Actor Alun Armstrong launches food project to support hard-hit families

A new project which will see takeaways delivered to struggling families has been officially launched by a well-known actor.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 05 September, 2018, 06:00

The volunteer-led ‘People’s Takeaway’ project - run by support group East Durham Trust - was officially launched yesterday by New Tricks actor, Alun Armstrong, in Peterlee.

The project will see hot takeaway food prepared and delivered to families facing hardship.

Actor Alun Armstrong launching new People's Takeaway by East Durham Trust with, from left, volunteer David Barry, Chair of Trustees Alan Miller, volunteer Stephen Simon and East Durham Trust CEO Malcolm Fallow

Alun, who grew up in Annfield Plain, County Durham, said: “I’m the son of a Durham pitman myself so all the terrible things that have happened to the villages since the collieries were closed, and the deprivation and the hardship of the people living in these areas have suffered, has always been close to my heart.

“So if there’s anything I can do to help these initiates which are helping them, then I will. I think this one is particularly impressive.

“There is an element of fun to it and why shouldn’t there be?”

The actor, who also had parts in the film Braveheart and the series Our Friends in the North, added: “Alan Miller, chairman of trustees, was saying a lot of their people don’t even see themselves as volunteers. They just think it’s a normal thing to do as members of the community.”

Actor Alun Armstrong launching the new People's Takeaway by East Durham Trust

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More than £20,000 was raised - through Comic Relief and a crowdfunding appeal - to allow for the installation of a new kitchen facility at the Community House, in Yoden Road, Peterlee, and training the volunteers.

At the launch, the charity has also revealed plans for an art cafe at Community House.

Malcolm Fallow, CEO of East Durham Trust, says the project is a ‘natural extension’ of the food bank which has been operating since 2011.

He said: “One of the issues with food banks they become very stigmatised and there are dignity issues with food banks and food parcels.

“What we’ve basically tried to do is take that barrier out of it that stops people coming forward and admitting, if you like, that they’ve got problems and they need some support from people like ourselves.

“It’s very simply a volunteer-led project, it’s people preparing food to take out in exactly the same way a high street takeaway company would, take food out to people in their own homes as a treat but as an alleviation of poverty.”

The project will take place on Fridays but the charity is looking at the possibility of extending it.