first visited the Food Bank last year and saw the great work they do to help vulnerable people.
“The new location needs to be central, as makes it easier for people to access it by foot or public transport. It also needs to have a discreet entrance for those who are in crisis and need to use the service, as well as being able to store the food.
“I have written to the acting chief executive of Somerset County Council again to see if anything further can be done to help. But I, along with Ted, appeal to anyone who might know of an empty building in the town that could home this vital service.”
IF you are able to help the foodbank with a premises please contact the team at bridgwater.foodbank.org.uk or on 07804-119273.
Bridgwater Food Bank facts: *Since opening just under a year ago, the Food Bank has helped 1,246 people in crisis.
*Of those, 835 were adults and 411 were children.
*It has had over 9 tonnes of food in the form of donations.
*There are 21 approved professional care organisations that are able to issue to vouchers to people who need it across the area.
*The Citizens Advice Bureau has issued 63% of the vouchers given out so far.