nvironmental charity Hubbub has set up more than 450 community fridges across the country over the years.
Now, thanks to a £350,000 grant from Starbucks and support from Co-Op, the scheme will be expanding to offer communities more than food. Fifty of the existing community fridges will receive money to create workshops, teach food skills, encourage local initiatives, and organise cooking sessions.
Community fridges, as the name suggests, are large refrigerators placed in shared spaces. Not only are they used to save food that would otherwise get binned, but the fridges act as a social hub, bringing the community together to collaborate and share a meal.
The food stored in fridges comes from the surplus stock of supermarkets, cafés, food producers, and local households and gardens.
Anyone who would like to donate food or pick some up is free to go in and help themselves.
The hope is that these new projects will help communities gain fairer access to food amid the cost-of-living crisis and the pressure of the inflation rates.
Starbucks raised the grant for its scheme by charging customers 5p for each single-use takeaway cup.
The grant will be distributed via an application system. Community fridge groups can apply for funds of £7,000 through the Hubbub website. Their application should be linked to one of four themes: teaching the community new skills, increasing access to affordable food, increasing community connection, or supporting community growing of food.
Last year alone, the Community Fridge Network redistributed more than 16 million meals’ worth of food to Brits.
The charity is also trialling an expansion into supporting communities with a pre-loved homeware scheme called Home to Home in collaboration with Dunelm.
Across 22 stores, the furniture retailer is asking customers to bring in their pre-loved homewares that are in a good condition. These are then sorted and redistributed into the community, helping those who need them the most. Dunelm is also donating display items and samples.