Andys Middlesbrough and the Story behind The Fork in the Road. #ProjectOne

  I popped into the charity restaurant The Fork In The Road on 05/11/18 to meet its founder and driver Andy Preston.  Andy’s a local business person who like myself is hugely passionate and proud of  the town we both  called our home:Middlesbrough .

 I wanted to find out the reason why he decided to open the restaurant ,what positive impact the restaurant has had on the town and people of Middlesbrough and where he sees the restaurant going in the future. Also I wanted to know what Middlesbrough means to him, where he sees our town going in the future, what he believes needs to be done to make the town a better place.  This is my interview with Andy Preston – Andy’s Middlesbrough. Project One –  

What does Middlesbrough mean to you- 

To me Middlesbrough means family,friends and history.  It also means building and places I love.  I feel a very strong emotional attachment to Middlesbrough and it’s something I’m proud of.  Sometimes I am critical of  the town and like many people I can have a love hate relationship with Middlesbrough. Middlesbrough is a truly great place and I think it can do so much better – it can really improve.  There’s so much to our town and so much that needs to be done also to make Middlesbrough a better place. 

When I was younger Newcastle was twice the sizeof Middlesbrough and it had three times as many shops, bars and restaurants .The best way to understand what has happened to Middlesbrough over the past 30 to 40 years is to see that Newcastle is still twice the size of Middlesbroughbut now has ten times as many shops, bars and  restaurants as Midddlesbrough.  So Middlesbrough has been hugely overshadowed by the progress of Newcastle and so many other places.  Ss a town need to workout how this has happened – we’ll have to be honest about where we are as a town in 2018 and come up with a genuinely clever strategy to improve and catch up with Newcastle and other places that have progressed so much. And we do need to be positive – It’s really good to be positive – and we need to be honest about what can be done.

Middlesbrough needs a plan for the next five to ten years and that must include measurable targets . In my life I haven’t succeeded at everything I have done , but I have had some real successes.  When I have succeeded its because  I’d  set clear goal  with a timeline in mind .

 Fork in the road- for me starting this restaurant and venture was a way of doing something positive for the town I’m from – bringing a derelict building back to life and helping to change the lives of some people in negative situations. I think the restaurant stands out maybe as a bit of a beacon, maybe to inspire others and touch people lives .Lots of people  have come and eaten here and become impressed with the positive energy behind the placed and that makes me proud.   If you read our reviews on trip adviser so many people from outside the area when visiting Middlesbrough have come and eaten here, people have said they think every city should have one of these . 

What made you setup Fork in the Road- Wanting to make a little difference ,we supported  people with their lives and to grow and achieve more with their life. 

This is Andy Preston interview on what Middlesbrough means to him, and the story behind the restaurant The Fork in the Road. My meeting with Andy and discussing what Middlesbrough means to him and discussing Fork in the Road . I feel the Fork in the Road is one of many positive things currently going on in our town, the opening of the restaurant and concept behind it, will help Middlesbrough grow as a town, Hopefully inspire other local people to open a  business within Middlesbrough . I believe Andy’s passion for Middlesbrough and wanting the town to grow and do well ,and his passion for the restaurant the The Fork in the Road  a non profit restaurant that he has opened to help disadvantaged people to turn their life round through giving them employment,helping them grow . Shows somebody who wants to give something back to the town they are from, and cares a lot about Middlesbrough and people of the town.  I deem that Andy’s work and passion and his loyalty to Middlesbrough makes him one the people that really makes Middlesbrough are great place to live.

Article and photos by Chloe Tempestoso-Camera-Canon 430 IS

#Project The Dorman Long Band Story

Last week I met with local Teesside Band The Dorman long,talked all things Teesside,what the area meant to them,history behind their band, the name The Dorman long,and why there new single by the river is about growing up in Teesside,heres my interview with them,The Dorman Long story,two local lads proud to be from Teesside,Enjoy.

What’s the story behind your band?

We both met at Middlesbrough College where we did a Popular Music BTEC. We started writing together pretty much straight away and had a real chemistry when it came to making music. We formed a band called Shoebox and gigged a lot in the local area until about 2008 when we both went our separate ways for uni. I ended up moving to Manchester to study music and Ash moved to Crewe. One day I put a post on Facebook asking if anyone in Manchester had a charger and Ash responded, he was living in Manchester and I had no idea! We met up a few times for drinks and to play through some songs but at that time I’d really fallen out of love with music so it wasn’t until around Christmas 2017 that we started getting serious about writing together again. After that we really found that creative spark again and have been writing and performing together prolifically around Manchester but have ventured back to home quite often for gigs as we still have deep roots.

