THE vital work of the Bridgwater Foodbank has been secured for the future.

The volunteers have been celebrating after 15 months of fundraising meant the organisation was able to purchase their premises on Mount Street, ending concerns over finding a new base.

The building was purchased from Somerset County Council for a total of £150,000, out of which £110,000 was provided by the EDF Hinkley C Community Impact Mitigation Fund.

Foodbank manager Phil Jarman said: "Because we were on a lease before, at any point the County Council could have turned round and said it needed the premises to be sold or used for something else.

"We would have faced huge upheaval and we had looked at other locations but it was almost impossible to find something so well-suited to our needs as this place.

"We were looking at increased rents, limited storage and we were concerned about location. Here we are still in the town centre but we are out the way so people do not feel a stigma about coming here as they would if we were on the High Street."

The Mount Street premises allows the Foodbank to make money for maintenance by renting out car parking spaces, as well as having storage space, an office, a meeting room, a kitchen and toilets.

"Having all the paperwork done and owning the building is a huge relief to me and the trustees," Mr Jarman said.

"We know we are secure and can look forwards now."

Demand for the Foodbank is still increasing but where before it was the roll out of Universal Credit, Mr Jarman says it is now a combination of low wages, zero hour contracts and increasing rent prices which are seeing people requiring the Foodbank.

"Some rents in the town are going up £100 a month, and there is a Hinkley C effect," Mr Jarman said.

"If you are a private landlord with a good sized property and a small family as tenants, but you can make significantly more money by turning it into a House of Multiple Occupancy, a lot of people will make that move.

"But those increase sadly mean for some people they have a choice between using money for food or rent.

"People on zero hour contracts do not have a steady income and sometimes have to rely on us."

Mr Jarman said the Foodbank was fortunate enough to have an adequate supply of baked beans and soup, but would welcome fruit juice, milk and toiletries donations.