Food bank 'desperate for new home' to avert closure

Video report by ITV News Meridian's Kit Bradshaw:

A community food bank in Thanet in Kent, is urgently trying to find new premises to prevent its temporary closure.

The Margate Independent Foodbank has been running from the Union Church in the town centre since June 2020 and currently helps around 200 local families each week.

But the lifting of lockdown means other groups, including the Girl Guides and chess club, need access to the hall.

The food bank has been given until 3rd May to vacate the premises.

Margate Independent Foodbank has to find a new home because Union Church is once again needed by other community groups.

They currently use it to store groceries and run their weekly delivery service, where volunteer drivers take bags of goods to residents who can’t get to the food bank on foot.

One of the directors of the not-for-profit company which runs the scheme is Darryn de la Soul. She says they're "absolutely desperate for a new home".

Given the nature of the service, they have quite a list of requirements for the new venue, including: electricity, hot running water, toilet facilities, and kerbside access for deliveries and collections.

  • Darryn de la Soul, Director, Margate Independent Foodbank:

Kelly Barton, who gets a food parcel every week, told ITV News Meridian: "It really does help me out, because I’ve got four children at the moment and I’m on very low benefits, so it really is a help every week."

"It's good for the community as well. There's lots of families who live around here who use this place as well, some of my friends do. So, it is very important for families," Ms Barton added.

  • Kelly Barton, food bank recipient:

One of the regular volunteers is actress Naomi Cooper-Davis, who has appeared in Coronation Street in the past.

She says that she's seen "a lot of elderly people" using the service, as well as those who are "suffering from a lot of financial difficulty".

The directors of the firm which runs the food bank are appealing for any business or individual in the Margate area who may have suitable premises available to make contact with them.

"In a worst-case scenario, the impact of not having somewhere to move to immediately is going to mean a suspension of the service," added Darryn de la Soul.

Nationally food banks in the Trussell Trust network saw a 47% increase in demand during the first stage of the coronavirus pandemic.