Why are you proud to be from the area?

There’s no where else like it on the planet! Despite having moved away, we both miss home; the scenery, the pubs, the food, the jokes, family, friends, it gets under your skin and you miss it after a while. As well as all that, it’s amazing to come from somewhere with such a rich industrial history that’s genuinely been so important to the world. People can’t believe it when I say that the Sydney Harbour Bridge was built here and that Teeside steel has built so many structures around the world. As well as the industrial history, there’s some notable musicians to take inspiration from such as Maximo Park, Cattle and Cane and someone who’s personally had a big influence on me (Vin Garbutt) who’s lyrics and music about the North East inspired me to start writing about my own experiences of my home town. That history is definitely something to be proud of.

Why do you think the area has such bad reputation by the national media and rest of the UK?

I think that’s a tough question to answer. I know that both of us definitely had some pretty rough experiences growing up in Teesside, as I’d imagine most working class kids from the area did. However, there’s been a massive lack of investment in the area, and there’s been a decline in industry and jobs for generations. Money’s tight for a lot of people, and with that comes problems. Teesside is still an amazing place with all that being said though, and I find it frustrating when people try and characature the area without any context or understanding of what it’s like. It’s got a lot going for it which should be celebrated more.

The Dorman Long Band

What’s the story behind your bands name Dorman long ? What made you choose that name? What made you write a song about the area? Why do you think it’s important for people in the area to be proud of and celebrate our area?

The band’s name comes from the Dorman Long company who constructed Steel in Teesside. I’d always loved the look of the old tower in South Bank when I drove past as a kid, but then there was an article I read a while ago from the BBC called ‘The Teesside Firm that bridged the world’. I sent it to Ash and we both agreed that The Dorman Long would be a great name for a band as it was so connected to where we’re from.

It’s absolutely important to be proud of where you’re from, but not just to have blind pride. We both feel passionately about Teesside, and hope that comes across in the music we make. It’s important to have an understanding of where you’re from and that includes both the rough and the smooth. If everything was smooth there’s be nothing decent to write about! That’s what we try to get across in our song ‘By the River’. It’s about moving away from home and those long drives back down the a19; going past all of the sights you know so well and reflecting on both the good and bad of the area you grew up in!

Famous Dorman Long Lego

Also what’s your message to young people wanting to get into music in Teesside?

Get together with your mates, start a band and just enjoy it for the craic. You don’t have to have amazing expensive gear, just a couple of guitars, a piano, a keyboard, a ukulele, even just a backing track on youtube sing/rap along with. Whatever you want to do, just start writing. Make music that you enjoy, don’t worry about whether other people like it, it’s about expressing yourself. Do it to make you happy!

The Dorman Long Band

What is the current music like on Teesside?

The current scene on Teesside is, and always has been vibrant and unique. There’s music being played and made all across the area. There’s a real worry though that with music being less of a priory in schools, and funding being cut, that less kids will have access to music. Hopefully though, Teessiders will always find a way and we’ll see new and exciting music created in the area for years to come!

If you want to listen to The Dorman Long,latest single,By the river check the link below- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMIl3F4C0Ms

If you would like support and follow the band head over to there Facebook page,check out the link- https://www.facebook.com/TheDormanLong/

Article by Chloe Tempestoso

Acklam Hall

Front of Hall
Acklam Hall Logo

Sir Francis Boynton owned the hall through its long association with the Hulster family.It began with the head of the family William Hulster a cloth Merchant from Bridlington who wanted a country estate close to work and by the river tees.He first rented Acklam hall big in 1637 where he bought the whole estate.

Brierley Events launched by the hall name after the famous Walter Brierley


Between 1683-1685 William Hulster Grandson also called William Hulster was knighted by King Charles II built Acklam hall as a two story building. 1815 for more than two hundred years the hall was home to the Hulster family. 1845-Thomas Hulster, who was born in America, was closely involved in the early development of Middlesbrough (The Infant Hercules) hall. This carried out significant alteration in 1845. Architect Walter Brierley added many new features to the hall in 1912.The hall kept many of its historical features from the original building from 1637. He also added much of his design to the hall.

Hall Turned Into All Boys School in 1935:

In 1935 the hall became education establishment becoming all-boys schools as in September 1935. In 2015 onwards restoration of the building was carried out. It was opened for the People of Middlesbrough in 2016 as offering a state of art restaurant, business space and wedding venue for the people of the area.

