WALLINGFORD'S Food Bank is 'praying' for help to find a new home, amid fears that poorer local children could be impacted by a looming deadline for it to leave its headquarters.

The facility, which supplies around 2,000 food parcels to local people in need each year, has just five weeks to conclude a desperate search for a new venue, after the Rec Rooms at the Bull Croft were 'effectively condemned' by the Town Council.

Rainbow pre-school and Citizens Advice will also have to move out, but it is the fate of the food bank which is likely to be seen as most concerning for residents.

The venue – which many of the town's poorer residents rely on for food – was told in December that it had to leave its current home, but has so far been unable to find a replacement.

Neville Burt, who runs the facility with wife Jean, explained: "The number (of parcels provided a month) is usually over 100, over the year it is around 2,000, so (not having a headquarters) would impact on that, especially in the summer.

ALSO READ: Wallingford Food Bank given eight months to find new venue

"We have instituted a scheme to give vouchers to primary schools so that children who usually get free schools meals get help over the school holidays.

"The take up last year was quite large and we are particularly concerned that we won't be able to do it this summer."

He added: "At the moment we are just praying that we will find somewhere - there is no contingency beyond that - we have had offers of storage in garages and such, but eventually we will have to have a permanent place."

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Late last year the facility reported a 25 per cent rise in demand for food, blaming the impact of Universal Credit for the increase.

READ AGAIN: Food banks hit out at Universal Credit as demand rises 25 per cent in a year

Ahead of the July 31 deadline, Mr Burt continued: "The premises that we have operated in for the last seven years or so have effectively been condemned - the council have declared it beyond repair.

"We haven't got a permanent site. We are now pretty sure that we are going to have to go into temporary accommodation, like a porta cabin.

"It was a professional decision, they had surveyors come in and look at it, they had estimates from the builders and decided it would not be possible to renovate it."

Wallingford has also recently set up a Community Fridge, which is saving a huge amount of unwanted food for those who want it each month.

Warning against the loss of the food bank, coordinator Tracey Lloyd-Jones said: "This is obviously a very difficult situation for everyone involved, but my hope is that the food bank is able to find a place where it can continue to serve our community as faithfully as it has over recent years."

READ ALSO: Wallingford Community Fridge opens its doors

The town's county councillor, Lynda Atkins, added: "The Food Bank has become a really important part of the Wallingford community and is very well supported by everyone in the town and the surrounding area.

"I know they have some workable ideas about a long-term new home, but they are really struggling to find somewhere to go in the summer when they have to leave their current premises, while their permanent home is sorted out. I do hope that some way can be found to help them and am discussing that with others to see what can be done."

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In a statement, Wallingford Town Mayor Lee Upcraft said: "The town council is very much aware that many people depend upon the services provided from the Recreation Rooms which is why we notified the tenants almost eight months ago that we would have close the east wing of the building. I know that many people have worked hard to help find alternative accommodation and that there are solutions out there - although they're not going to be as convenient for some as the Bull Croft.

"There are issues still to be resolved with all the options under consideration and I'd ask that landlords and the District Council, as the planning authority, act quickly and pragmatically to help the food bank."