Updated: Sep 24
We've been incredibly busy at We Connect over the last few months. We've been running our community pantry since February. In that time have signed up over 180 members and been able to help over 450 people secure baskets of food for just £4! This significantly helps lower the impact of rising food costs and can be the added hand-up that families need to prevent them from struggling to the point of food poverty.
It is estimated that in 2020 8% of the population within the UK lived in food poverty; that's 5 million people. It is only fair to assume that the pressures placed on individuals and families due to the ongoing impacts of rising fuel and food costs, Brexit, and the Covid 19 pandemic that this figure has risen. The Trussel Trust Food banks gave 2.5 million three-day emergency food supplies to people in crisis in 2020/21.
We felt that although we are making an impact within the community, there is more we can do to empower this community further.
Introducing our Community Fridge
We've partnered with Hubbub to bring you the first community fridge of its type in the area. What is a Community Fridge we hear you ask? Let us explain:
A Community Fridge is a space that brings people together to eat, connect, learn new skills and reduce food waste. It is a site where local people can share food, this includes surplus from supermarkets, local food businesses, producers, households, and gardens. Fridges are run by community groups in shared spaces such as schools, community centres, and shops, their main purpose is to save fresh food from going to waste.
The Community Fridge Network is coordinated by Hubbub and it connects fridges across the UK. It is a support network for groups running fridges to share knowledge and skills and to ask questions. There are currently over 300 fridges across the UK and counting, Hubbub have partnered with Co-op to fund 500 fridges by the end of 2023.
How do I use it?
Our Fridge will be located at We Connect and will be available whenever we are open. We Connect is traditionally open 9am - 2pm and 4pm-6pm Monday - Tuesday and 9am - 4pm Wednesday - Saturday.
To use the fridge you can simply help yourself to items you require. You can also make donations of homegrown items or items that are within their sell by date. We are also interested in working with local businesses looking to redirect surplus items from landfill so if this would suit your business please speak to a member of our team.
You'll be able to help yourself to the items in the fridge, with no commitment to a membership - but if you wanted to join our pantry it is just £2 for 6 months.
Why a Community Fridge?
We asked our co-founders Dawn and Tara for their thoughts on why we've introduced a community fridge at the hub:
Each community fridge sponsored by Hubbub redistributes enough food to make 5,683 meals. This partnership directly aids our mission to build a robust and sustainable community, committed to helping each other and lowering our impact on the environment.
We already benefit greatly from regular donations from kind residents who share home grown produce. By partnering with Hubbub we strengthen our committment to offering a hand up to those who need one. With the added benefits or reducing food surplus and connecting people.
Follow our We Connect page for updates on what you can find in our fridge and stay tuned for helpful low-cost recipes coming to our website soon as well as workshops and masterclasses run by our team.