Old Poster advertising all boys School Uniforms

Tour of the Hall:

The saloon entrance of Acklam hall where the grand bar is located is where most of the Hussle and bustle were guests can enjoy breakfast or a spot of lunch from the Acklam hall Menu. As back in the hustle family days it wouldn’t be the busiest part of the hall many. Dining room extension was built-in 1912 by the architect Walter Brierly. The halls events company is named after the famous architect Walter Brierly.

Saloon area before the redevelopment and after in 2016

The Dining hall is the place where the church hosts its Afternoon tea and Fine dining experience. Hence it’s for customers who want a quieter dining experience. The parlor as back in the school days of the hall was the location of the headmaster’s office. Many of the customers who visit the today are themselves ex-students of the hall. The table located in the parlor area is made from original wood from the halls kitchen floor as making sure the hall keeps its authentic feel in the Modern day. The Grand Hall is that part of the hall is mainly used for wedding ceremonies.

Staircase area before the redevelopment and after in 2016

Hence all in the entire hall kept its old features from the Hulsters family days, and it’s English Heritage keeping it alive in the hall in 2019. The grand dining hall back in the hulster family day was known as the grand hall as in the school days known as the library. The sealing in the grand hall dated backs to 1683 as the grand hall is now used for significant networking events and weddings that have hosted over 100 weddings! Besides the hall is old historical Acklam Chruch St.Marys in 2017 first time in over 112 years the first bride walked through Briely gates to Acklam hall.

The Grand Hall after the redevelopment in 2016.

The hall is supervised by the young team led by managing director Michael Jones,who give myself a tour of the hall and its grounds,told me about the halls history,his Acklam hall team are passionate and hard-working as aiming to give their customers the best experience possible. One aim of hall is to celebrate its History through its stunning driveway, and avenue of tees view from the Grand hall upstairs it being Middlesbrough only one grade listed building offering Tapas nights and grand Christmas dinners. Acklam hall is Middlesbrough downtown abbey. In addition to the wedding package, the rooms provide a bridal suite. Much of the building is used as a private office space. There is a group called the Acklam boys club groups of gentlemen who attended the school all boys.

Luxury Bridal Suite
View of the hall from the pond area

Hence many people from the boys club visit the hall have fond memories at school there. Hall often hosts Club dinners for the Acklam halls club. Since opening the halls brought back a lot of pride in the town. The hall hires local people to try and use local companies keeping it very much for people of the area. Acklam Hall is helping to put Middlesbrough on the map as it is something people of the town should celebrate part of the town’s history.

Article By Chloe Tempestoso

Why is Teesside the UK’s Capital for Suicide?

What’s being done to prevent suicide in the Area

Suicide is among the major reasons behind the death of men under 50 in the UK. Although the rate of suicide has decreased over the past 30 years nationally, when it comes to Teesside there hasn’t been any substantial ratio changes. Still a very large number of people commit suicide in this area. The chart below shows the suicide rate of different areas per 100,000 population in 2015/17.

It is evident from the chart that the suicide rate in Teesside Middleborough is much higher compared to the rest of the UK.

Lack of Records

The residents of the Teesside don’t have much access to the facts and figures relating to suicide and self-harm in the area. The figures we have are just the information from Local hospitals A&E admission. However, many cases of self-harm and suicide don’t even go through AE departments, means we as town don’t even know the real figures of people who suffer from these issues.

The Mental Health Stigma

One of the major reasons behind the high rate of suicide in the area is the stigma attached to mental health. The stigma, myths, and stereotypes attached to mental health issues and people suffering from them make it difficult for people to discuss their issues with anyone. It is high time that we as a community start removing this stigma by addressing the mental health issues so that people don’t find it difficult to come out of the closet. Instead of helping people suffering from mental health issues and having suicidal thoughts, people still call them coward and selfish in 2019, which is hard to believe. We need to stop being mean to people with real mental health issues and be supportive to them while educating them on the subject more openly. We should try to stop people from taking their own lives in the area by helping anyone who is battling with mental health issues by dispelling any myths and eliminating stigma attached to mental health and suicide.

Key factors of suicide in the Tees valley

• Lack of services for those bereaved by suicide.

• Lack of understanding of the people who self-harm.

Who is at risk of suicide in our area and why?

The risk of suicide-related behaviour is thought to be determined by complex interplay of biological and social issues.

• Gender – current statics identify men are three times more likely to die from suicide than women.

• Age- The suicide rate in teens is rather low in the area. However, men in their middle life commit suicide more. This shows that middle age is a crucial age group and time to identify any mental health problems in people. For that matter, the subject should be spoken about in Teesside schools.

High-Risk Suicidal Groups

• People with a drug abuse history

• People with a history of self-harm

• People who have been in contact with the criminal justice system

• Unemployed people

• People who live alone

What services are given to people with mental health in Teesside?

