A FOODBANK that had to reduce its opening hours to one day a week will soon be back full time after finding a new home.

The Bicester Foodbank was based at Minton Place until its lease expired on Friday, August 15.

Without a new permanent home available immediately, manager Janet Ray had resorted to her car to make deliveries to needy people.

But now the foodbank, which is said to have helped 2,500 people last year, has been granted a lifeline.

The group has been told it can move into new premises next month, after a change-of-use application was approved last week by Cherwell District Council.

It will move into 29A Market Place, Bicester, which will allow the charity to open five days a week.

Mrs Ray said: “It is great that we have the place.

“It will take us a couple of weeks to get sorted and move in, but it will be wonderful to be up and running five days a week again.

“Hopefully that will be by the middle of September – maybe the end, but hopefully the middle.

“But in the meantime I will still be making deliveries from my car.

“I have helped two large families already this week – a family of six and one of five – because they were desperate.

“We are just waiting for the keys now.”

Currently the foodbank is temporarily based at Bicester Early Intervention Hub, at the Courtyard Arts Centre in Launton Road, which was offered as an stop-gap solution.

However, the foodbank can only open on Fridays there due to constraints on space availability.

Mrs Ray, now 75, set up the charity in 2006.

She said it was a “vital lifeline”, adding: “I will not see people going hungry or without food.”

The foodbank was asked to leave its Minton Place premises, which had originally been granted to it for six months without needing to pay rent.

It was leased to it by Minton Group. The firm’s head of property Ashley Bourne said it had allowed the foodbank to stay an extra two months beyond the original six-month agreement.

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 foodbank that they would move out by Friday after being given 10 days’ notice.

“We were being charitable.”

  • For more information about Bicester Foodbank contact Janet Ray on 01869 357181.