News and Events
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Full Circle Food Newsletter – October 2021
You can download and read our October 2021 newsletter here
Half Term Activities
Food waste – quarter 3
Children’s Summer Activity Programme
Football and Food Poverty
Hirst Park is situated in the heart of Ashington, a mining town in the beautiful county of Northumberland. The town was, until the late 1980’s, the location of the largest coal mine in the UK. With a history that spans over 100 years, Hirst Park has been enjoyed by generations of families and even used as a place of refuge for those evicted from their homes in 1926 by the Coal Mining Company following their decision to strike against work conditions and a reduction in pay, setting up a small community, living in poverty under canvas in the park until their prospects improved.
Around a decade or so later some local lads, you may have heard of them; Jackie Milburn and his Mothers’ cousins, Bobby and Jack Charlton, enjoyed kicking a ball around in Hirst Park. Jack was spotted playing football in the park by a scout from Leeds United. Speaking in an interview Jack said “The football pitches where we played were created from ash tip from the colliery and these were our first training grounds – our very own Wembley. The park was a precious place where me and Bobby learned our craft, training and playing for fun, before going on to join Leeds and Manchester United then playing in the World-Cup winning England side in 1966. Hirst Park made it possible for us and would play all day if we could – and we often did!”
Today, the park is well used by the community and has recently become home to us at Full Circle Food – an Ashington based charity started in 2014 that has grown and developed, supporting the local community through educating them about growing food to eat, healthy cooking on a budget and supporting people to lead healthier lifestyles. We are a small team of 5 staff with a handful of the most loyal and passionate volunteers all dedicated to supporting our community to improve mental health and reduce food poverty. As the name suggests our service delivery goes full circle…
We are resident in the park in a new building funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the National Lottery Communities Fund as part of the Hirst Park Revival Project. The building includes a fully fitted training kitchen which allows us to deliver cooking classes for adults, children and families, helping them to learn how to cook healthy meals from scratch, on a budget while reducing the need to rely on the community larder which is another service we offer to those who need it. We are really passionate about food waste and child poverty – which sadly is a high statistic in our area. All throughout the year we host events such as our weekly pop up soup takeaway, winter warmer meals and recipe boxes for people to cook at home with their family to name a few.
In 2020 we joined FareShare in the fight to reduce food waste and hunger and use the food distributed through the scheme to cook free meals for our community. To date we have helped redistribute over 3 tonnes of food. We are avid supporters of footballer Marcus Rashfords’ campaign to ensure every child has food, giving out free packed lunches and hot meals throughout the school holidays, something I’m sure Sir Bobby Charlton, a Manchester United veteran would be proud to be behind in his hometown of Ashington. This is something we continue to deliver and are extremely passionate about.
Our Hirst Park Growing Zone houses a community food garden, where people come to learn to grow their own food from seed, take part in a men’s shed and other outdoor activities that reduce social isolation, stimulate conversation, make friends and most importantly supports mental health and wellbeing. We also run gardening classes for children so they can learn about the origin of food, flowers and wildlife, enjoying outdoor activities while learning. We are also in the early stages of developing a sensory garden so everyone can enjoy the outdoors.
A new creative project is taking part this summer in the park, based on the theme of Solidarity. The focus will be on food and football – women’s football! It’s little known that back in the 1920’s women did play football, in fact, local teams would often play in Hirst Park to raise funds to support those families evicted from their homes, living in tents with no money to support their needs or to feed their children. It’s quite ironic that over a century later, we still have families in Ashington living in poverty unable to feed their children – a child should never go to bed hungry.
As coal mining was the main industry in the town, generations of families have deep connections with the park where people come to enjoy activities through youth clubs, community organised events and to meet and spend time with friends and family. There is a great sense of community and pride in Ashington, which is why ‘Solidarity’ has been identified as the theme for this project, Solidarity is something that has been passed down through the generations right from the women footballers helping those in need over a century ago.
A Football Festival will also be taking place with loads of other activities and events along with the reveal of the artistic interpretation of the sporting and social heritage of Hirst Park.
Follow us on social media for further developments of the park regeneration, what’s going on, how you can get involved and all of what Full Circle Food has to offer.
You can download Football and Food Poverty here.
Full Circle Food Newsletter – May 2021
You can download our Quarterly newsletter below…
We know you can never have too many seeds, but perhaps you’ve got surplus courgette seeds and would like some climbing beans instead….well we have the solution. Why not come along to our Seed Swap between 2-3pm every Wednesday at our Hirst Park Growing Zone in Ashington (take the fifth avenue turn off Hawthorn Road, enter the park through the main black metal gates then turn left through the wooden gates). We look forward to see you there
Our new kitchen is now open!
Our wonderful new training kitchen at our Hirst Park Growing Zone in Ashington is all complete and ready to start our cooking classes again from 17th May. Thanks to our funders : The National Lottery Heritage Fund, The National Lottery Community Fund, Northumberland Community Chest and The Antonio Carluccio Foundation.
Earth Day 2021
Today we are celebrating Earth Day with a Cook-a-long where we will demonstrate how you can make your own Vegan Spaghetti Bolognaise at home!
We’ve teamed up with Bridge Northumberland providing a recipe box to 20 of the Bridge participants so they can join in at home.
Why not cook along too? Follow this link https://youtu.be/qtgKc3y6aXM to the video where you will find Georgia from Full Circle Food taking you step by step how to cook this healthy dish. This Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese features vegetables that we regularly grow here at our Hirst Park Growing Zone, here in Ashington, Northumberland.
This recipe serves 4-6 people and costs on average around £4 to make – for a list of ingredients and recipe please visit our website http://www.fullcirclefoodproject.org.uk/…/Vegan-Spaghetti-B…
At Full Circle Food we educate people living in Northumberland about growing food to eat, healthy cooking on a budget; and supporting people to lead healthier lifestyles.
Earth Day is an annual event held on 22nd April to demonstrate support for environmental protection – it has been running since 1970! You can find out more about Earth Day at https://www.earthday.org/earth-day-2021/…
Full Circle Food Newsletter – February 2021
Despite the restrictions due to Covid-19 our Men’s Shed is back up and running and bringing a much needed relief to many – why not come along and see what we do, have a chat and stay for a cuppa. We are based in Hirst Park – you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow us on Facebook for more information…