As part of our commitment to support a city where good food is available to all, we have taken the bold step to coordinate the first Community Fridge in Bristol. Community Fridges are a place where good food is shared within a community rather than being wasted. A chiller fridge and dry shelves are set up within a well used centre. People within the local community including food retail shops, cafes and allotment holders can donate food that would otherwise be wasted, the food is then available for anyone to take, encouraging a sharing economy of giving and receiving. There is no registration or elegability which takes away any stigma associated with hand outs. 

On 29 January 2019 the first Bristol Community Fridge opened its doors within Compass Point Children’s Centre. As well as being supported by Bristol Food Network, the national network of Community Fridges is supported by the environmental charity Hubbub UK in a growing effort to tackle food waste. We envisage around 0.5 tonnes of food will be distributed each month.

Food waste is a big issue in the UK. The average household throws away £470 worth of food every year. The food industry wastes around 250,000 tonnes of edible food every year (equivalent to 650 million meals) at the same time 4 million people in the UK are living in food poverty.

Julie Long from Compass Point Children’s Centre said “As a children’s Centre, we want to encourage families to live well and have a healthy, varied diet. We often see families on low income struggling with this. For us, having the fridge means good food, that would otherwise be wasted is taken and eaten. The fact that people can donate too helps our diverse community. We have had parents coming to our group bringing things from their store cupboard and taking away fresh produce. The perfect sharing community that needs to be encouraged.”

The fridge is one of a growing number opening across the UK. The concept first arrived in the UK in 2016 with Community Fridges opening in Swadlincote, Frome and London. Now over 50 projects are running across the country.

This is the start of the Bristol Community Fridge Network, we already have a number of new locations in the city waiting to be set up. You can help too in a number of ways:

  • Help us to get the message out to local retailers and growers
  • Volunteer your time, minimum of an hour a week, or more if you would like
  • Each fridge costs money to set up, we are looking for sponsorship and funding

The Bristol Community Fridge Network is being set up by Jacqui Reeves, previous CEO of FareShare South West. To find out more information please contact Jacqui on jacqui@bristolfoodnetwork.org.

More information on The Community Fridge Network, including a map of fridge locations can be found at www.hubbub.org.uk/communityfridgenetwork