Award-winning affordable food scheme launches first North Tyneside Hub in Howdon

Cllr Karen Clark, cabinet member for health and wellbeing

The Bread and Butter Thing (TBBT) – one of the UK’s leading community food organisations – is bringing its innovative affordable food service to North Tyneside in partnership with North Tyneside Council.


The project will launch at Family Gateway’s Howdon Community Hub on April 1 providing access to low-cost food alongside a programme of wraparound services offering financial, employment and health support.


Four further hubs are planned across the borough during 2022.


TBBT has forged close links with supermarkets, factories, and farms to redistribute surplus food - food that often ends up going to waste just because it’s wrongly labelled or there’s too much of it.


For just £7.50, TBBT members’ shopping bags are filled with an average of £35 worth of items made up of quality nutritious food. Each week members access three bags of produce including fresh fruit and veg, chilled goods for the fridge, as well as cupboard staples such as pasta and cereal.


Families can use their NHS Healthy Start vouchers and low-cost period products are also available.


North Tyneside Council has funded the initiative through its Poverty Intervention Fund. This fund aims to help reduce the impacts of poverty on families and individuals and address the many ways living in poverty can affect people - from a financial, social and health perspective.


Cllr Karen Clark, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, North Tyneside Council (pictured), said: “We’re really excited about our partnership with The Bread and Butter Thing and the launch of the first of five hubs here in North Tyneside. This is a key part of our Equally Well Strategy to tackle inequalities across the Borough.


“We want North Tyneside to be a place where nutritious and affordable food is accessible to everyone, but we know that this is becoming increasingly difficult for many as living costs continue to rise.


“This new service will make a difference to hundreds of residents who are struggling, not only by providing a more affordable alternative and enabling their budget to stretch further, but also by offering other kinds of support and advice.


“The council has declared a Climate Emergency, setting a target to work towards being carbon neutral by 2030, and the added benefit of this model is that it redistributes large quantities of perfectly good food that would otherwise have gone to landfill.”


Within the last year, TBBT has doubled its reach from its Greater Manchester origins. A second TBBT warehouse opened in County Durham in November 2020, new vans have taken the fleet to 13, and almost 60 hubs are now operational across the North of England including 18 in the North East, two in Cheshire, and 36 in the Greater Manchester area. TBBT’s first Yorkshire hub is also launching later in March.


With its community-centred focus, the charity supports other vital local work and provides wraparound support with experts in other areas such as debt counselling, housing advice, mental health support and grant applications.


Mark Game, TBBT Chief Executive said: "I’m delighted to be bringing our affordable food clubs to North Tyneside at a time when rising costs of living are forcing people on low incomes to make stark choices between heating and eating.


“TBBT is about creating routes out of poverty and creating resilient communities. Our members tell us that over 80% of them have previously had to skip meals to feed their families. By using TBBT, most save at least £25 a week on their food budgets with the added benefits of better quality and a bigger variety of food. This leads to healthier lifestyles and puts money back in people’s pockets.”


Family Gateway is an award-winning child poverty charity that puts local people in the lead and develops innovative solutions to community problems.


Julie Marriott, Chief Executive Officer, Family Gateway, said: “We are really pleased to be working with TBBT and North Tyneside Council to bring this new service to the community in Howdon.


“We’ve been along to visit one of TBBT hubs and heard first-hand about the difference it is making to the people who use the service.


“A combination of the impact of Covid-19 and rising living costs has meant we’re seeing more and more people struggling to make ends meet. The Hub has been open throughout the pandemic supporting the community including providing meals during the lockdowns. Now we are looking forward to welcoming more people back and have a wide range of activities taking place for people to get involved with.


“We’ve got lots of exciting things planned, such as developing a new community garden, where we can grow our own fruit and veg.


“We couldn’t do any of the things we do without our amazing volunteers and we are looking for more people to help support with packing bags and serving TBBT members at the hub – so if anyone would like to get involved, we’d love to hear from you.”


How to join:


Joining is simple. There are no joining criteria. People interested in using TBBT’s affordable food service need to register as members and should contact TBBT by email at or text 07860 063304. There is also a sign-up form and more information at Once registered, members receive a weekly text offering the food service which they can then collect at 1.30pm every Friday. The first week is free.


Want to help? 


The service is reliant on the dedication and enthusiasm of its volunteers, with over 400 people giving their time each week to the charity which won the Queen's Award to Voluntary Service in 2020. Anyone interested in volunteering can find out more and get in touch through TBBT's website at


About The Bread and Butter Thing


The Bread and Butter Thing is a unique community-focused organisation which brings people in low-income areas together, developing individual and community resilience. We tackle premiums that such families face everywhere and the in-built social inequalities that come with them.


TBBT was formally founded in 2016. It started with one van and five community partners. By January 2022 it had more than 55 community partners with further hubs due to open in coming weeks. The charity saw a 460% increase in need at the start of lockdown in April 2020 and has seen a steady increase in numbers week on week.


TBBT now has over 23,300 members across Cheshire, Greater Manchester and the North East. The average saving per week is over £25 per household. Members range from young families and single parent families to refugees and the elderly.


It regularly distributes over 100 tonnes of surplus food each week, sourced from retailers, manufacturers and growers in a series of dynamic partnerships formed through innovative solutions to surplus edible food. Find out more here