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Challenge Anneka heads to Stockton

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Challenge Anneka heads to Stockton

Challenge Anneka heads to Stockton

Best on the Box choice for Saturday, March 25th…

It’s over a decade since she last donned her legendary jumpsuit but now Anneka Rice is back making dreams come true – this time on Channel 5. Anneka unleashes the big blue truck and jumps into her famous buggy to call on the selflessness, goodwill and big hearts of the nation. Challenge Anneka is back!

With sidekick Dave the soundman in tow, Anneka and her army must hit the ground running, grasp the big challenge and harness the power of hundreds of helpers, trades, experts and the local community to help her make people’s dreams come true.

This week in the second episode of the new series Anneka comes to the rescue of Debbie and Jo in Stockton whose tiny food hub charity, “Sprouts” has outgrown its very modest town centre location. Her challenge is to help supersize their operation by transforming a run-down and creaking neighbourhood hall and its surrounding land around the corner into a brand-new community food hub – with its own cafe, teaching kitchen, food bank and giant storage facility for its equipment for community activities.

And if that’s not enough the team must also produce an original community recipe book to help local people make the most of it! And all in just three days! Many families in the area face serious deprivation, food poverty and hardship, so a new supersized food bank will enable Debbie and Jo to do even more for their beloved community.

It’s a huge challenge and build – and it’s going to need a huge team on the ground. Anneka wastes no time, calling a local radio station to get the word out that she needs as many tradespeople as possible to help. It’s not long before hundreds of builders come flocking to the site. Next, she tackles one of the most taxing parts of the challenge – finding somewhere for the charity to store everything.

The team are offered a shipping container and Anneka zips off in the buggy to seal the deal but reversing a giant metal box onto the site is no easy task. But that’s just the start – carpenters, kitchen fitters, welders, electricians and ‘Paul The Paver’ are hard grafting all over the site, and it’s just hours into the challenge. Then to get the cookery book underway, Anneka visits a local school and inspires the pupils to come up with their own recipes.

As well as recipes from people who live around the local area, it’s turning into a major production. But just as the challenge back at the site looks to be on track, the heavens open and apocalyptic rain falls…

Luckily, Anneka finds a local company to bring in industrial heaters en masse to dry the new building before the whole project is soaked beyond repair. Hooking up with Debbie and Jo, Anneka hits the road to take the new cookery book to the next level – persuading a local design college to take on the look, and another to create an amazing photo of all three women for the cover. Back at the site work is continuing deep into the night.

With one eye on future supplies, Anneka’s next stop is Warburtons, who agree to regularly supply Sprouts with baked goods (everything from crumpets to croissant), and then supermarket giant Morrisons come on board when she turns up in store, to pledge to stock the shelves of the new food hub in time for the grand opening. With time running out and darkness falling, the site is crawling with volunteers, all desperately trying to finish the challenge.

Will a herculean effort involving people from all walks of life and all over the area be enough to get it all done? And Will Janine’s signature dish of mince and dumplings from the cookbook fuel the final push?

Challenge Anneka, Channel 5, tonight at 8.30pm

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