A community in Northern Ireland has come up with a novel way to prevent food waste and at the same time help those struggling to make ends meet. Cloughmills in County Antrim has started a fridge share scheme under which businesses and residents leave excess food that would otherwise go to waste in a community fridge. Those in need of a helping hand are then able to come to the fridge and take supplies home with them. Patrick Frew, chair of Cloughmills Community Action Team, explains: “It’s for everyone…If you’re going away on holidays you can bring along some of your food before you go and leave it with us. Rather than it going to the bin or landfill we give it out to other people. There is no referral service, it’s come and see what we have and you can take it home with you. If you’ve got any spare food at home, in date and packaged, we can take it off your hands. Then see what we have that you can take home with you.” And it seems there is a lot of spare food around. The team behind the scheme estimate that up to £470 of food is thrown away by each household in the village every year which works out at £282,000 a year. While Cloughmills represents a first for Northern Ireland, community fridges have been responsible for distributing food to those in need in other parts of the UK for some time. In Swadlincote in England, charity Hubbub handed out over 2,000kg of food in just the first six months . “It can make a massive difference in communities,” said Catherine Darragh from Hubbub. “You can collect fresh food and give that out to people, and the community fridges have become places where people can share knowledge and learn more about their food and become healthier. The volunteer networks that are running the fridges have come together and it’s helped to strengthen local communities.” Certainly provides food for thought.
October 4, 2017