THE NEW Life Church in Cardigan wants to take over the former Co-op supermarket site on Quay Street to help further its community work.

The New life Christian Centre – which runs the town’s foodbank - is currently based at a site further up Quay Street but is fast running out of space.

In a letter to Ceredigion planners, it said: “As a Church, our aim is to reach out into the community and help meet the daily needs of life, where a lot of people are experiencing difficulties due to the lack of work or low incomes.

“New Life Church Cardigan has operated from its current location for the last seventeen and a half years and as the need has grown in the town, the volume of people who use our facility has also grown. This has led us to our present position, where the building we have is proving far too small.”

The old supermarket building has stood empty since March last year when Budgens, which had taken over the running of the store when the Co-op closed in May 2016, closed its doors for the final time.

In the application, the church says: “Although the purpose for the ex-supermarket is not a retail store, New Life Church Cardigan is very much involved in supplying food for those in need in the community.

“New Life Church Cardigan, operates a Foodbank which last year fed over 1,200 people and this year to date has seen an increase on this by 30 per cent.

“The food at present is stored in the loft space in our present building and it has to be carried up and down the stairs. At present there is over two tonnes of food in storage and one week before Christmas one tonne of food was given away in two days.

“We have run out of space in our current facility and are having to store some of the food in a container we pay rent for each month.”

The current centre is open seven days a week and more than 500 people use the present facility each week and it is hoped those numbers would rise significantly with extra space and the opportunity for parking outside.

As part of the planned changes to the new building, the church will develop a social/meeting area, open to the community for people to meet, including a coffee bar and a soft play area for young children.

Refreshments will be available at either low or no cost, removing the barrier of cost to those wanting to get out and meet and socialise.

There will be rooms for crafts, home educated families, Welsh language classes, youth meetings, Kidz Club, small group meetings, prayer rooms, healing rooms, counselling rooms and administrative offices.

A proper commercial grade kitchen would enable more community meals to be provided on site, while other partners/agencies could use the rooms.

There are also plans to develop an all-weather, all age, all ability, family/community, virtual reality sports facility.

At present, five staff work 30 hours a week and one 16 hours. It is hoped to create two more full-time jobs and two part-time.

The application states: “There is nothing to compare with this offered anywhere else in the area. We believe this will attract the community and families. It will also create jobs plus opportunities for volunteering and skills training.

“We believe the area around where the ex-supermarket is located will benefit greatly from this new worship and community-based project centre.

“For nearly a year now, this building has stood vacant and has started to look very run down from the outside. We believe that as we take on this building, it will bring a new vibrancy into this area.

“These new projects, which will be run from these premises, will attract a lot of new people to this area of the town, both locals and tourists.”

The application has the backing of Cardigan Town Council.