Thirteen helps Middlesbrough residents eat sustainably

Thirteen is supporting an innovative community project in Middlesbrough to provide affordable food to local people while helping to cut down on waste generated by supermarkets.

Eco Shop Customers Staff And Thirteen Staff Outside Shop

4 Nov 2020

The Active Tees Valley eco-shop is supplying food to people living in Pallister Park that might otherwise have been thrown away by shops and supermarkets.

The eco-shop is based at the centre of a large residential area in the newly revamped East Middlesbrough Events Centre on the site of the former Middlebeck social club.

Thirteen provided support for a range of work on the shop and other facilities on-site to allow members of the community to visit and pick up food and other items. The former social club has also undergone exterior improvements to help improve the appearance of the area and accessibility of the community facilities in the building.

The eco-shop is not only helping families to benefit from quality shopping at knockdown prices, but it is also offering local people the chance to experience the world of work. Three volunteers are currently working at the shop, gaining experience of retail, stock management and customer service which could help them with their future career prospects.

Gary Hamilton from Active Tees Valley, said: “Although we started work in March, the shop has only just opened to the public after the lockdown, so it’s great to see people coming in, enjoying the facilities and taking away much-needed quality food.

“The shop is for anyone who’s feeling the pinch with money to come along and get some quality items at low prices.

“While we weren’t able to open over the summer, we were making up food parcels and have delivered over 650 to more vulnerable people in the area.

“We’ve had loads of support from Thirteen to get the eco-shop open and it’s great to have them and other partners on board. I’m really grateful for all their help and for the funding from Thirteen that’s enabled us to carry out the revamp and get the shop opened.”

The eco-shop is supplied with free food by local supermarkets who aren’t able to sell the items through their usual stores. Alongside the shop, an eco-café has also been opened to use any surplus food to serve up tasty treats to people living in the area.

Matthew Trueman, housing services manager at Thirteen has been working closely with Gary on the project.

Matthew said: “The new eco-shop is a great example of a community enterprise working for the good of residents at the heart of one of our neighbourhoods.

“Thirteen works hard to support the people in our communities so I was really pleased that we could help Gary and the project. The team has worked really hard over the past few months to get the shop ready so it’s brilliant to see people coming in and enjoying the fruits of their labours.”

The eco-shop is currently open on Friday afternoons but the team is aiming to make it the first shop of its kind to be open seven days a week.

Anyone looking for more details about the eco-shop can have a look at