Community Fridges’ story
Community Fridges are independent community assets, set up, owned and managed by not-for-profit and community-led organisations. Each fridge is unique to its location and the community and volunteers who run it. They come in all forms, from community centres and schools to shipping containers, cafes and shopping centres. They can be found in any community setting, with some open every day and others operating a couple of hours a week. Each one must register as a food business with their local authority and is responsible for their own food management systems and for building relationships with local businesses.
Environmental charity, Hubbub, coordinates a growing network of Community Fridges across the UK. The charity supports each fridge with health and safety, design assets and access to discounted fridges and freezers. A recent partnership with Co-op has funded 350 more fridges with the aim of expanding the network over 500 in total by the end of 2022.
Across the entire network, Hubbub estimated that 3,150 tonnes of food were saved from going to waste in 2021 and 7.5 million meals worth of food was shared.
Photograph: Community Fridge, Barrhead News
Useful learnings from Community Fridges
Building relationships with local organisations is key, as each Community Fridge seeks to rescues good quality, surplus food, free of charge from local food retailers, producers, growers, restaurants and households.
By upholding the highest food hygiene standards and having a strict policy on low-risk food items, Community Fridges can provide assurances to both the businesses donating and visitors of the fridge sharing food.
Hubbub provides a valuable support and coordination role, helping new fridges to open by providing funding for set up costs (where available); donating equipment; providing guidance on setting up and operating safely. In addition, the charity offers ongoing technical and peer-to-peer support to existing fridges, helping the network maintain its reach and impact.
Community Fridge metrics
- Number of meals worth of food shared
- Number of volunteers who support the fridge
- Visits by the public