A charity which supports families has announced a closing date for its Romford shop.

Smile London & Essex will shut its North Street premises for good tomorrow (April 26), it announced on Facebook.

The charity, founded in 2017 and which provides food and clothing bank services, was told to vacate the site on April 9, its chief executive Maria Quaife said.

This comes after Ms Quaife accused The Raphael Freshwater Memorial Association, said to be the landlord, of giving no option to negotiate a deal to stay.

After the closure was deemed unavoidable, Smile yesterday posted: "Thank you to everyone who has been down to our charity shop and bought some bargains to support us over the last few weeks.

"From Monday (April 29) we will no longer be able to keep the shop open as we continue packing up ahead of leaving the site."

RELATED NEWS: £20k drive to fund Smile London & Essex's Romford relocation

Romford Recorder: Smile Founder Maria Quaife at a uniform swap shop last year organised by her charitySmile Founder Maria Quaife at a uniform swap shop last year organised by her charity (Image: Smile London & Essex)

When we approached the association for comment, The Recorder was put in touch with a spokesperson for Centric Community Projects.

Centric said Smile had used the premises for free since 2020 and it was understood the property would be returned within a "reasonable" time.

"When [Smile] first signed up over four years ago, it fully understood there was a 30-day notice period to vacate as and when the premises were required to be returned to the owner," Centric, an organisation that provides free spaces for charities, said.

This came after Ms Quaife claimed Smile had been treated unfairly.

"It's [the closure] going to severely impact our families because there's no charity around which does what we do."

After Smile announced its North Street closure, the charity has been looking to find an alternative high street premises.

Havering Council had invited Smile to look at other potential units, but said the charity's preferred choices already were subject to interest from other parties.

Smile will open and close for the last time on North Street from 10am until 4pm tomorrow.

It is aiming to fundraise £20,000 towards its relocation and has already reached more than £14,500.

To donate to Smile's fundraiser, visit gofundme.com/f/help-to-relocate-much-loved-charity.