A FOOTBALL club's charity is set to take over a foodbank and create a 'community hub' in a shopping centre.

Burnley FC in the Community has lodged plans to move the town's foodbank into a vacant retail unit in Burnley's Charter Walk.

Working alongside other businesses and organisations, the charity proposes creating a communal space with a library, public cafe, meeting room, food storage and staff areas.

If given the go ahead, the charity aims to provide cooking skills to vulnerable people and help them get back on their feet.

The project would create two full-time staff, 12 part-time staff and need 20 volunteers.

The foodbank, which is currently based in Briercliffe Road and run by Spacious Place Engage moved from Trafalgar Street three months ago.

Spacious Place Engage will join the charity and run certain elements of the foodbank including a home delivery service.

Paul France, the deputy chief executive of Burnley FC in the Community and who is leading the project, said it will be more than just a foodbank.

He said: "We want to be able to help people within the foodbank and make sure people are not going without food.

"Our aim is to create a type of shop where people would be able to pick foods they need, not just given a plastic bag with items inside.

"We also want to be able to educate people and make sure they have the knowledge to go out and buy healthy foods, which will help bring obesity levels down.

"We want to make a community hub for a wide range of people to benefit from.

"We want to work with organisations and other charities to provide the best service possible, I would urge groups to get in touch."

The unit is located on the first floor promenade overlooking Market Square, above New Look and adjacent to the first floor of Poundland and River Island.

Cllr Lian Pate, executive member for community and leisure services, who also helps run a similar service in Accrington, said this would be invaluable to those who need it.

She said: "I've found there are a lot of men, in their 50s, who need support like this in Burnley.

"They don't have children so they don't get the extra help others might do, but with this sort of service they will be able to find their feet.

"Giving people the knowledge and the tools to be able to help themselves in the future is so important.

"I'm fully behind this, it sounds like such a fantastic service to provide and Charter Walk is such a great place to be.

"I have been in a situation myself where somewhere like this would have really helped me."

The unit was previously used as a clothing retail space ‘J3 Clothing’.

The proposed opening hours include 7am to 7pm Monday and Tuesday, 7am to 9pm Wednesday and Thursday, 7am to 7pm on Friday and 8am to 6pm on Saturday, Sunday it will be closed.

Julie Cooper, Burnley and Padiham MP, said: "While I celebrate this fantastic move made by Burnley FC in the Community to establish a foodbank here in Burnley town centre, I am deeply saddened that in 2017 in one of the richest nations in the world we have such a high demand for foodbanks.

"Having said that I am so pleased to see BFC in the Community create an initiative that will not only help so many families with food, especially in the run up to Christmas, but will also help families to eat well for less by educating them about healthy cooking on a budget.

"I applaud all their work here in the community and I know this latest venture will be a huge help for many families."

In planning documents on behalf of Burnley FC in the Community, Haslingden-based agent Zara Moon Architects, said: "By using sport, fresh food, and teaching cooking skills Burnley FC in the Community will help people to have a healthier and sustainable lifestyle.

"By relocating the foodbank into a building containing multiple community services, the client aims to provide a one-stop shop for local people within a more accessible central location.

"This proposal is to upgrade a vacant unit by bringing the building up to current standards; provide the local community with a contemporary set of spaces and services for people in need, and create a valuable contribution to the town centre which can enhance the lives of local people."