Helping to tackle food waste, food poverty and protecting the environment are the aims of a new initiative in Scarborough led by a group of local volunteers. The idea is a simple one: Provide a space for local cafes, deli, shops and supermarkets to donate their fresh produce that is past the ‘sell by date’ BUT is still within the ‘use by date’. This healthy and tasty food is then made freely available to EVERYONE.
Based at The Street on Lower Clark Street, Scarborough, the Fridge opened its doors on Saturday 31st October, but had to close temporarily at the start of the current lockdown. Due now to re-open on Saturday 21 November, it will initially be open to the public every Saturday and Tuesday mornings between 10am till 12pm or until the fridge is empty.
Making this simple idea come to life however also requires the drive and enthusiasm of a small volunteer group needed to collect donated food from businesses, help when the Fridge is open or assist with promotion and publicity. Jo Laking, Community Initiatives Facilitator at Coast and Vale Community Action, says “The Fridge really would welcome anyone who can help us make the Community Fridge a success. Just contact us by email email@example.com or find the Fridge on Facebook – Scarborough Community Fridge.”
What’s the idea behind the Project?
As Jo put it, “more and more food waste is entering our landfill sites with much of it still being perfectly safe to eat. This problem is a great concern for many of us, so we are hoping that the launch of our exciting new project here in Scarborough will help to reduce this. This will be taken on by members of our own community working in partnership with local retailers with the aim of reducing the amount of waste food in our town. We believe that even a small amount can influence the overall picture.”
The project team looked at similar initiatives in the region, such as Malton, which opened in December 2018 and has proven to be a huge success redistributing hundreds of tons of food since its launch in the town. Other communities have followed suit and Fridges have sprung up in Pickering, Norton, Filey, Hunmanby. There are fridges under development in Whitby, Kirkbymoorside and Rillington too.
How does it work?
Food donated to the Scarborough Community Fridge will be passed on to anyone who can make use of any of it. Items can include fresh, chilled, dried, tinned, frozen or packaged food as well as locally home grown produce and bread. The food is free for all regardless of anybody’s status or social standing. Thereby it is hoped that many residents from Scarborough and the surrounding areas will make full use of the donated items. Although the food is freely available the Fridge will operate on a Pay As You Feel basis for those people who feel they would like to and are able to make a small donation, though it must be stressed that this is not obligatory. It is envisaged that these donations will help cover the ongoing running cost of the Fridge.
The Fridge is a member of the Community Fridge Network which is a group of Community Fridge projects operating across the UK that are registered with the environmental charity, Hubbub. These Community Fridges that have met certain quality standards and are committed to supporting each other through sharing learnings and impact. As part of this network, the Fridge is required to have the facility inspected by the local Environmental Health Officer and obtain a Food Hygiene rating of 4-5 which demonstrates that the Fridge is run to professional standards and ensures that the food is safe to eat.
Could you be a volunteer?
The Fridge project aims to recruit volunteers from across the whole of the community and also offer them the opportunity to gain a Level 2 qualification in Food Safety.
Opportunities for people who would like to get involved include collecting donated food from businesses, helping when the Fridge is open or promoting and publicizing it – for more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or find the Fridge on Facebook – Scarborough Community Fridge.