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Community fridge opportunity

13 September 2022

The Co-op is providing funding to set up community fridges in Preston.

What is a Community Fridge?

A Community Fridge is a space that brings people together to eat, connect, learn new skills and reduce food waste. It is a site where local people can share food, this includes surplus from supermarkets, local food businesses, producers, households and gardens. Fridges are run by community groups in shared spaces such as schools, community centres and shops, their main purpose is saving fresh food from going to waste.

The Community Fridge Network is coordinated by Hubbub and it connects fridges across the UK.

It is a support network for groups running fridges to share knowledge and skills and to ask questions. The Network offers free guidance on how to set up your own fridge and provides comprehensive support, design assets, a knowledge sharing forum, health and safety templates and discounted fridges and freezers!

There are currently over 300 fridges across the UK and counting, Hubbub have partnered with Co-op to fund 500 fridges by the end of 2023.

How do you set up a fridge?

Grant funding is currently available to set up a fridge in your local area. Complete the application form to apply for this funding.

Apply for Grant funding to set up a fridge

Download the Community Fridge, How to guide (PDF) [6MB] for information on how to start your fridge from scratch.

To join the network, please complete this membership form: Network Membership Form

Becoming a member gives you access to all our support and resources, signs you up to our quarterly newsletter and connects you with other like minded groups in the network.

Try and answer every question possible and make sure that you will be able to provide the documentation and assurances asked for in time for your launch. Members are required to register their Community Fridge as a Food Business with their local authority. Following from this you will have had an inspection from an Environmental Health Officer and receive a food hygiene rating for the fridge.

Once the online form is complete you will be sent an email with the information on the next steps and a resource pack that includes a list of supporting retailers you can contact for food donations.

You will also be added to the mailing list so you'll receive newsletters and updates.

You can also join the Facebook Group and start chatting with other Community Fridge groups across the UK.

What difference is the fridge community making?

In 2021, the community estimate the Community Fridge Network redistributed around 3,150 tonnes of surplus food (that's the same as 7.5 million meals!*) and welcomed over 1 million visits from 250,000 visitors. 

With each fridge sharing an average of 2.1 tonnes of food per month, the collective impact of the Community Fridge Network is huge. What's more important though, are the stories that we hear from communities.

The fridges bring people together, address social isolation and provide people with the opportunity to access healthy food, try something new and save money. 

In a nutshell, a fridge is often so much more than a fridge. As well as introducing you to new people and foods, Community Fridges host all kinds of activities such as cooking workshops, food growing, clothes swaps... you name it. 

Visit issuu and view the fridges 2021 annual report.