Southern Co-op has donated £40,000 to help create more community fridges across the UK which look to tackle food waste and food insecurity.
The Community Fridge Network which is coordinated by Hubbub already has operations open to the public in Brighton, Basingstoke, Chichester, with more planned for Hayling Island, Adur, Worthing and a further three to be decided on.
Most commonly housed in public spaces, the fridges supply surplus perishable food for free to anyone who needs it, donated via local businesses and charities such as FareShare or by members of the public.
Commenting on Bristol Estate landholder and tenant association’s community fridge which opened in August, its coordinator, Sophie Downard-Hough said: “The feedback we’ve got so far from locals that use the fridge has been nothing short of positive, it’s been a real help to the residents that live on the estate as we are based in a fairly deprived area of Brighton.”
In January, a community fridge run by Chichester Community Development Trust and supported by the regional co-operative was opened. It’s trust director, Clare de Bathe said: “Thanks to the support of Southern Co-op we have been able to support families and individuals in our locality as from further afield.
“The effect of COVID, the cost of living crisis and rising unemployment and prices has meant that the support provided has never been more important.”
In 2021, it was estimated that the Community Fridge Network stopped 3,150 tonnes of food going to waste and shared 7,500,000 meals worth of food.
“Whilst we already make sure all of the food from our stores gets eaten or processed into biogas, it’s just as important that we enable communities to also reduce their own food waste,” Southern Co-op community lead, Holly Bramble said.
“These fridges bring together people from the local area and can be the spark to building the local community spirit. They are often run by volunteers who share our passion for sustainability, so it is has been wonderful getting to meet some of those involved.”