A SOCIAL enterprise committed to saving waste food is throwing its weight behind County Durham’s bid to become UK City of Culture.

REfUSE café, based in Chester-le-Street, is planning to set up street banquets throughout the county serving up food that would otherwise have gone to waste.

The community interest company had a stall at the Bishop Auckland Food Festival at the weekend, where they shared their passion for saving food and highlighted their part in the City of Culture bid.

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REfUSE operations manager Bethan Hosker said: “We are part of the People's Food Project of Durham County Council’s Capital of Culture bid.

“If the bid is successful, we plan to hold street banquets across County Durham.

“There will be big meals served up at community tables on the streets.

"People will be eating together and talking about food waste, while we'd raising the profile of food and our culture at the same time. Food is a big part of our culture.

She added: “We are a non-profit social enterprise based in Chester-le-Street.

“We collect about 13 tonnes of food waste very month and turn that into delicious meals for our customers.

“We have got about 150 volunteers who help us day in and day out. It’s Ready Steady Cook every day.

“We are fighting food waste and creating a community café space for everyone."

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"We serve the food on a pay-as-you-feel basis, so people get an envelope and can make a donation for their food. We are all about making food accessible and rescuing food."

Bradford, County Durham, Southampton and Wrexham County Borough are the four areas shortlisted to be UK City of Culture 2025.

The four locations were approved by Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries based on independent advice made to the government by a panel of experts led by Sir Phil Redmond.

The successful bid will be announced in May.

If successful the bid is expected to lead the creation of an additional 2,500 jobs in Durham’s creative industries and an extra 200 creative enterprises in the county by 2029; directly supporting almost 1,000 businesses and organisations; and creating a £41.5 million spend with at least 50 per cent of contracts going to local suppliers.

More than 15 million additional visitors are likely to be brought to the region, many of whom would stay overnight, helping to boost the visitor spend by £700 million and supporting the creation a further 1,800 jobs in the tourism sector.

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