Festival aims to unite community in sustainability celebration

Tees Business Digital Media Pack

The Teesside-based Festival of Thrift is aiming to bring the community back together this autumn in a major celebration of sustainable living.

Visitors can expect a warm welcome as the festival returns to the woodland setting of Kirkleatham, near Redcar, on September 25 and 26 – after last year’s event was forced online due to the pandemic.

With the ongoing roll-out of vaccinations and accompanying easing of restrictions, organisers hope it will be one of the first large-scale family events to be staged in the region.

Planning for the festival is already well-advanced – with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Tees and Young Architectural Practitioner’s Forum (YAPF) having launched a competition among its members to create an eye-catching and eco-friendly main entrance pavilion.

Darlington-based commercial building contractor Wharton Construction is advising the organising committee on the pavilion’s shape and concept as well as working closely with the architects on the practical use of sustainable materials and fabrication techniques.

The collaboration, supported by RIBA Tees, has resulted in four concept designs – entitled Top Hat, Toasting Gate, House Arches and River Pavilion – and it has been decided that they will be combined to realise the final design.

Among the materials that may be used are wooden pallets, plastic waste, tyres, fabrics and CDs.

Christine Thornley, chair of the RIBA Tees and South Durham branch, said: “The Festival of Thrift is an exciting opportunity to bring the community together once again after an extremely challenging 12 months.

“This family festival will be a fun event, but it’s also designed to showcase future sustainable design and construction solutions that can play a part in creating a more eco-friendly world. Despite the huge impact of coronavirus, global warming remains the biggest challenge we all face.”

Matthew Wharton, a director of Wharton Construction, said: “We are pleased to be associated with the Festival of Thrift which spotlights the talent and innovation within this region.

“However, it’s also a real community celebration and a fantastic opportunity to introduce the public to architecture and construction and show how everyone has a part to play in creating a greener future.”

This year, festival stallholders will also benefit from a programme of initiatives to provide training and trading opportunities beyond the festival weekend itself. These will include an increased digital marketplace, pop-up events and business-focused support.

Our photo shows, from left: Christine Thornley and Matthew Wharton outside Kirkleatham’s Toasting Gate, which will form the backdrop to the Festival of Thrift’s entrance pavilion.