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Community Fridge arrives in Downham Market

Image from inside the community fridge

Published: Thursday, 29th March 2018

Discover Downham supported by the Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk launched the borough’s first ‘Community Fridge’ on Friday 23 March at 11am at The Old Fire Station, Priory Road, Downham

Supported by a host of organisations including Downham Market Town Council, Recycle for Norfolk, the environmental charity Hubbub UK and Sainsbury’s Waste less Save more, the Downham Market Community Fridge is part of a growing effort to tackle food waste.

The fridge will be open three days a week: every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 2:00pm to 4:00pm to enable residents and businesses to share surplus food for free. Anyone can help themselves to free quality food that would otherwise have been wasted.

Among the first businesses looking to contribute to the scheme, by donating a selection of unsold goods, are Morrisons, Tesco and Greggs in Downham Market. It is hoped that other local food businesses and retailers will also make use of the Downham Market Community Fridge.

Alan Pickering, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Downham Market & District Heritage Society said: "Discover Downham is an integral part of the local Downham Market community, and we are more than happy to act as a bridge between local businesses and local people, especially if it prevents perfectly good food from being thrown away. The scheme is an excellent way for local people to help themselves to good quality free food.”

Food waste is a big issue in the UK. The average family throws away £700 worth of food every year and at the same time 4 million people in the UK are living in food poverty. Most food waste in the UK (4.1 million tonnes or 61%) is avoidable and could have been eaten had it been better managed. 

Cllr Ian Devereux, the Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk cabinet member for the Environment, said: "The  council is grateful to Discover Downham for hosting the first Community Fridge in West Norfolk, and to the local businesses for their support. The borough council, Downham Market Town Council, and the Downham Market & District Heritage Society are fully committed to reducing food waste and the Community Fridge will help us do that and directly benefit our local residents." 

Cllr Ian Devereux explained “No one likes to see edible food go to waste and this is such a simple idea to prevent it. Despite growing awareness of food waste generally, there aren’t that many ways for businesses to get food nearing its ‘use by’ date to others until now. The Community Fridge is an open access fridge which we hope local food retailers and residents will embrace by making good use of it.”

The Chair of the Norfolk Waste Partnership, Cllr John Fisher commented “We are delighted that Norfolk can be part of the UK’s growing Community Fridge Network. With ultimately eleven Community Fridges being installed across Norfolk, we have the largest local network of Community Fridges in the UK.”

Otherwise known as ‘Honesty’ Fridges, Community Fridges have been successfully introduced in Spain, Germany and other parts of the UK. Recycle for Norfolk is working to establish a total of seven Community Fridges across Norfolk as part of its Waste less Save more Discovery Community project working with Sainsbury’s and a further four Community Fridges funded by Breckland Council.

The Community Fridge is part of a wider project to raise awareness of food waste known as the Sainsbury’s Downham Market Discovery Community. The project has already delivered a number of activities in Downham Market, including last November's Food Saver and Recycling information day at the Town Hall, a Zero Waste Kitchen Cookery Challenge with residents wanting to save money and reduce their food waste at the same time, and a Fab Food initiative with the Nelson Academy and Hillcrest Primary School whereby children learn about how to avoid wasting food at home and whilst at school. Downham Market is one of seven Sainsbury’s Discovery Communities in Norfolk. 

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