Bristol’s first Community Fridge has opened its doors today inside Compass Point Children’s Centre, Bedminster.
The fridge is being supported by Bristol Food Network and the environmental charity Hubbub UK in a growing effort to tackle food waste.
Food waste is a growing concern in the UK as the average household loses £470 a year, as found by a recent government report.
The fridge acts as a space where businesses, supermarkets, cafes and individuals can share their surplus food to anyone that needs it.
Open Monday to Friday from 9am to 4pm, it allows residents take up to five items of their choice.
It was trialled earlier this year and the results let to the fridge’s permanent inclusion.
During this trial period, over 440kg of food was redistributed in this time which was the equivalent of 1042 meals.
It’s no surprise that several organisations have expressed support for its launch on social media.
We popped into Bristol’s first ever ‘Community Fridge’ this morn at Compass Point Children’s Centre. Supported by @bristolfoodnet & @hubbubUK, the fridge enables people & businesses to share surplus food that would otherwise be wasted 👍 Great to meet @UWEJournalism students too pic.twitter.com/WPOZWjozEQ
— Bristol Waste (@BristolWaste) April 11, 2019
Jacqui Reeves, previous chief executive officer of FareShare Southwest, oversees the project and helped contribute to its arrival in Compass Point Children’s Centre.
“In the first 10 weeks, over a tonne of surplus food has come here and been redistributed to the community.
“The whole idea is to develop a sharing economy, people can take the food they need but also give what they don’t need.
“There’s a chance for interaction, where people can exchange stories and engage with other members of the community.
“The Fridge acts a space for socialising and building relationships.”
Jacqui believes the Compass Point Children’s Centre was the ideal spot for the fridge as there was an opportunity for nearby shops and the community to do more.
Anybody from the area is free not only to take what they need, but also help with the day to day tasks of running the fridge.
“The Fridge is owned by the community, so it should be run by the community.
“We want to encourage people being able to get involved in anyway they can” said Jacqui.
Volunteers will even be able to undergo a practical course to learn key skills associated with running the fridge.
A Food Safety qualification is available for those wishing to help, as offered by Bristol City Council’s ‘Community Learning’ scheme.
If you would like more information on how to get involved, please click here.
Alternatively, you can visit your local ‘Community Fridge’ for more information as shown in the map above.
The launch of the ‘Community Fridge’ showed how easy it was to cook healthy food from ingredients found in the fridge.
Visitors were greeted by Bristol chef Jo Ingleby, who made sure visitors were well-fed throughout the day.
“I’m knocking stuff up with whatever gets handed to me, it’s a bit like Ready Steady Cook but without Ainsley Harriott” she laughs.
Whilst whizzing around a few portable hobs, she speaks a little about the food industry.
“It’s scary how much food goes to landfill for no good reason.
“For businesses, Its waste and it just needs to be given to the people who actually need it.
“Families could be using this wasted food and it’s brilliant that a children’s centre can help that” she said.
Jo’s cooking was made up on the spot as she only found out on the day what ingredients she would be using from the fridge.
“Cooking made up on the spot is the way you can deal with all sorts of foods you get in the fridge and you don’t know what you’re going to make until you get there”
Surrounded by half a dozen cucumbers, she laughs “there might be a hundred cucumbers, so you need to know quite a few cucumber recipes!”
Visitors were coming and going throughout the day at the Compass Point Children’s Centre in Bedminster.
Julie Long, the Deputy Community Manager for Compass Point Children’s Centre issued an open invite to the launch.
Speaking about the trial period, she highlights how big of an impact it’s had at the Centre.
“Everybody has loved it.
“We have had brilliant comments off people supporting the fridge” said Julie.
She mentions that the fridge has helped people with low wages in the area.
“We want to encourage families to live well and have a healthy, varied diet.
We often see families on low income struggle with this and having the fridge offers good food, that is otherwise wasted, is taken and eaten” she said.
The Community Fridge aims to make a difference not only in the Bedminster area, but in Bristol.
The work relies on passionate volunteers that want to make a difference in their community.
With another being planned in Lawrence Hill, working together in the community, may provide an answer to a number of Bristol’s problems.