A CHURCH-RUN foodbank could become homeless if it cannot raise £400,000.

Southend Vineyard Storehouse, which hands out 500 bags of food every week, is being forced to relocate due to the redevelopment plans for the Queensway estate.

The facility is currently located at the community centre, Coleman Street, but has until August to move.

A new site has been found in High Street, and planning permission has been granted by the council, but the premises cost £630,000.

Sam Vincett, senior pastor at Southend Vineyard, said: “The new site will be bigger and better. We will be able to do more varied services in the new premises and more sessions and at different times.

“There are lots of things we would like to do there, like give students and young people somewhere to go and hang out, have a toddler group, offer training of different sorts - currently we have our Starting Points course for building self esteem and getting people back to work.”

Southend Vineyard has raised about £230,000 and is in more demand than ever. The service already helps almost two per cent of the population in Southend and new families are coming for help every day.

Mrs Vincett said: “Just last week there were 11 new families that came to the storehouse for help. We regularly see mums who are not eating properly because they are feeding their children.

“A week ago a mum came to us in tears saying she hadn’t eaten for several days because it was going to her kids. In winter, we see parents choosing between heating and eating, and we regularly see people waiting to receive their Universal Credit.

“I think Universal Credit has brought a lot of problems and we have definitely seen an increase in people coming to the storehouse since it came into play.”

Councillor James Courtenay, cabinet member for growth, said: “We’ve been in regular communication with Storehouse and we would very much like to see them retain a town centre location and so wish them the best of luck with their fundraiser.”

Visit justgiving.com/crowdfunding/southendstorehouse