Community Fridge to bring residents together

A fresh initiative that aims to reduce food waste - a first of its kind in Suffolk - has launched in the heart of the Lowestoft community.

A new Community Fridge has launched at St. Andrew’s Church, Roman Road, Lowestoft, Suffolk. Community Fridges are places where anyone can come and donate or receive food. Members of the Community Fridge Network say that making the fridge open to all promotes inclusivity and dignity, and that the spaces also give people opportunities to contribute through volunteering, learning new skills, or sharing their existing skills. There are now almost 50 Community Fridges in the UK, which on average distribute half a tonne of food per month. As the average family throws away approximately £810 worth of food per year, while 4 million people in the UK are living in food poverty, the Community Fridges are doing fantastic work to reduce food waste.

I’m delighted that there is growing support for this movement to tackle food waste at a community level. It’s great to see healthy, fresh food being shared in the community and we would love to hear from other local groups setting up their own fridges, and from businesses keen to do something good with their surplus food.
— Tessa Tricks, Creative partner at Hubbub

The Lowestoft Community Fridge is supported by the Suffolk Waste Partnership, Waveny District Council, The Morrisons Foundation and environmental charity, as part of the #FoodSavvy campaign. The fridge was Kindly donated by Lowestoft-based Hughes Electrical and local businesses, organisations and residents are already donating surplus food to the fridge. There it can be collected by any local individual in order to increase a spirit of sharing locally.

This is the first Community Fridge to be set up in the county and we are pleased that East Suffolk is leading the way with this project, which benefits those in need and helps tackle the growing issue of food waste. We hope to see the Community Fridge well supported by local businesses and the wider community.
— Cllr Graham Catchpole, Waveney District Council’s cabinet member for Operational Partnerships

The scheme will be run by dedicated resident volunteers with support and guidance from the Community Enablers Team at Community Action Suffolk, as part of the Lowestoft Community Capacity Project funded by Big Lottery Community Fund, which aims to bring about change and contribute towards building sustainable and resilient communities through resident-led initiatives.

St Andrew’s is a community church and activities centre and is well supported by local residents. Reverend Damon Rogers has expressed his excitement at being the first venue in Suffolk to host the scheme. He said: “Having the Community Fridge here in Lowestoft will be a huge benefit to the local community. Many people in our community live on very low incomes and deal with the issues of poverty on a daily basis. But the Community Fridge goes further than that as it gives us an opportunity to raise awareness of the need to reduce food waste at all levels in British society. Being able to partner with so many organisations at both a local and national level shows what we can achieve when we work together.”

This project is an excellent example of local, regional and national organisations working together to support local communities. It is fantastic that St Andrew’s Church will be hosting the first Community Fridge in Suffolk and I hope this experience will enable us to help support the creation of other Community Fridges in the county.
— Roy Emmerson, Senior Community Enabler for Community Action Suffolk

The Morrisons Foundation, a charity set-up by the supermarket to provide grants for charity projects, made a donation to Hubbub as part of its larger initiative to provide Community Fridges throughout the UK. Thanks to donations like this, Hubbub is able to offer a free support network for any group setting up or running a Community Fridge, enabling the concept to flourish across the UK and beyond. Community Fridges are often so much more than a fridge, they provide a platform for food education activities and a space for communities to connect.

Our #FoodSavvy project aims to get people really thinking about the food they buy, eat and throw away. As a trailblazing first for Suffolk, the Lowestoft Community Fridge will help deliver these aims whilst supporting their local community. Hopefully this will inspire others to make a real difference in their own lives and businesses.
— Cllr David Bowman, Chair of the Suffolk Waste Partnership

The Lowestoft Community Fridge joins a network of 10 Community Fridges in East Anglia, all of which are in Norfolk. We hope that the Lowestoft Community Fridges is the first of many Community Fridges in Suffolk.