A POP-UP café serving food which would otherwise go to waste has secured funding to get a permanent base in a County Durham town.

The founders of RE-f-USE, which makes the most of food other people are throwing out, have reached their £15,000 target to refurbish a new cafe in Chester-le-Street and buy a van to help them collect more food.

The community interest company, which is part of the Real Junk Food Project, was set up in early 2015 by Nikki Dravers and Mim Skinner and has been running pop-up events ever since.

Founded with the aim of reducing food waste, the pair find their ingredients in the region’s supermarkets, wholesalers, greengrocers, bakeries, cafes and restaurants, picking up anything that would otherwise be going in the bin.

Since it started it has now hosted 26 events – including a wedding, served around 3,000 meals and saved more than 3,800kg of food from being wasted.

After 18 months of running events around County Durham, they are now planning to settle down in the hope of serving up even more meals.

The cafe will be “pay as you feel” so diners will be invited to pay what they feel their meal was worth.

A crowdfunding campaign was set up to raise £15,000, with 250 people backing the project within a month

Ms Dravers said: “We can’t wait to get set up in Chester-le-Street.

“Having a permanent cafe and a van means that we can go from collecting food a couple of times a month to almost every day.

“That’ll mean tonnes more food being intercepted from landfill and thousands more people enjoying it, helping to reduce food waste in the North-East.”

Until now the project has relied on Ms Draver’s car, but a new van will mean they are able to collect around ten times more food.

Ms Skinner added: “I’m over the moon that we’ve reached our target. I can’t thank our backers enough. It means a lot that the support came from within the community rather than a big grant-funder. It’s a cafe which will be put together by its community and sustained by it. It’ll be run each day by volunteers so please do get in touch if you’d like to get involved.”

They have now decided to double their target to £30,000 to try and set up another cafe in the area.

They are also hoping to get involved in other schemes in 2017, including setting up a pay-as-you-feel anti supermarket – similar to one which opened in Leeds in September – and working in schools to serve up nutritious meals to pupils.