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Community Fridge Network I M PAC T R E P O R T 2019

W W W. H U B B U B . O R G . U K

Introduction Community Fridges are places where surplus food is shared within a local community, by businesses and individuals. They are welcoming, social spaces that are open to all. The Community Fridge Network is a group of Community Fridge projects operating across the UK that are registered with the environmental charity Hubbub. These Community Fridges have met certain health and safety standards and are committed to supporting each other through sharing learnings and impact. Through the Community Fridge Network, Hubbub provides free support for any group wanting to set up and run a Community Fridge, enabling the concept to flourish across the UK and beyond. The Network brings together major retailers, grant giving bodies, local authorities and community groups to reduce business and domestic food waste and strengthen communities. This report outlines the impact Community Fridges across the country have achieved together (we/us/our in this report refers to Hubbub and members of the Community Fridge Network). y unit s m m rk i Co The Netwo the y ge Frid orted b tery t p sup nal Lo und. o i t yF Na unit m Com

A nationwide movement 120 Community Fridge projects are currently registered as part of the Community Fridge Network. As of October 2019, 80 of these are open, and the rest are still in the process of setting up. Most Community Fridges are housed in community centres and churches. Some can be found in cafes, universities, on street locations and in other managed spaces. The way Community Fridges operate varies greatly and is tailored to meet local needs. One of the primary aims of the Community Fridge Network is to facilitate peer-to-peer learning and support. Through annual meetups and a private online forum we share ideas and learn from each other. We regularly share stories that define Community Fridges, what the main challenges are and how we want to see them grow.

Collective impact


780,000 kg



Community Fridges

Total volume of food redistributed

Unique visitors or users of Community Fridges

Volunteers involved

Impact of Community Fridge Network 200











7500 80


71 63

60 40 20 0




Volume of food redistributed by the CFN (tonne)


59 51












1500 Apr



Number of open Community Fridges






Number of unique visitors or users of Community Fridges

Number of unique visitors or users of Community Fridges

Volume of food redistributed by the CFN (tonne)

(November 2018 - October 2019)

In what ways are Community Fridges impacting households? Based on Community Fridge user survey between November 2018 - 2019

Helped to feed families


Helped individuals/families to eat more fruit and veg


Made people feel they can trust the local community more


Helped individuals/families to eat a greater range of foods


Helped to reduce food waste as people have received food saving advice/recipes at the fridge


Other (Helped to reduce plastic packaging, meet new people and save money)


Helped to reduce food waste as people donate to the fridge

18.45% 0%







In addition to sharing good food, Community Fridge spaces are used for‌ Based on Community Fridge Coordinator survey between November 2018 - 2019

Other: Community meals, recipe sharing, health and wellbeing advice supported by the local council, workshop on making wax wraps to reduce plastic use

56.25% 35.42%

Cooking workshops or community kitchen Growing activities


Clothes swap


Food co-op


Sharing of household items or skills


Refill/reuse/repair service

14.58% 0%







STORIES FROM THE COMMUNITIES “We have one elderly lady who comes every Saturday to collect vegetables from the Community Fridge. She has started to make soup weekly for her elderly neighbours who are not mobile and can’t to come to the community meal.”

“One of our Community Fridge users would be spending days on her own alone in the house, not seeing or talking to anyone. Her husband recently passed away and she misses him dearly. She is lonely and looks forward to going to the Fridge every week.

“Thanks to the success of our Community Fridge, we now have the council’s Adult Social Care team working in our centre signposting people to relevant services. It’s been so well received, and we are proud of the work we do.”

When she came in after recovering from her illness, she was overwhelmed with emotion to hear that people had missed her and obviously cared about her wellbeing. Through the Fridge she is connecting with others and feeling supported.”

“One day we got cheese from M&S. The next day, we got pizza bases from Sainsbury’s and meat from Waitrose. The following morning, vegetables and salad came in from Aldi. This remarkable coincidence put together enough pizzas to feed 90 people at our weekly community meal.”

“We had a lady who took a pack of blueberries from the Fridge. She had never eaten them in her life and was hesitant to try them. The next day she posted on our Facebook page to say she loved them. She got her granddaughter to eat them too, and she was so thankful for our Fridge as it gave her the chance to try something new.”

“Our local supermarket lost its roof and sent a lot of food that would have been wasted our way when they were forced to close, including 100 pints of milk. We helped a lot of local people, nurseries and groups by redistributing them out through our Fridge.

