Co-op and environmental charity Hubbub have announced a new partnership to fast-track the expansion of community fridges across the UK, saving a further 6.8 million meals per year from going to waste.
Community fridges are open to everyone without any need to be referred or having to prove eligibility to share fresh food that would otherwise have gone to waste. The food is donated by businesses like Co-op who donates surplus food from its stores.
The new partnership will see the existing community fridge network increase to 250 community fridges over the next year. The move builds off the existing 150 fridges in the network, which redistribute an average of almost 6,000 meals per fridge each month.
One of the first fridges of the new partnership has been opened this week in Failsworth, Greater Manchester at the Co-op Academy. Following this, 15 new community fridges are set to open their doors this month, including one in Wythenshawe, South Manchester, the home turf of Marcus Rashford, who has backed the partnership.
The new funding will provide 100 £4,000 grants to support community fridge organisers with running costs such as volunteer expenses, insurance and cleaning materials.
Co-op will also invest in the development of the Hubbub and the fridge network, to offer support to previously established fridges and other organisations that host community fridges.
Steve Murrells, group CEO, Co-op, said: “Thanks to our members and customers, we’re delighted to be partnering with Hubbub on such an innovative scheme bringing communities together, empowering people towards community-led food solutions that will help to build community resilience.
“As a co-operative, we recognise our responsibility to make a genuine difference and have already made a number of interventions to help tackle food poverty and create fairer access to food, through our food share partnerships and our donations to Fareshare.”
Tessa Tricks, senior creative partner at Hubbub, added: “The partnership with Co-op has given Hubbub a unique opportunity to expand its community fridge network at a greater scale and speed than would usually be possible.
“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 from one another.”