Gentoo and RE:GEN fund first affordable food service in Sunderland

We are delighted to announce that we have launched a new hub offering affordable food to residents in Pennywell.

The Bread and Butter Thing (TBBT) is a mobile food club that provides low cost, nutritious food and toiletries, as well as access to services offering advice and support on finances, employment and health. In partnership with Gentoo, we are funding the new hub which opened at Pennywell Neighbourhood Centre on Wednesday 9 November. The hub is the first to open in Sunderland.

Members of TBBT pay just £7.50 to get shopping bags filled with a minimum of £35-worth of quality nutritious food. There is no commitment and it’s free to sign up as a member.

Each week members access three bags of produce including fresh fruit and veg, chilled goods, as well as cupboard staples such as pasta and cereal. Families can also use their NHS healthy start vouchers to pay for the bags.

Nigel Wilson, Gentoo Group Chief Executive Officer, said:

“A number of families in our communities are finding it hard and with the worsening cost of living crisis we know that the worst is likely still to come.

“These new hubs will provide a vital lifeline to residents who are struggling, helping them to have access to a range of products while saving money. We’re extremely proud to be part of this project, and even prouder to bring the first hub to Sunderland which will directly benefit the tenants and residents in our communities.”

TBBT works in partnership with supermarkets, factories and farms to redistribute surplus food. The food, which would otherwise go to waste because it’s wrongly labelled or there is simply too much of it, is distributed across all TBBT hubs.

Rachel McMullen, Social Value Coordinator at RE:GEN adds:

“We are delighted to be working with Gentoo and the wider community to support initiatives like ‘The Bread and Butter Thing’. The cost-of-living crisis has seen more families in the North East region than ever before questioning where their next meal is coming from so initiatives like this will play a key part in alleviating that stress. As well as removing the need to choose between heating or eating.

“For that we are extremely proud to be a part of it. The launch for the new hub in Pennywell was fantastic and we want to extend our thanks and gratitude to all of the volunteers who make the daily running of ‘The Bread and Butter Thing’ possible. We couldn’t have done it without them.”

Thanks to the partnership between Gentoo Group, Karbon Homes and North Tyneside Council, The Bread and Butter Thing will eventually have hubs open at five locations across the region.

There is no joining criteria. To register as a The Bread and Butter Thing member and find out where the nearest hub is, visit

RE:GEN Group is currently carrying out a multi-million pound improvement scheme to more than 1,100 Gentoo properties in Pennywell. The properties are being modernised using a whole house approach, which will see tenants benefit from: new roofs to their homes and outbuildings, new front door canopies, double glazing, loft insulation, cladding or render on outbuildings, new front garden fences and decoration to the outside of properties.