A TOWN food bank run entirely by volunteers and relied on by hundreds of people in the local community is searching for a new storage facility.

For the past four and a half years, Caldicot Food Bank has stored its donations – free of charge – at a building owned by Aneurin Bevan University Health Board (ABUHB), but due to changes in services, the health board will need the extra space, meaning the charity will have to leave its current site in February next year.

"The big threat is that if we don't find somewhere, we can afford to rent somewhere for a few months but then we will have to close down," said David Flint, the food bank's chairman.

The town's food bank has become a vital lifeline for many people on Severnside, providing them with urgent support in their hour of need.


This year, to the end of June, Caldicot Food Bank has received 301 referrals from frontline agencies. Of these, 90 were for children.

Mr Flint said this was an increase of 56 per cent on the same period in 2018.

He said the food bank will continue to use its current storage facility – it distributes food parcels from a different site in the town centre – until the end of January next year.

This is so the charity's 14 volunteers won't have to move stock during the autumn and winter, which has historically been the food bank's busiest time of the year.

"Last year things began to ramp up after July, because that was when the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) started to roll out Universal Credit in Monmouthshire," Mr Flint said.

"An awful lot of single men were hit by Universal Credit, but most people who come in and have just gone onto the new system haven't come in more than twice.

"If anyone comes in more than six times, we flag it up with the DWP – we're checking up on the advisers, not the clients."

Christmas is always a busy time at the food bank. Mr Flint estimated 40 per cent of all the charity's activity is done in December.

Last Christmas, Caldicot Food Bank received referrals for 153 children and 100 adults.

This is an important charity which helps the community when times are tough.

In a statement, a spokeswoman for ABUHB explained the reasons why the health board could no longer accommodate the charity, saying: “Due to the growing local population and the changes we are making to our services to bring care closer to home, we need extra space within the [building].

"Unfortunately, this means that we can no longer accommodate the local food bank which we have been pleased to support for the past four-and-a-half years."

She added: "“There is no immediate requirement for them to leave and we continue to support them and work with them to find a suitable new premises.

“The food bank is a wonderful and much valued service for the local community – we would fully recommend them as a partner to work with and we would ask any another organisation or individual who can support them to come forward.”

The food bank does not make money, meaning any future storage facility or warehouse would have to be rented or loaned to them on a goodwill basis.

A size of roughly 1,000 square feet would be required, as would a toilet, and a small kitchen facility would be most welcome, Mr Flint said.

Given the need to store food, it would be necessary for the new premises to be risk-free of animals and pests.