A CITY centre church is now too decrepit to keep helping the homeless, leaving a number of Bradford soup kitchen groups out in the cold.

But bosses at the Roman Catholic Diocese of Leeds, which owns St Mary's at Barkerend, have vowed to try find another of its properties to offer them shelter so they can keep up their good work with St Patrick's Church the front runner.

Dangerous electrics, a leaking roof and costly repairs that would have run into thousands of pounds forced the hand of Diocesan Trustees when they decided "with sadness" they could no longer allow about ten groups, which include The Bradford Curry Project and The Welcome Group, to serve up hot food from its kitchen in the old cinema area of the listed building at St Mary's Church.

For almost a decade, the Diocese has let the groups use its facilities free of charge but the state of the property, which is up for sale, was deteriorating fast.

In a bid to get enough money together for repairs, trustees had asked the groups to contribute but property administrator Kevin Anderson said: "Only one said yes, the majority said no."

He added: "It's a shame and with sadness that we have not been able to continue the provision at St Mary's. The groups have been told we can no longer allow them to use it. It would not be in the interests of the groups or of the Diocese to invest in repairs. We are looking at resourcing some other property and being able to offer them an alternative."

Troubles escalated two weeks ago when the electrics tripped and rainwater was pouring down one of the kitchen walls, which mean volunteers at The Curry Project had to keep cooking by torchlight and had to serve the food from the doorway.

John Whitworth, of The Bradford Curry Project, said his group had decided to move out before the trustees made the decision.

"It would be dead money to get the repairs done, the building is up for sale anyway," he said.

"We've been paying a very nominal rent over the years we've been there but now we are actively looking for somewhere else."

Eileen Armstrong, of The Welcome Group, said: "This ending has not not come as a surprise. The roof was like a sieve and we had a water feature on one of the walls like Niagara Falls. We have watched the building deteriorate over the years. It's done us proud, we've had eight years sterling service out of it."

Mrs Armstrong has suggested to the Diocese that the groups could transfer to St Patrick's in Sedgefield Terrace, Bradford.

In response, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Leeds, the Right Reverend Marcus Stock, said: "It is important that this work is supported and sustained by the Diocese of Leeds within its capacity to do so.

"To that end, I believe that your suggestion of you exploring the provision of improved facilities at St. Patrick’s could the best way forward.”