Food bank delivers to homes as search for a base goes on

Food bank volunteers including manager Janet Ray, right, move out and, inset, the notice pinned to the food bank’s former premises in Minton Place, Victoria Road

Food bank volunteers including manager Janet Ray, right, move out and, inset, the notice pinned to the food bank’s former premises in Minton Place, Victoria Road

First published in News

A FOOD bank is now making home deliveries while it looks for a permanent location.

Bicester Foodbank manager Janet Ray has said she will run the service, which helps hundreds of people in the town, from the back of her car if she needs to.

As reported in the Oxford Mail earlier this month, the food bank had been running from a property in Minton Place, Victoria Road, since December.

Mrs Ray said Minton Group, which owns the building, had allowed the food bank to operate from the location free of charge for an initial six months. But she said the owner decided to let out the premises to a commercial business and the charity couldn’t afford the cost.

Staff were yesterday clearing out.

They will now only be able to run just one day a week, instead of the previous five, from a temporary base at Bicester Early Intervention Hub at The Courtyard Youth Arts Centre in Launton Road.

Mrs Ray, who has run the food bank for seven-and-a-half years, is making home deliveries in the meantime and the charity has applied to use a property in Market Place as a permanent location.

As reported in the Mail, it is waiting to hear from Cherwell District Council whether it will agree the move.

Mrs Ray set up the charity in 2006 and last year gave food to about 2,500 people referred to it by doctors and other services. She said the food bank is a vital lifeline for many and added: “If necessary I will run it from the back of my car.

“I will not see people going hungry or without food.”

Ashley Bourne, head of property at the Minton Group, said the charity had stayed for an extra two months informally.

He said: “Minton told them it was not a long-term thing but we did extend their time there two or three times because we did not need it back immediately. There was a prior agreement with a member of the food bank that they would move on Friday after being given 10 days notice. We were being charitable.”

The charity decided to move from Victoria Road after being told it would have to start paying rent.

Mrs Ray said: “We are in negotiations for a permanent unit. We expect to be up and running by mid-September if we get the place.”

Food bank volunteer Jill Martin said: “I have no idea where we are going to put all the food or the fridges and freezers.”

For more information, contact Janet Ray on 01869 357181.

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