Community Fridges are registered places where surplus food is shared in a community by businesses and individuals. They are welcoming, social spaces that are open to all.
In 2017, Hubbub UK established the Community Fridge Network to provide a free support service for groups setting up or running a Community Fridge. Since then, Hubbub has supported 50 groups across the country to establish a Community Fridge, with another 35 in the pipeline. Each fridge redistributes an average of 0.7 tonnes of surplus food per month, with some fridges redistributing as much as 4 tonnes.
JUDGES’ COMMENT: “This initiative tackles the issue of food waste right in the heart of communities. It kick-started a system, allowing others to do the same on their own.”
The Community Fridge Network brings together major retailers, food businesses, grant giving bodies, local authorities, community groups and individuals to reduce business and domestic food waste, strengthen communities and help people facing hardship to access fresh, healthy food.
Hubbub set an initial aim of supporting the establishment of 75 Community Fridges by the end of 2020. It developed a free support process that included advice on securing funding, food safety and hygiene, training volunteers and securing food donations.
Fridge manufacturers were brought on-board to offer free fridge and freezer units to groups, a template was developed for groups to record their impact, a Facebook forum was set up and events were arranged for groups to share learnings and trouble-shoot.
Ad hoc support was given when needed, while high-profile PR and social media campaigns aimed to normalise a spirit of sharing.
After great uptake, Hubbub raised its ambition to 100 open Community Fridges by the end of 2021. In many places the ethos of sharing has now extended beyond food.
- Chaos Cornwall
- DS Smith Recycling
- Stroud District Council
- The Co-op
- UKWSL and Marston’s
- Warrens Group