Co-op funding fast-tracks doubling of Hubbub’s Community Fridge Network

The 200th member of environmental charity Hubbub’s Community Fridge Network opened recently, marking a significant milestone for the initiative. The latest community fridge has been installed in Lancaster West Estate in North Kensington, London. It is the 50th fridge funded by Co-op, whose support for 100 new community fridges across the country by the end of this year has helped fast-track the expansion of the food-saving initiative.

Community fridges are social spaces where anyone can share surplus food. They reduce food waste and empower communities to help each other through activities such as cookery sessions and workshops on how to grow your own fruit and veg. Across the network, each fridge redistributes an average of 2.4 tonnes of food per month – enough to make 5,683 meals.

The new community fridge in has been established with the support of the Lancaster West Neighbourhood Team and Lancaster West Residents’ Association and is expected to support up to 1,500 residents on the estate. It will form part of the #LancsWestGrowsBest project, which aims to reduce the amount of money residents spend on food and support more sustainable living, through growing initiatives and the community fridge.

To launch the new fridge, food waste chef Mark Breen will be cooking Moroccan frittata, panzanella and one ingredient banana ice cream. He will be joined by two local food legends in a celebration of the estate’s diverse food culture:

  • Joseph Hunte who has lived in the area for two years, runs a stall at Portobello Vegan Night Market and will be cooking vegetable fritters and fried plantain dumplings
  • Scott Dennis, a resident of the estate and seasoned chef, will cook seasonal shortbread

The cooking demonstrations will offer local families tips and advice on how to reduce food waste, along with recipe cards and a chance to share the delicious food. More residents will be bringing along samples of their home cooking to share as they gather for the celebratory event with music, games and crafts for the children.

Hubbub, with support from the Kusuma Trust, have also given out Grow Your Own kits to residents to help them to start growing their own food, and a new community garden is being developed for residents to grow vegetables and herbs on the estate.

Kim Monte, the co-ordinator for the new community fridge said, “I am looking forward to the launch of the community fridge in the North Kensington Resource Centre. The community fridge will create a safe and welcoming space for residents to relax and share tips with each other, building stronger links within the Lancaster West Community”

Abbas Dadou, Chair of the Lancaster West Residents’ Association said: “We are glad that we can collaborate on a project that will help residents reduce food waste and provide a platform and training for residents to have a healthier diet by sharing their unwanted fruit and vegetables. It is also bringing jobs and opportunities to residents and giving residents a chance to connect with each other.”

Tessa Tricks, Senior Creative Partner at Hubbub, said: “To be celebrating the 200th community fridge just a year after opening our 100th is astonishing and would not have been possible without the support of Co-op. This marks the mid-point of their commitment to establish 100 new community fridges by the end of 2021. It is also testament to how important these fridges are to people across the UK. Whether they be in rural villages, busy city centres, universities or schools, they provide communities not only with fresh food that to which they may not otherwise have access, but they also bring people together to support one another while helping the planet. They are more than just a fridge; they can be a life-changing asset to a community.”

Rebecca Birkbeck, Co-op’s Director of Community and Shared Value, said: “To be opening our 50th fridge with Hubbub in such a short period of time is a huge feat all round, and is testament to the initiative’s success. We have been blown away by everyone’s hard work, resilience and creativity, communities coming together to create not just fairer access to food, but also a fairer world.

“We’re looking forward to seeing more fridges opening up in the coming months, in communities like the one in Lancsater West, and we’d like to thank to co-op members and our customers for playing a big part in making this happen.”

For more information on The Community Fridge Network, including a map of fridge locations and advice for those interested in setting up a community fridge, visit: http://www.hubbub.org.uk/the-community-fridge

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