Food donors The vast majority of food re-distributed via Community Fridges (95%) is from national and local retailers or businesses. The rest is from domestic donations, including home grown produce.. Over 20 national retailers have donated surplus food to the Community Fridge Network. Hubbub has developed a redistribution arrangement with 7 retailers – Aldi, Sainsbury’s, Morrison’s, Tesco via Fareshare Go, Costa, Marks and Spencer and Pret a Manger. These retailers have committed to donating to any Community Fridge that is part of the network providing their local stores have capacity. The following have also donated to Community Fridges in different areas; Co-op, Calon Wen, Pizza Hut, Asda, Lidl, Greggs, Spar, Bookers, Upton Farm Foods, Streetwise Catering, Waitrose, Wigston Rotary Club and Milner’s Bakery. Other existing food surplus redistribution schemes are linking up to support Community Fridges in different areas, such as UK Harvest and Fare Share. London-based projects can receive donations from The Felix Project and Plan Zheroes. There are also numerous local donors such as local grocers, markets, bakeries, stores and cafes.

Successes Awards won

Better Society Awards 2019 – National Commitment to the Community

National Recycling Awards 2019 – Best Food Waste Initiative

Global Good Awards 2019 – Best Campaign of The Year

Business Green Leaders Awards 2019 – Best CSR/ Marketing/Advertising campaign

Award nominations BBC Food and Farming Awards 2019– Future of Food

The Charity Awards 2019 – Environment and Conservation

The Guild of Food Writers 2019 Best Charity Project



pieces of coverage

166 million

opportunities to see/hear

National Geographic Food

The Guardian (print and online

BBC news online

Timeout Huffington Post blog


Double page spread in Vegetarian Living

BBC NI (TV, radio & online)

The Grocer

The Big Issue (online)

iNews BBC Radio 4 (You & Yours)

Food and Travel magazine

Picked up by Yahoo News

Local and regional coverage as new fridges launched. The announcement in March that the network is set to double by the end of 2020 was covered by:

Yahoo! UK and Ireland

Food and Travel

Mail Online magazine

Over 150 regional online publications

Press Association

8 regional BBC Radio stations.


No pain, no gain - growing the network The Network has grown much faster than expected, and the processes we have to help groups set up their projects could be more efficient than they are now — so we’re going to address this in 2020.

The ‘final mile’ problem Surplus food from retailers is usually available at times when it is difficult to get volunteers to collect (very early in the morning or very late at night). Food collections can be very time intensive for volunteers, especially in rural areas. They can also be really isolating, which is the opposite of what people want out of volunteering. To address this challenge, Hubbub is trialling a low emission food surplus redistribution service next year. Watch this space!

Uncertain food supplies Food donations are volatile and in some areas in decline as food retailers make efforts to reduce their waste and more people join the food redistribution space. However, Community Fridges are still playing a vital role in mopping up small scale hyper local food waste which seems to be a persistent problem for the moment. Obviously, we’re chuffed as a decline in waste is a benefit for the environment! However, we know that Community Fridges are so much more than a fridge and that their value really lies in their ability to connect people with their neighbours, with good food and with the environment. In the year ahead we will be looking to support communities to enhance the value that their Community Fridges have beyond food redistribution by building on existing and prospective initiatives such as community gardens, food co-ops and share points.

W H AT N E X T ?

A new website dedicated to the Community Fridge Network We want to make it easier for everyone to get the guide on setting up, becoming a member, get tips on becoming financially sustainable, applying for free fridge/freezer units and learn how to develop their Community Fridge spaces into hubs for sharing, food knowledge and environmental action.

‘Food Connect’ service trial We are going to work with the Community Fridges in Milton Keynes to trial ‘Food Connect’ - an electronic cargo bike and van scheme providing reliable service collecting surplus food from multiple businesses and redistributing directly to Community Fridges or other organisations locally. We have secured funding for the pilot scheme and initially the service will be freely available.

More than a fridge We want to support communities to develop existing and prospective activities around food and environmental action – whether that’s building a food cooperative, offering cooking workshops or dedicating a space by the Community Fridge for everyone to share books, clothes or household items.


Profile for HUBBUB

Community Fridge Network |2019 Impact report | Hubbub  

In 2017, a national network of Community Fridges was established by Hubbub UK with support from the National Lottery Community Fund. The amb...

Community Fridge Network |2019 Impact report | Hubbub  

In 2017, a national network of Community Fridges was established by Hubbub UK with support from the National Lottery Community Fund. The amb...

Profile for hubbubuk