The first Community Fridge in Manchester was officially unveiled today as part of a new network scheme from environmental charity Hubbub.
The Wythenshawe Community Fridge – which is located at Ken Collis Court – is one of 100 new community fridges that will be opened over the next year in partnership with Co-op, which are expected to save 6.8 million meals from going to waste.
Community fridges are open to everyone – with fresh food donated by businesses and Co-op itself.
As well as improving access to food, the fridges go beyond this by “empowering communities to connect with each other” and learn new skills through activities such as cookery sessions and workshops on how to grow your own fruit and veg.
The Wythenshawe Community Fridge will be run by Know Africa – a charity dedicated to supporting, empowering, and celebrating the wide cultural diaspora of African people living in Manchester and beyond.
The group will welcome donations of unopened, packaged foods within their use-by date and raw fruit or vegetables, which will then be available to anyone in the community.
The fridge will also be used to strengthen community bonds – with a nearby kitchen functioning as a hub for food education.
The initiative has been endorsed by local hero Marcus Rashford, who has championed its ability to support local communities access food and skill.
The footballer stated: “The Co-op is a valuable founding member of the Child Food Poverty Taskforce and has consistently stepped up to the plate throughout the global pandemic to support our most vulnerable families.
“They have demonstrated how community action can make real sustainable change and just how powerful we can be when we come together.
“Together with Hubbub, the Co-op has developed a programme that spans far beyond access to food and I’m so excited to see that my own community in Wythenshawe will benefit”.
The Wythenshawe fridge is one of several community fridges coming to Greater Manchester, with others opening at Co-op Academy in Failsworth and Crumpsall Community Hall.
Speaking on the launch of the first Manchester fridge, Steve Murrells – Group Chief Executive Officer at Co-op - said: ”Thanks to our members and customers, we’re delighted to be partnering with Hubbub to expand its community fridge network into Wythenshawe.
“It’s an innovative scheme to bring 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, however, our work in our local communities has shown us that to really make a sustainable difference we need to co-operate with others to build the resilience needed for the future”.
You can find out more about Community Fridges and the new partnership here.
Featured Image – Dave Phillips / PinPep