More than eight million people in the UK struggle to put food on their table, yet billions of pounds worth of food is thrown out each year. Perishable foods such as ready meals, fruit and veg, and bread are the foods most commonly wasted, with food banks usually unable to handle items that need to be chilled before being redistributed.
Hubbub is an environmental behaviour change charity that wanted to help reduce this waste and help to feed hungry families. So it liaised with fridge and freezer manufacturers, food retailers and local community groups and set up the first Community Fridge in Swadlincote in 2016.
After the scheme featured on Jamie Oliver’s Friday Night Feast, Hubbub had hundreds of enquiries from groups wanting to set up their own Community Fridges. So Hubbub created a free Community Fridge Network, developing a host of open-source resources to help local communities set up their own Fridges. Among other things, these resources provide help and advice on fundraising, food safety and risk management, impact measurement, access to free fridges, and access to food donors.
Hubbub has now received more than 1,000 expressions of interest and 50 communities have now opened their own Fridges. The current target is 100 by 2021.
Each Community Fridge varies greatly in scope, reach and operation but on average each one distributes 0.7 tonnes of food per month to 220 people. Anybody can attend and obtain food from the Fridge, even those not eligible for food banks. Almost all food is provided by local restaurants and food retailers. Many Fridges have become community spaces and offer other sharing activities too.
Charity Awards judge Ruth Davison was impressed by the way Hubbub did not seek to expand its own organisation but instead facilitated other groups to set up their own Community Fridges. “They had an open-source mentality from the start,” she said.
CC reg no: 1158700