Shropshire Star

Telford food project in race against time to find new home

Telford's Food Share Project is desperately looking for a new venue as it faces a deadline to vacate its present base - and is enlisting the help of the town's MP.

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Operational manager Kay Corbett.

Lucy Allan has written to Telford and Wrekin Council in support of the group, which has to vacate its Rampart Way premises by July 16 as the landlord is selling the property. She says the project has 'been doing fantastic work in Telford.'

The project acts as a discount supermarket and food bank and has been run by Lea Beven since 2015. It has proved so successful in selling food not needed by high street supermarkets it also has hubs in Andover and Warrington.

They employ 25 people, have over 40 volunteers and save 100 tonnes a month of food in Telford, with the stated aim of supporting hundreds of families in food poverty. As well as the store, they have acted as a base for the Ukraine appeal in the town, packing and helping to deliver around 900 pallets.

But if the group can't find new premises in Telford, the goods and services it provides may have to be absorbed into the other two venues. Lea announced they were going to have to move out of their current premises at the Rampart Court Retail Park in a Facebook post on Monday. Since then she has been inundated with messages of goodwill and ideas of venues where the project can move to.

She has put in an offer on the Co-Op at Dawley which closes down later this month and is now playing a waiting game to hear whether it will be accepted.

Lea told the Shropshire Star: "I am doing everything I can to try and find us somewhere but sometimes landlords can take weeks and months to decide.

"It's completely out of our hands other than we can try and identify sites and put offers in - it's not that we can't afford places it is whether they are suitable.

"The worry is that if we can't find anywhere, the Telford project would close and be incorporated into the other two which would be no good for people in the town."

She said she was 'hopeful' her offer for the Dawley site would be successful because she felt it would be a better location in terms of footfall and convenience for people to visit than the present one. She also thanked Lucy Allan and the project's supporters for their messages and help.

Lucy Allan said: "The Food Share project has been doing fantastic work in Telford, so I was concerned to hear that they needed to find a new premises. There is space in Telford and it’s a question of finding the right space that is available immediately.

"I have written to the chief executive of Telford and Wrekin Council to ask that he explore whether there is scope for the Food Share project to be considered for a council owned vacant premises.

"Given the important community role played by the Food Share Project and urgency they face in securing new space in Telford, I hope the Council will look favourably on my request and assist the Food Share project.”