• Charity groups

• Mind Samaritans

• Primary care services visiting your GP

• support groups and counselling services

• Specialist services – Tees ESK wears valley mental health foundation trust.

Local Mental Health Trust in the Tees Valley Area
Mind Teesside local Charity trying to tackle Mental health issues in Tees Valley

Media engagement

Media must be used to raise awareness regarding tackling the stigma attached to mental with people in Teesside so that they reach out to people when in need.

What needs to be done to stop suicide rates from going up

Understand why high-risk groups such as males won’t access traditional services such as visiting there GP if they are suffering from mental health issues. Comprehensibly identify the factors and then provide education and training to the local population and workplace to have a better understanding of mental health.

Article By Chloe Tempestoso

#Project Tees Factory

The Tees Shirt Factory (theteesshirtfactory.com) is a t-shirt website that makes garments promoting Middlesbrough and the local area. Founded in 2017 by Sarah Mitchell it was an idea that stemmed from wanting to have a side project at university. 

I asked Sarah about the business.
How did the idea start?
‘I wanted a way to make some extra money at university, and also to practice my design skills. I started making some logo designs for local businesses, then had the idea to make Middlesbrough themed shirts.’

Why did you choose to make locally themed shirts?
‘Middlesbrough sometimes has a negative image in the press and I wanted to promote some town pride and help people show off their home town, and what better way than on a t-shirt!’

Do you only sell locally?
‘The shirts are very popular with expats and have found their way to America, Dubai and even Australia
The Tees Shirt Factory also supplied me with a custom Project Middlesbrough shirt 

Sarah’s Independent Business is clear example of someone who is proud to be from Teesside, By highlighting through her T-shirt designs Tees Valley culture and heritage(Steel Industry, Transporter Bridge,Middlesbrough FC) something everyone in Middlesbrough should celebrate.

Sarah’s website can be found here at www.theteesshirtfactory.com

Article By Chloe Tempestoso

Vine Restaurant

If you are looking to enjoy the aesthetic beauty of Middlesbrough that comes with a fine dining and bar experience then you must visit Vine Restaurant. The idea of the restaurant belongs to Middlesbrough born Matthew Saul. He cordially invites you to step into the heart of Linthorpe and experience the perfect harmony of deliciousness amongst the food and thirst quenching drinks served at Vine Restaurant. 

Get what you always wanted

You can choose to have a moment of solitude by yourself, sitting in an armchair slowly sipping on a your cold fresh drink from the bar, whilst absorbing every entirety of freshness and calm of the historic atmosphere. Vine Restaurant is amongst the most unique and perfectly organized restaurants of  Middlesbrough.

Story of Origin

In the interview Mathew Saul explained the very reason for opening such an aspiring place in the Middlesbrough, he said “Middlesbrough needs diversity and change and for that to happen something out of the box was needed and Vine Restaurant is that something. We are looking forward to engage the public through live music from local artists on weekends and create different events throughout the year to showcase our wine, gin and cocktail menus.” 

He added further, “This place which is now Vine restaurant occupies a special place in my life, as soon as I laid my eyes on this place I fell in love with it. We renovated everything but still wanted to bring out the amazing original features of the building and as you can see the restaurant holds up as a special spot amongst the locals, as well customers from outside Middlesbrough. We are trying to bring a fine dining experience and for that to be achieved we introduce new food items every week to keep the menu fresh and exciting, using the best seasonal produce around keeping temptation there for the public.”

Bar & Food 

There is an impressive 21-foot long steel cocktail bar that is home to new and creatively exciting flavours regarding cocktails and other drinks as well. Vine Restaurant displays a traditional and customary connection with the town of Middlesbrough on its very building, there are special engravings, a special traditional looking design that resonates with the historical aspects of the area. 

Mathew Saul wanted to bring a special side to Restaurant, that’s why the bar has 16 craft ale taps available for all beer lovers! They will enjoy a traditional experience at Vine Restaurant given the tasting of their speciality drinks through the craft taps. Vine Restaurant has the most amazing open kitchen, award winning chefs and attentive staff. They all work seriously hard as a team to bring the best to  their dishes, drinks and experience. Also with having a lobster tank at the heart of the restaurant, produce is super fresh, sraight from the source to your table.

Bringing Diversity

Vine Restaurant is a huge supporter of local food producers and has the idea of customers enjoying natures best at its core. Also with the heartwarming music, including resident saxophonist Yussef Nimmer, who often performs on a weekend the restaurant, offers people a twist to their dining experience and this makes the whole thing look and feel like magic! 
Under the open sky at night, eating and chatting with your loved ones whilst swaying your head back and forth to the gentle music, that is the Vine Restaurant experience at it’s  finest.

