Steve Barclay MP visits Community Fridge in March, Cambridgeshire, as part of Co-op and Hubbub’s commitment to expand network across the UK

24 August 2021

- FACT Community Transport aims to reduce food waste and bring community together

Hubbub - Steve Barclay MP visit

The first Community Fridge in March, near Peterborough, was recently opened by FACT Community Transport, supported by the environmental charity Hubbub, as part of a new partnership with Co-op to fast-track the expansion of Hubbub’s Community Fridge Network across the UK.

The FACT Community Fridge, which is located at the group’s community hub on Martin Avenue in March, is one of 100 new community fridges that will be opened over the next year, which are expected to save 6.8 million meals1 per year from going to waste.

Community fridges are open to everyone in communities - without any need to be referred or having to prove eligibility - to access 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. 

The fridge was attended today at an event by Rt Hon Steve Barclay MP, Gary Christy - Chairman of FACT, Nicola Christy - FACT Community Hub Organiser and Steve Thomas, A Co-op Member Pioneer Manager. The fridge will be open from 10 am until 12pm every Monday and Friday, to enable residents and local businesses to share surplus food and for anyone to receive quality food that would otherwise be wasted.

The fridge will be run by FACT Community Transport. The group will welcome donations of unopened, packaged foods within their use by date and raw fruit or vegetables, which will then be available to anyone in the community to take. As well as reducing food waste, the group will use the fridge to strengthen community bonds and has saved five tonnes of food since opening.

The new fridge builds on the success of the existing 150 fridges in the Community Fridge Network, which redistribute on average of almost 6,000 meals per fridge each month. Co-op will also invest in the development of the Hubbub and the Community Fridge Network, to offer support to previously established fridges and other organisations that host community fridges. 

Nicola Christy from FACT, said: “Community Fridges are a wonderful concept and we’re delighted to host the first for March. All our visitors are welcome to get involved, whether by giving or receiving food or coming along to learn about our work on a new garden area where we’ll be growing our own fruit and vegetables for the local community.”

Steve Barclay MP said: “It was great to see our community coming together to help people develop skills such as cooking and growing their own fruit and veg, as well as reducing food waste through innovation in the form of new community fridges.

“I am hugely grateful to Gary and Nicola at FACT and Steve from the Co-op, and their teams for all their hard work on a great initiative which will bring a practical benefit across the community.”

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 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 Steve Barclay has had the opportunity to see first-hand how the March community fridge is empowering people in March towards creating their own solutions and helping their community build resilience for the future.”

Tessa Tricks, Senior Creative Partner at Hubbub, said: “It’s so exciting to see the Community Fridge Network expand in to March and we are looking forward to hearing the success stories from FACT. These fridges play a vital role in communities across the UK by not only providing access to good quality food while reducing food waste but by bringing people together to share and learn skills from one another. In the past year, many of the fridges have provided a lifeline to families struggling as a result of the pandemic and we have seen the fridges turn into a place where people come together and support each other to tackle whatever challenges are thrown at them. 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 or getting involved with their local community fridge, visit: hubbub.org.uk/the-community-fridge

ENDS

Photo caption: (L-R) Rt Hon Steve Barclay MP, Nicola Christy, FACT Community Hub Organiser, Gary Christy, Chairman of FACT and Steve Thomas, Co-op Member Pioneer Manager.

Notes to Editors
1. Based on data reported by existing community fridges between November 2019 and April 2021, which shows equivalent of 5,684 meals redistributed per month on average by each fridge. 5,684 meals per month x 12 months x 100 community fridges = 6,820,800 meals expected to be redistributed from 100 new fridges.

For more information, please contact: Mark Carrington | mark.carrington@coop.co.uk | 07890 384 471

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: www.coop.co.uk/membership 

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. https://www.hubbub.org.uk/      Twitter: @hubbubuk    Facebook: @HubbubUK   Instagram: @helloHubbub   LinkedIn: Hubbub-UK