A local city centre business turned back the clock to return to the building where it operated more than 35 years ago, when the new sponsor of Hull Street Food Nights held its own international food day in partnership with fundraisers for the Turkey-Syria Earthquake Appeal.
ResQ, the contact centre business which is expanding its team of 2,000 people at sites in Hull and Seaham, County Durham, opened its headquarters at the Hammonds building and invited members of the Hull Turkish Education Society to sell traditional food from their homeland.
They were joined by Emily Taylor, who sold pies and pastries from the butchers and deli in Carr Lane, Hull, which was set up by her father, Ted Johnston, after he lost his job with the closure of the food hall in the building in 1987.
ResQ is one of the biggest employers in Hull city centre and staff from the company are expected to turn out in force when HullBID launches its 2023 series of Hull Street Food Nights in Zebedee’s Yard on Thursday 1 June.
CEO Gill Marchbanks sees the sponsorship of the events as a great opportunity to connect with candidates and customers.
Gill also confirmed ongoing growth at the business which recently followed the announcement of nearly 300 new jobs with further recruitment and expansion into nearby Cherry Tree Court. The additional 160 jobs will include 60 team leaders as well as operations managers, call centre managers and client service managers.
Gill said: “We have growth plans in every department across our sites in Seaham and Hull and we are delighted that the expansion of the business means the creation of new opportunities for our staff to progress, as well as creating more jobs for local people.”
ResQ colleagues tucked into the delights of international food day and told how Hull Street Food Nights is a great fit with their programme of fun and food.
Chris Baldwin said: “There are a lot of events and incentives to keep people motivated. We are always bringing in local vendors and holding fundraising events to bring the community into the workplace.”
James Stainforth added: “People are really looking forward to Hull Street Food Nights because it’s a great chance to try foods you might not normally come across.”
Aleyna Akgul, who came to Hull from Turkey 18 years ago and has worked at ResQ for more than two years, introduced her colleagues to her friends from the Hull Turkish Education Society.
Aleyna said: “We have a lot of different events here and I suggested selling Turkish food to raise money for the earthquake appeal.
“We have a big Turkish community in Hull. We know of about 300 families but we also know there are more. We bump into people randomly who are speaking Turkish.
“Some families have been hit harder than others by the earthquake. We know of one who lost about 17 family members and they had to leave overnight to go and help.”
Emily said: “ResQ contacted us and we welcomed the opportunity as a local business to come in and sell some of the things from our shop – sausage rolls, pork pies, quiche, scones. The steak pies sold well and we sold out of bacon and egg pies and sausage and tomato pies early.
“It brought back a lot of memories because my dad joined the food department here in 1965 and stayed until 1987, when Binns, as it was named at the time, decided to stop selling fresh food. I remember coming in when I was still at school and being so impressed by the big brass plaques on the walls. It feels really weird coming back after all these years!”
Kathryn Shillito, HullBID Executive Director, said: “It’s clear that ResQ are the ideal sponsor for Hull Street Food Nights because food is such a big part of the innovative programme of events which they organise to support their growing workforce.
“The international food day underlined the company’s commitment to supporting local businesses and the wider community and we’re looking forward to working with them at our events throughout the summer.”
Hull Street Food Nights will feature about 30 different food vendors and an entertainment package which will include live music, DJ sets, street entertainment and free glitter face painting. The events will all take place in Zebedee’s Yard and Princes Dock Street from 4pm until 9pm and the dates are Thursday 1 June, Thursday 29 June, Thursday 27 July and Thursday 28 September.