A FOOD bank could be forced to close if a new home is not found by the end of the month.

The West Oxfordshire food bank, which only opened in March, has been running from Ducklington Baptist Church in Ducklington, near Witney, since April.

But a dwindling congregation has forced the Southern Counties Baptist Association to close the church.

The West Oxfordshire Food Bank, which had been renting the space for free, has been asked to leave by the end of this month.

Now the organisation is desperately trying to find a new rent-free home in Witney or Carterton.

Jo Cypher, who set up the group, said the 16-18 volunteers help about seven people every week due to the demand.

The organisation receives referrals from social workers, health centres, children’s centres and job centres.

Mrs Cypher, 37, of Bampton, said: “We are seeing a lot of people suffering from benefit cuts and job losses.

“I did not realise how many people were struggling. I am just glad we are here to help.”

She added: “I am hoping we will not have to close. There is an option to build a shed in my back garden, but that would not be ideal.”

Mrs Cypher said the group was not yet in a position to pay rent and needed a space to store food and another area to box up the parcels.

She said the ideal location would be in Witney or Carterton town centres.

Southern Counties Baptist Association regional minister Colin Norris said: “In recent years the congregation of Ducklington Baptist Church has declined to such 0a point that it is unable to sustain itself as an ongoing independent church.

No decision had yet been made about the future of the church.

To help Mrs Cypher find a home for the food bank, contact her on oxwest-founder@hotmail.com or 07805 217 087.