The Street is the Menu meal at the Brotton mini festival

Local communities to benefit from Festival’s funding boost

Communities local to the Festival of Thrift’s Redcar home are set to benefit from some life-enhancing skills thanks to a grant from the Sirius Minerals Foundation.

The award from the charity is being used by the Festival to share and show the benefits of sustainable living and provide access to year-round support for those living in the Redcar and Cleveland area, some of whom are in danger of becoming socially isolated.

The initiative will build on the success of this year’s repurposing of the Festival’s large-scale annual weekend event following the coronavirus pandemic, to create Thriftfest Upcycled 2020.

The focus of the revised celebrations was on making the event and its programme of fun-filled activities and thrifty and sustainable living tips and tricks as accessible as possible to as wide an audience as possible.

This included creating a pioneering socially-distanced ‘secret’ mini-festival in September for a community that was hit hard by the pandemic in Woodside and Chestnut Grove, Brotton.

Described afterwards by Brotton Councillor Graham Cutler as an “an amazing day” that “lifted people out of lockdown”, the day-long socially-distanced event featured a packed programme including a parade, live music, storytelling, craft activities and street performers.

Residents also enjoyed a meal served up in their front gardens, pictured at the top, with a menu based on stories from those who lived in the street.

A series of ‘Thrift Your Place’ activity packs were produced to enable people to re-create activities at home that they would have enjoyed if they’d visited the event.

The packs were available to download from the Festival’s re-designed website and 1,000 printed copies were distributed by the Redcar and Cleveland Council community development teams to reach those without easy access to technology.

Selected independent traders selling sustainable goods from the north east region were also supported in a virtual marketplace hosted on the Festival’s website that has been visited by thousands.

Festival of Thrift Director, Stella Hall, pictured below, said the team were thrilled to receive the grant from The Sirius Minerals Foundation, the charitable arm of Anglo American’s Woodsmith Project being built near Whitby and on Teesside.

Festival of Thrift director Stella Hall at Thriftfest Upcycled's mini festival

“In a year when we have successfully overcome the challenge of taking our hugely popular festival online, the money will enable us to build on our digital skills so we are in a stronger position to provide accessible resources and invaluable support for our local communities.

“Our Festival champions and celebrates sustainable living and the skills we promote are even more relevant than ever. This grant will allow us to share these throughout the year through, for example, enhancing our website, creating online workshops and digital training for volunteers.

Stella added: “This marks the start of an exciting and fruitful partnership with the Foundation and is a great example of how cultural organisations and businesses can work together for the benefit of the communities they serve.”

The Festival of Thrift is currently scheduled to return to Kirkleatham on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 September 2021 and Thriftfest Upcycled 2020 activities can still be found at

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