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Television bikers stop off at community bakery

08 November 2021

 

A community bakery which has a base at Teesside University is to feature in a new show which sees television duo The Hairy Bikers tour the region.

Fran Hammill, Teesside Big River Bakery
Fran Hammill, Teesside Big River Bakery

Simon King and Dave Myers have been travelling across the North-East for their new BBC 2 series, The Hairy Bikers Go North, described as ‘a love letter’ to the region and a celebration of the food and the people that produce it.

During their travels they stopped off at the Big River Bakery’s base in Newcastle, where they help to make stotties and pease pudding. Andy Haddon, founder of the Big River Bakery, said: “The Hairy Bikers spent a whole day with us and we had a great time making stotties and pease pudding.

“They were very relaxed company and chatted with all the team throughout the day. The team should be proud, as when the Hairy Bikers tasted our stottie sarnies, they agreed it was the best stottie ever.”

Big River Bakery is a community bakery founded in Wylam, initially set up at the local library as a volunteer-run initiative, selling loaves at weekends. Andy said: “Villagers would come to the library on Saturdays for their books and bread.”

As demand for their bread grew, the bakery eventually moved to a permanent home in Newcastle created in a former derelict property following a successful crowdfunding campaign. The premises house a production facility, café, retail space and training hub.

The Teesside bakery is unique - and builds links with the local community

Andy Haddon, founder of the Big River Bakery

A partnership with Teesside University has also led to the creation of a community bakery based at the Teesside Launchpad on-campus incubator for emerging enterprises.

Andy said: “The Teesside bakery is unique as it is based on the campus at Teesside University and builds links with the local community. Both bakeries run baking employability programmes to help people move forward who are long-term unemployed.”

Fran Hammill, who manages the Teesside Big River Bakery said: “There’s nothing like freshly baked bread; the process of making it is therapeutic and it is a great way of breaking down barriers. Making it gives people a sense of pride. Hopefully the passion will come across in all the classes we do together.”

Steve Dougan, the University’s Head of Enterprise, said: “Launchpad is not just commercial, it’s there for the university to project its civic mission out into the community.”

The episode of Hairy Bikers Go North is on BBC 2 at 7pm on 11 November.


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