The Horsfall campaign & pop-up dinner by Mary-Ellen McTague

Polly Checkland Harding

Exclusive – a brand new reward announced for The Horsfall Crowdfunder campaign, and it’s a really good one…

We don’t often weigh in on a crowdfunding campaign – but when 42nd Street, the award-winning mental health charity behind The Horsfall, told us that they would be announcing a brand new reward, we had to get involved. Why? Partly because we’re about supporting a good cause where we can, but also because the announcement fits into a story we’ve been following for some time.

Back in March, acclaimed chef Mary-Ellen McTague gave us the inside scoop on her ambitions to open a (hotly-anticipated) restaurant at The Roadhouse, revealing that the project had fallen through. Instead, she was to become the Head Chef of the Real Junk Food Project in Manchester, using her incredible culinary talents to serve up reclaimed food on a pay-as-you-feel basis. The Real Junk Food Project (and McTague) have since been looking for a permanent home, and opportunities to catch her cooking are rare – which is why Horsfall’s brand new Crowdfunder reward is so appealing.

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In return for a pledge of £500, Mary-Ellen McTague and The Real Junk Food Project will be cooking an exclusive, pop-up dining experience for six people in the newly renovated Horsfall venue in Ancoats. Do the maths, and that works out at just over £83 per head – not bad for a bespoke dinner by one of the country’s top chefs, as well as helping to fund the incredible Horsfall project.

An exclusive, pop-up dining experience for six people in the newly renovated Horsfall

The Horsfall was inspired by the little known Ancoats Art Museum, an altruistic endeavour established by 19th century visionary Thomas Horsfall to provide art, concerts, classes, music and countryside rambles to some of the most disenfranchised people in Manchester at the time. In an echo across the decades, The Horsfall – a three story Victorian shop on Great Ancoats Street – is being transformed into an arts and mental health space for young people, with plans for a programme of immersive theatre, public art pieces, art sessions and even inventing a new flavour of ice cream.

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If you’ve not got £500 to hand (or, more likely, five friends who can stump up £83), there are lots of other rewards on offer, including limited edition laser cut necklaces, notebooks, mugs, a Broadside Ballad (see the Crowdfunder campaign for more on that) and a tour of Oxford. Here’s wishing 42nd Street luck with their final push towards £15,000 (remember, if they don’t reach it, they’ll get nothing) – whilst also hoping that this might signal future collaboration with McTague. The Real Junk Food Project is looking for a home, after all…

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