Today HRH The Prince of Wales opened the Community Fridge Network’s 100th fridge at Dumfries House to help bring together the local community of East Ayrshire to tackle food waste.  The Prince’s Foundation, whose headquarters is at Dumfries House, has set up the fridge to benefit local residents around the former mining communities of Auchinleck and Cumnock.

Regular collections of surplus food from local retailers will be organised and food will also be donated from the estate’s Coach House Cafe, Kauffman Education Gardens and The Belling Hospitality Training Centre.

Food waste remains a huge issue in the UK, with £13 billion worth of edible food thrown away from our homes every year and a further £3 billion of food wasted by the hospitality and food service sector. To help tackle this waste challenge, Hubbub created the Community Fridge Network in 2017, to support communities across the UK to share good food from local businesses and retailers that would have otherwise gone to waste.  

Run by local volunteers, the fridges provide a positive social space for local residents to learn more about food, sustainable eating, growing and eating on a budget.  Unlike food banks, the fridges are available for anyone to use and give residents an opportunity to try new foods, share recipes and even cook together. 

Since the first community fridge started, the idea has spread rapidly across the country. With the opening of the 100th community fridge, the network is redistributing an average of 975 tonnes of food surplus per year, the equivalent of approximately 1.9 million meals. Many of the fridges have provided a lifeline to communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, adapting their offering to support the most vulnerable and families hit particularly hard financially. 

As the UK rebuilds from the impact of COVID-19, Hubbub believes that community fridges can evolve to help the UK meet a range of financial, social and environmental challenges including cutting food waste, promoting healthy eating, supporting people facing financial challenges and tackling loneliness.

Helping this to become a reality is one of the policy calls within Hubbub’s newly launched Greenprint which is seeking government investment in Community Food Hubs. To support the development of this policy, Hubbub will be investing in some trial areas to further test the concept as well as sharing the results of the Food Connect trial in Milton Keynes which is using e-bikes and e-vans to help redistribute food that would have been wasted.

To support the ongoing development of the Community Fridge Network you can help in a number of ways:

Any help provided will support a thriving network of community activity helping to create a more sustainable UK.