Luke Pollard MP visits community fridge in Stonehouse

30 June 2021

Luke Pollard, MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport joined Alison Scowen, Senior Public Affairs Manager at Co-op, Bronwen Hewitt MBE and Alice Wa - Community fridges have saved over 5,000 meals from going to waste in the UK - Visit by Labour and Co-op MP comes during Co-op Fortnight

Luke Pollard, MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport and Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs recently visited a community fridge set up by environmental charity Hubbub and Co-op, at the Kintsugi Project to find out how surplus food is being redistributed in the local community.

The community fridge in Stonehouse is part of a network of over 150 fridges set up by Hubbub and is set to increase by 100 over the next year thanks to a partnership with Co-op, saving a further 6.8 million meals per year from going to waste.

Community fridges are open to everyone- without any need to be referred or having to prove eligibility - to share fresh food that would otherwise have gone to waste. The food is donated by businesses – with Co-op donating surplus food from its stores.

As well as improving access to food, the fridges go beyond this by empowering communities to connect with each other, and learn new skills through activities such as cookery sessions and workshops on how to grow your own fruit and veg. 

Luke spent time speaking with Alice Walker and Bronwen Hewitt of The Kintsugi Project, learning how community fridges in the UK are visited 571 times a month, redistributing 2.3 tonnes of food, which is the equivalent of 5,684 meals.

Luke said: “Britain is a rich country and it should shame us all that in the 21st century there are so many people in need. With more families in Plymouth struggling to afford food, this initiative will really help. I want to thank the Co-op and Hubbub for their support for this community fridge. As the local MP, I will continue to call out rising poverty and press Ministers to act. One day I hope we’ll be able to close this community fridge because people in our city are no longer going hungry but we have a long way to go before that can happen sadly.”

The visit by Luke, comes during Co-op Fortnight. The annual campaign sees hundreds of co-operatives and organisations across the UK working together to celebrate the power of co-operation, with this year’s theme encouraging communities to #JoinACoop to help build back better – the partnership between Co-op and Hubbub, working with other organisations in local communities, is a great example of this.

Rebecca Birkbeck, Director of Community & Shared Value at Co-op, said: “As a co-operative, we have a responsibility to work with others to make a genuine difference. We have already made a number of interventions to help tackle food poverty and create fairer access to food. However, our work with local communities has taught us that sustainable change comes from helping families and communities to help themselves and that’s why we are so delighted to support the community fridge network.

“It’s great that Luke has had the opportunity to see first-hand how the Stonehouse community fridge is empowering people in Plymouth towards creating their own solutions and helping their community build resilience for the future.”

Tessa Tricks, Senior Creative Partner at Hubbub, said: “Community fridges play a vital role in communities across the UK. They fight food waste while bringing people together to share and learn skills from one another. On average fridges re-distribute 2.4 tonnes of food per month. We look forward to seeing food being shared and friendships formed in Stonehouse. They really are more than just a fridge.”

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:


Notes to Editors

For more information, please contact: Mark Carrington ( Elliott Lancaster (

About the Community Fridge Network Founded by Hubbub in July 2017, the Community Fridge Network (CFN) and fridges within the Network have been funded by backers including The National Lottery Community Fund. Liebherr has been the major donor of fridge appliances.
The network provides a free support service for any group setting up or running a Community Fridge.  It aims to make it easier for new projects to become established, and to help the concept flourish across the UK and beyond. 

Members of the CFN:  - Are legally registered and have public liability insurance. - Register their fridge as a Food Business and receive a hygiene rating.  - Risk assess and demonstrate that their health and safety procedures have the approval of their local Environmental Health Officer.  - Agree to capture and report back on impact every 3 months, using the simple measurement framework provided by Hubbub. 

About Co-op   The Co-op is one of the world’s largest consumer co-operatives with interests across food, funerals, insurance and legal services. Owned by over 4 million UK consumers, the Co-op operates 2,600 food stores, over 800 funeral homes and provides products to over 5,100 other stores, including those run by independent co-operative societies and through its wholesale business, Nisa Retail Limited.  

Employing over 60,000 people, the Co-op has an annual turnover of £10 billion. As well as having clear financial and operational objectives, the Co-op is a recognised leader for its social goals and community-led programmes. The Co-op exists to meet members’ needs and stand up for the things they believe in.  

When Co-op Members buy selected Co-op branded products and services, 2p for every pound spent is shared equally between the Local Community Fund for local causes and a new Community Partnerships Fund, intended to support communities through like-minded national charities and organisations.

This investment in community fridges has been made possible by Co-op members and customers thanks to the contribution of 2p in every £1 spent on Co-op own-branded products, shared between its Local Community Fund and Co-op’s new Community Partnerships Fund, which support grassroots projects that provide access to food, help improve mental wellbeing or create opportunities for young people.

Grassroots projects wanting more information about applying for the next round of the Co-op’s Local Community Fund should visit Co-op Causes UK. The closing date for applications is 30th May. For 2021, the Local Community Fund will be supporting causes which support fairer access to food, mental wellbeing services, education and employment for young people in their communities. To learn more about Co-op Membership and select a cause to support, visit:

About Hubbub
Hubbub is an award-winning charity that inspires ways of living that are good for the environment. Hubbub designs trailblazing campaigns that make environmental action desirable; disrupting the status quo to raise awareness, nudge behaviours and shape systems. Since 2014 Hubbub has built collaborations with over 1,600 organisations, from international businesses to local authorities and community groups – inspiring over 800,000 people to take action and change their behaviour. This includes bringing together all the major coffee cup retailers to collect and recycle 5 million coffee cups in 1 year. Hubbub’s campaigns include #LeedsByExample which brought together 25 of the UK’s largest companies to boost recycling on the high street, a 3-year partnership with IKEA to create the world’s largest consumer-facing sustainability campaign ‘Live Lagom’ and creating a Network of over 150 Community Fridges across the UK, each redistributing on average 1.5 tonnes of food every month that would otherwise have gone to waste. Hubbub also runs campaigns to tackle litter, air pollution and climate change and to promote sustainable fashion. Their innovative approach saw Hubbub win the Charity of the Year Award at the prestigious Charity Times Awards in 2020.