Eden Community Fridge officially opens in first for Mid and East Antrim borough
Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has officially launched its first community fridge at Eden Allotment Gardens, just outside Carrickfergus.
Community Fridges are a platform for sharing surplus food within a community to reduce food waste going to landfill.
They are not means tested and are open to all. Community Fridges differ from the vital role food banks play, but can often be a complementary provision.
Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr William McCaughey, said “I am delighted to be opening a community fridge at Eden Allotment Gardens. The project itself is funded through the Department of Communities (DfC) Covid-19 Food Partnership Fund with Council’s Parks and Open Spaces team delivering on it. They are working with Community Fridge volunteers who are managing the day-to-day running of the fridge, which is fantastic."
There are currently 100 community fridges across the UK, with each fridge sharing one to four tonnes of food per month.
Each year these 100 community fridges can redistribute 975 tonnes of food surplus (equivalent to 1.9 million meals) and benefit up to 77,500 people.
Cllr McCaughey continued: "I am also pleased to say the fridge has already been well supported by local food outlets Tesco, Vivo and Henderson Group who have been supplying produce.
"As part of the same initiative, two more Community Fridges will soon open their doors this summer in Islandmagee and Ballymena and I look forward to seeing this wonderful community initiative progresses.”
Carly Ogilvie, Community Fridge volunteer, said: “The premise of a Community Fridge is simple – whatever items are available can be taken by anyone. As well as food sharing, Community Fridges give people opportunities to contribute through volunteering, learning new skills and sharing their existing skills.
"We have really seen this in action here at Eden Community Fridge. I’ve been overwhelmed with the level of support for the project. Over 20 volunteers are now opening and closing the fridge each day, collecting food from suppliers, and ensuring the area is clean and tidy.
"The fridge is currently open Monday to Saturday but openings hours depend on what donations are received and doors close early when all the food is gone. Volunteers update the Facebook page daily to advise what food is available so we’d recommend checking the page before coming down. We look forward to welcoming visitors.”
If you are interested in setting up a Community Fridge in your area, contact [email protected]