THE future of a groundbreaking free food lifeline for people struggling to make ends meet could be under threat.

The Halstead Community Fridge was officially opened in the Lodge Gate building on the Causeway last year.

It was designed to cut down on waste by getting people and supermarkets to donate unwanted food, which could then be picked up by members of the public, including people who are struggling financially.

The Halstead Community Fridge was founded by trustees Sandra Dingle, Shirley Diver, Sarah Greatorex and Gary John Warren.

But although the initiative has been a success, with the fridge managing to clear out its stock on most days, its future is now uncertain.

Sandra and Shirley are moving away, leaving just two trustees.

Its founders now say they are “desperate” for new volunteers and more food donations, which have started to dwindle. The town council has declined to take over the scheme.

Speaking at a town council meeting, Sandra said: “We could really do with more people getting involved with it and helping out.

“Sarah does most of it and every morning she opens it. I won’t be here anymore, so we need four or five people.

“When I go, I don’t want Sarah to end up doing it all on her own because that won’t be fair so we really do need some more people who can help out.”

There are also concerns that the community fridge building is becoming a magnet for antisocial behaviour.

Young people are taking advantage of its charge points to power their phones.

Smokers have used it as a makeshift shelter and some people have even used it as a public toilet.

Sandra said: “We have had some bloke weeing in the bin, which was a nice present to give us.

“We also had someone nick one of the padlocks off of the strong box that has our cleaning stuff in it.

“We don’t really want people using it in the rain as a smoking shed, which has been happening as well, or to charge their phones.

“But apart from that, it is fine.”

The scheme is backed by Townsford Mill owner John de Bruyne who lets the volunteers use the building for free and pays for overheads such as electricity.

Town council chairman Andrew Munday said the council will help with the advertising for volunteers.