I first heard about Thought Foundation through Twitter. An arts and cultural space, there is also a café to enjoy a coffee or let the kids entertain themselves. I was keen to visit myself as I appreciated the spirit behind the project. Keen to support local suppliers, to cut down on waste production and repurpose items, the team behind this Community Interest Company (CIC) share a similar ethos to our family.
Although reasonably familiar with Birtley, I had no idea where the Thought Foundation was. Located on Durham Road close to Jewsons Building Merchants, TF is housed under the Cedrec offices. Thankfully my friend was more on the ball than I was and managed to get there first, which meant I merely had to look out for her car as I drove round 🙂
We popped in for a natter and lunch during the school holidays. I didn’t take Dinky with me but wish I had as the area to the exterior of Thought Foundation is set up for tots. She would have loved The Imagination Station – an interactive space where children can run themselves ragged! As well as toys to play with there’s a fun switch wall, a repurposed waltzer seat from a fairground and other pieces to get the cogs in their heads whirling. I think Dinky would have especially liked the umbrellas suspended from the ceiling, complete with ‘rain’.
Most importantly for a food blogger, of course, is the grub. I was pleased to see vegan options clearly labelled, as well as dairy alternatives freely offered. Unfortunately they’d sold out of their SFV Carrot and Ginger Cake before I arrived, but I was pleased to hear they always aim to have vegan and gluten-free treats on offer every day.
My friend had Quiche (£6) while I opted for the Soup of the Day (£3.50), which was served with plenty of bread. It was good to see local suppliers being championed, with The Pickle Palace’s chutneys and jams used. There’s also a discussion taking place at the moment with our favourite brownie producers, Auntie Mo’s, who also sell vegan friendly cookie mixes.
As well as the café there is a store selling quirky bits and bobs, as well as a vast exhibition space featuring artwork from different creators. Leanne Pearce, one of the directors of the project, is hoping some of her work will also be displayed in the near future. The subject matter is breastfeeding and I have been interested in viewing her work since I read about it last year.
With breakfasts, healthy lunches and a kids menu on offer, Thought Foundation is a great place to pop to for a bite to eat. The soup was wholesome and filling, while the side salad heaped with Hummus on my friend’s board was generous. There really wasn’t anything to find fault with and we’d happily return for a bite to eat again in the not-too-distant future.
Thanks for reading,
Looking for more community based projects in the area? Check out our review of Creative Base in Bill Quay here.