St Albans and Harpenden food bank in desperate search for new offices and storage space

Harpenden foodbank workers John Mulholland and Daniel Abbott in their current premises within Rothamsted Research

Harpenden foodbank workers John Mulholland and Daniel Abbott in their current premises within Rothamsted Research

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A charity that is responsible for four vital food banks is appealing for new office and storage space after being told it has to leave its current premises.

The St Albans and District Foodbank offers a lifeline to families and people struggling to feed themselves in Wheathampstead, Harpenden and St Albans.

It is currently based in Rothamsted Research Centre, Harpenden, but has been told it has to leave by December because the building is being remodelled.

The food banks have been running since May 2014, feeding more than 900 people until March 31 this year.

Since the beginning of April, the food banks have seen a surge in the number of people needing to use them.

If they fail to find a new premises the worst case scenario could see the food banks shut down without a base to operate from and store donations.

Emma Dalton, volunteer manager at St Albans and District Foodbank, said: “If we were close down it would be devastating. The need is there.

“Whenever there is a change in people’s benefits we always find there’s an increase.

“We even see a lot of people who are in work but still can’t afford to feed their families. They are desperately trying to make ends meet and maybe a big bill comes in.”

The St Albans and District Foodbank was looking to open another distribution centre in St Albans that would help people from the Batchwood, New Greens and Oysterfields area before the news came in. “It is a real shame,” Emma added.

It is looking for a 600 to 1,000 sq.ft. space that can be donated to them free of charge, but they do have a small rental budget if necessary.

It would be used by volunteers for the storage and sorting of all donated goods and not for the distribution of food.

There are currently 110 volunteers who help with the food banks and one, Maggie Thurman, was keen to thank Rothamsted for its support.

She said: “We are extremely grateful to Rothamsted for supporting us with free-of-charge floorspace over the last 18 months and enabling the food bank distribution centres across the district.”

If you have any space to offer, contact Emma via manager@stalbansdistrict.foodbank.org.uk or call 01727 613019 and select option 1.

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