Article By Chloe Tempestoso

Community Middlesbrough Stewarts Park Clean Up

I attended a community event last Sunday at Stewarts Park big clean up ,I was invited to the event by organisers Andy Preston and Carolyn Dodds. Over 100 people met on the day of the event and collected over 100kg of rubbish by cleaning the Middlesbrough Park and improving the image of our town.

It was so amazing to see so many people from our local area working together as a group to try and help improve Middlesbrough,show our town in a postive way, the event highlights the importance of community events and the good work they do for Middlesbrough,why we need to have more events like the one on Sunday at Stewarts Park.

I spoke to one of the organisers of the clean up event Carolyn Dodds asked her why she thought such community events were important for Middlebsrough.

Carolyn Dodds-Today in this age of Facebook and other social media sites “words speak far louder than actions” (or so it has been said) I would like to reverse this trend and see more people engaging in activities that give much needed help to our communities. Sunday’s get together at Stewart Park showed that more people at taking an interest and there is a growing number of folk wishing to help.   We need to applaud, encourage, and help these people/groups as much as possible. Many thanks to all who attended, also those that support us but were unable to join us. Facebook can of course be used to good effect by advertising these activities and giving encouragement.  

If you would like to get involved in the litter picking events around green spaces areas in Middesbrough please feel to contact the Project Middlesbrough facebook page for details of any upcoming events. If you care about Middlesbrough and want the image of the town to improve and for it to protrayed in a postive light like me,the clean up event is great way to help the fight for Middlesbrough to improve,show what a great area Middlesbrough is.

Article by Chloe Tempestoso Photos by Ian Morrish

Why we should save Teesside Airport

Teesside Airport is an important economic asset which is available to be bought off, and the mayor Ben Houchen of Tees Valley has offered to the buy the airport into public ownership an estimated budget of 40 million pounds is needed to strike the deal. Given the narrative of the sale, an Airport is an important economic as well as bridging asset which is responsible for joining nations with each other and empowering the locals as well.

Benefits of the Buy

As the mayor illustrates that buying the Airport and giving it into the public ownership will bring huge reforms for the people of Tees Valley and some of these benefits/reforms include;

  1. Changing the name of the Airport from Durham Tees Valley to the Teesside International Airport.
  2. By 2029 the Airport will be bringing 1.4 million active passengers to travel through various destinations even all over Europe, Australia, and the USA as well.
  3. 7600 will be created for the Teesside area and other important factors such as stabilizing the economy of the locals will be another great factor to admire.
  4. Addition of 10 additional routes by 2022 is also an important factor of this bought off, it will give access to the locals to travel to different places for holidays or other important events.
  5. People won’t have to travel all the way across to the Leeds or Newcastle which is on an hour drive from the Teesside.

Public Ownership

It is simple enough to say that we will let the airport close in 2021 with the current state the airport is in, I believe the people of Teesside and Ben Houchen deserves a chance to try and save our airport turn into its former glory . Otherwise, the we will be a largest  urban area in the UK without an Airport; also the public ownership seems to be the only way if the Airport should be saved from being closed off in 2021. 

Buying back the airport will have no impact over the economic growth of the locals if anything it will help the economy to get stronger without putting any extra charge to the people council’s tax bills.

With all the things labeled before you, it is clear that the Airport should go to public ownership if the Tees Valley needs economic stability.

The History of Teesside Airport

The Airport first came into existence in 1942, and it was a WW2 bomber base at Middleton St. George and was home to many Canadian Squadrons and after the war was over it got turned into a civil airport. Mercury Airline Service took the first flight in 1964 to the Manchester. Princess Margarethe of Sweden inaugurated the passenger terminal at the airport in 1966. It was named Durham Tees Valley in 2004 and in 2006 it received the largest number of passengers onboard about 900,000 but as of 2018, it was down to a record low of 140,000. In the history, people were able to fly to various destinations such as Rome, Dublin, and other beach destinations across Europe and also for Florida and Orlando, but as of 2019 only flights for Amsterdam and Aberdeen are flying on and off.

With such a splendid history and all the great destinations people could have traveled to, the Airport should be bought back to the public ownership and so the consistent path to prosperity and economic stability could be completed.

It is obvious that the people of Tees valley deserve a World Class Airport for themselves and also for the sake of economy of the valley as well. That is why the Airport should be bought back to the public ownership and for that to happen people need to raise their voices and demand the very bought off to be given in the public ownership of the Tees Valley that would be a wise step ahead.    

Article by Chloe Tempestoso