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The Carriageway in festive foodbank drive

A popular Middlesbrough eatery is offering customers a tasty discount in exchange for donations to a local charity.

The Carriageway Café - launched following the major revamp of Middlesbrough Town Hall - is giving a 10% discount to diners who bring in a donation to Middlesbrough Foodbank.

The idea is the brainchild of owners Ricky Smith and Sophie Cowen who wanted to do something to help those in need over the festive period.

Their chosen charity is the Trussell Trust, one of the UK's largest charities providing foodbanks with several on Teesside.

Throughout December, donated products will be delivered to the Middlesbrough foodbank, and money raised donated to the Trussell Trust.

To qualify, visitors to the Carriageway are simply asked to hand over their qualifying items at the till - they can then to choose either to take the 10% discount, or leave it to the Café to donate to the Trussell Trust. (The only exclusion is the ‘£5 lunch deal' - the Café will make a donation of 25p, and the customer will receive an extra stamp on their coffee collector card.)

Items accepted by the Trussell Trust include:

  • cereal
  • soup
  • pasta
  • rice
  • tinned tomatoes/ pasta sauce
  • lentils, beans and pulses
  • tinned meat
  • tinned vegetables
  • tea/coffee
  • tinned fruit
  • biscuits
  • UHT milk
  • fruit juice

Many food banks also provide essential non-food items such as toiletries and hygiene products. Find out more at

Ricky said: "We wanted to do something for the community, and foodbanks have such an important role to play in the current climate.

"That's especially true at this time of year, when people traditionally spend more time together with friends and family.

"It's our way of raising awareness of the great work foodbanks do, and enabling our customers to give something back - when they're buying their lunch, they will be helping to ensure someone in need is also able to eat."

Mieka Smiles, Middlesbrough Council's Executive member for Culture & Communities, said: "The winter months can be a time of particular hardship for those in need, and foodbanks play an important role

"Ricky and Sophie have come up with a really innovative way to help local people make a real difference to the lives of those less fortunate than themselves."

The Carriageway Café at Middlesbrough Town Hall is open Monday-Friday 10am-4.30pm and Saturday 10am-4pm (food served until 3pm).