Community that packs a punch - and a fridge

This time, onions gifted to FACT community fridge

This time, onions gifted to FACT community fridge - Credit: FACT

Peterborough Environment City Trust (PECT) donated the first fridge and £250 to cover our initial costs and further funding from Hubbub was received.  

This was to be the first community fridge in the Fenland. 

It opened a year later than planned due to the pandemic but once we opened the fridge door on March 1, 2021 it has been hectic. 

It started out with just a few volunteers, and the team has gradually expanded to the current dedicated team of 8 plus the co-ordinator.  

Freemasons donate to the work of FACT

And the donations roll in to support the amazing work that FACT does in the community. - Credit: FACT

The volunteers donate their time each week with collections, packing and serving. 

Regular donations are received from Sainsburys, Aldi, Lidl, Farm Foods, Smith’s Bakery, Greggs and Tesco.  

If you work for a business that has surplus foods give them a call the team would love to take it – as long as it is still in its Use by date, they can distribute it. 

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On arrival at the Community Fridge based at 5 Martin Avenue, March PE15 0AY visitors simply come to the front door, ring the bell and a volunteer will come to them.  

Only a postcode is asked for and this is purely for stats and maybe a requirement of any funding received. No other personal information is asked for. 

Surplus ready for dispatch by FACT

Surplus ready for dispatch by FACT - Credit: FACT

Everyone will receive a bag of bakery and a bag of vegetables. This will all depend on what surplus has been received – bakery is a major surplus received but you can’t have too many doughnuts 

Over the year the hub has grown, from 1 fridge to what is now a fleet of 4 tall fridges and 3 tall freezers and 2 chest freezers to store all the surplus and floor to ceiling racking to store pantry items. 

Even on Christmas Eve the team of volunteers were out collecting over 70 chilled turkeys plus vegetables all of which were stored and handed out at the next opening and the larger turkeys were gifted to local charities to make use of. 

With generous donations they were able to hand out to 100 households a Christmas Dinner box – and with the fruit and vegetables all donated it helped so many. 

The whole ethos of a community fridge is to prevent food going to landfill.  

Big - as in this instance - and all donations welcomed by FACT

Big - as in this instance - and all donations welcomed by FACT - Credit: FACT

To date an amazing 35 tonnes has been saved from landfill and supported nearly 4,500 households. 

It is not means tested, no questions are asked and the whole community is encouraged to support it. 

Hub co-ordinator Nicola Christy said: “This has been my dream for a number of years after seeing the enormous amount of food ending up in landfill and the number of households struggling to feed their families.  

“It was important to me that this was available to the whole community and not a means tested project. With the dedication of the volunteers and the support of the community and funders this has all been possible” 

She says donations are welcomed and if you have an allotment could you grow an extra row of vegetables, do you have fruit trees that have an abundance of fruit – the team would welcome them. These donations just boost the surplus that they receive. 

With the increase in demand and surplus they have become a victim of their success.  

Whereby they used to be able to manage the pickups with their own cars there is now too much to fit into the cars, so a van is needed. 

Nicola said: “A fundraising pot has been placed by our front door for the users to pop any loose change in there and so far just under £500 has been raised but with a figure of £2,500 there is a way to go. 

“Can anyone help raise he much-needed funds; a GoFundMe page is being set up on their Facebook page March Community Fridge. 

The fridge is open Monday & Friday between 10-12, it is not means tested and yes, we will take food donations as long as they are not passed use by date. 

If you can help please email Nicola Christy  hub@cotransport.org or call 01354 661234