Co-op and Hubbub launch Community Fridge pilot to combat food waste and insecurity

Co-op and Hubbub launch Community Fridge pilot to combat food waste and insecurity

(IN BRIEF) The Co-op has partnered with Hubbub, Manchester Climate Change Agency, and other organizations to launch a Community Fridge pilot in Oldham, aimed at combating food waste and insecurity. The initiative will create a space for locals to share surplus food from supermarkets, local businesses, producers, households, and gardens. The Community Fridge will be run by community groups and will be located in different areas to ensure equal coverage across the district. The pilot aims to provide one Community Fridge in every 30-50,000 neighborhood footprint. This initiative will reduce food waste, connect communities, and provide fresh food to those who need it most.

(PRESS RELEASE) MANCHESTER, 2-Mar-2023 — /EuropaWire/ — Co-op, a British consumer co-operative with a group of retail businesses including food retail and wholesale, insurance, legal services, and funerals, announces the launch of Community Fridge Pilot at Greenacres Community Centre in Oldham.

The initiative was announced by Oldham Council Leader Amanda Chadderton and Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham on Wednesday 1 March. The initiative aims to combat food waste and insecurity by creating a space for locals to share surplus food from supermarkets, local businesses, producers, households, and gardens. The fridge will be run by community groups and supported by the Co-op as part of its efforts to promote sustainability and reduce waste.

The Community Fridge Pilot is a result of a partnership between Manchester Climate Change Agency, Hubbub, Groundwork Greater Manchester, Amity, the Tyndall Centre for Climate Research, and Manchester City Council. The Co-op and Hubbub were asked to pilot and fund a cluster of Community Fridges in a Greater Manchester locality, with one in every 30-50,000 neighborhood footprint. Following the success of the Community Fridges through the In Our Nature program, the Co-op agreed to undertake this pilot in Oldham, where there was already a Community Fridge at the Failsworth Co-op Academy.

Hubbub, the Co-op, and Action Together worked collaboratively to identify suitable locations and host organizations in communities to ensure there is equal coverage across the district. The Community Fridge Pilot is a first and will help reduce food waste, connect communities, and provide fresh food to those who need it most.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “I congratulate Hubbub, Co-op and Action Together for launching their Community Fridge pilot in Oldham following a request by the Greater Manchester Food Security Action Network to pilot a cluster model in the city region. This initiative will involve working with the local community to tackle food insecurity and reduce food waste amidst the difficult times we’re in with the cost of living crisis and the climate crisis.

“Our recent Greater Manchester Residents Survey found that 8 in 10 people say their cost of living has increased over the past month and around 70,000 more households are experiencing food insecurity compared to last spring. People are clearly struggling and that’s why projects such as Community Fridges are so vital in providing a safety net for those who need it. It will also contribute to our ambitions towards carbon net zero by reducing avoidable food waste by making sure it goes to people. This community-led approach can help residents access healthy, nutritious and culturally appropriate food in a dignified way whilst also helping the environment.

“I hope this pilot is a success and I look forward to seeing it rolled out across Greater Manchester.”

Oldham Council Leader, Amanda Chadderton, said: “With high costs of living continuing to impact everyone we need to urgently address the issue of food waste and food insecurity.

“In September of 2022, over a quarter of households (nationally) with children experienced food insecurity, that represents over four million children. We also know that shockingly, 27% of UK children are living in poverty, and in Oldham this figure at almost 40%.

“For young people, some of which the cost of living crisis has heavily impacted, food insecurity contributes to increased anxiety, poor mental health, poor social and emotional development, and a reduced level of achievement in school.

“That’s why I’m so pleased to see this scheme taking place as I know it will make a real difference to families and those who are struggling. One step at a time, ideas like this will help us work toward our goal of ending food insecurity and the inequalities it brings.

“Thank you to everyone involved in this project – you are making a real difference.”

Matt Hood, Managing Director, Co-op Food said: “We recognise our responsibility to make a genuine difference to the communities we serve and absolutely believe that everybody should have access to good food. We’re pleased to be working with our partners to grow the essential community fridge network to directly help people in Oldham come together to eat, connect, learn new skills and reduce food waste. It is a real and significant step for this community to ensure fairer access to food for all.”

“For all at Co-op, this feels like a real step in the right direction to ensure fairer access to food for all.”

Aoife Allen, Director, Hubbub said: “Today’s launch shows true community spirit and co-operation in action. We are proud that there are now over 450 brilliant community fridges across the UK, where anyone can meet their neighbours and take home good food that would otherwise go to waste. With support from Co-op and all our partners in Greater Manchester, we look forward to seeing the benefits that these community fridges will bring to Oldham.”


Notes to editors

The Community Fridge Network is coordinated by Hubbub and it connects ‘fridges’ across the UK. Hubbub have partnered with Co-op to fund 500 fridges by the end of 2023. It is a support network for groups running community fridges to share knowledge and skills and to ask questions.

The Network offers free guidance on how communities can set up their own fridge and provides comprehensive support, design assets, a knowledge sharing forum, health and safety templates and discounted fridges and freezers.

More information about Community Fridges are available on the hubbub website: Community Fridge Network

About Co-op: Co-op is one of the world’s largest consumer co-operatives with interests across food, funerals, insurance and legal services. Owned by millions of UK consumers, the Co-op operates over 2,500 food stores, over 800 funeral homes and provides products to over 5,000 other stores, including those run by independent co-operative societies and through its wholesale business, Nisa Retail Limited.

Employing almost 60,000 people, the Co-op has an annual turnover of over £11billion and is a recognised leader for its social goals and community-led programmes. The Co-op exists to meet members’ needs and stand up for the things they believe in.

Media contact:

Victoria Simons
Senior PR Business Lead
Phone: 07738 621 076

SOURCE: Co-operative Group Limited


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