A CHARITY which simultaneously supports people facing crises while helping reduce food waste has had to close its "unworkable" Andover shop and is now hoping to find a new home in the high street. 

As previously reported, Connect Aid, a national charity based in Shropshire, which responds to crisis situations in the UK and overseas, took over the building previously home to Sainsbury's on Bridge Street last year.

The charity's Save It Discount Store in Andover saw surplus food collected, and then either redistributed or sold to the general public at a cut price to raise funds.

READ MORE: Saxon Fields: Travellers leave Andover park after order served

Manager Katie Tricker told the Advertiser that the store had no choice but to close due to "structural issues affecting health and safety" including a leaking roof, no hot water and the team had to use a portaloo.

She said: "Being a charity with no funds to fix the problems the building is just no longer workable for our projects."

A post on Facebook reads: "We have closed the Save It Store with immediate effect to the public due to structural issues affecting health and safety that are beyond our control. We are desperately looking for a new building in Andover centre.

"We will continue to support our community - so please message the page if you need us. Diversity For Dinner will run as normal."

More than 30 residents have commented on the Facebook post expressing their sadness and hope that the charity finds a new home.

The charity now hopes to find a new home on the high street. 

Talking about the shop Katie continued: "It helps the planet because we save everything from going to landfill. We also help anyone who is disadvantaged and anyone who knocks on our door who needs help, there is no criteria. If someone tells us they are hungry or 'we are short of food' then they can help themselves.

"We like to help people with dignity and inclusion in mind because no one has to come here and prove who they are."

She added: "We would love to be in the high street for footfall reasons and help the community as well. Where we are at the moment is a fairly quiet end of town and people don't necessarily know we are here.

"We really want to be able to fill a gap of what is missing in the high street because we know people want new things."

SEE ALSO: 4 Paws Pet Spa set to open its doors in Ludgershall

Community projects the charity currently runs include diversity for dinner, pet poverty, and period poverty.

Katie has spoken to borough councillor Iris Andersen who is advising Katie on how to get help from Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC).

Lea Beven, the founder of and “driving force” behind the charity, said: "This kind of project helps people have food security because they can regularly shop somewhere cheaper than everywhere else and still staple items. If we are in the high street it means we can raise awareness of food waste and educate the whole community on how much food is wasted."

Katie and Lea have agreed to a temporary stop on their pay for the coming weeks while the charity looks for a new home.

A TVBC spokesperson said: "We do not own or have responsibility for the building the Save It Discount store/charity occupies. We are aware that they have made an approach to the council and a meeting is being set up in response to this."