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Norwich community joins fight to tackle food waste

PUBLISHED: 00:07 24 April 2018

The new Community Fridge, launched at St Francis Church at Heartsease. The packed fridge, ready for local people to help themselves to quality good food. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The new Community Fridge, launched at St Francis Church at Heartsease. The packed fridge, ready for local people to help themselves to quality good food. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2018

An initiative to reduce food waste and strengthen community bonds has arrived at a Norwich parish church.

The new Community Fridge, launched at St Francis Church at Heartsease. Rev Heather Cracknell, left; Michelle Steil, centre, service development office waste and recycling at Norwich City Council; and Paula Boyce, Norfolk Waste partnership officer, with the packed fridge, ready for local people to help themselves to quality good food. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe new Community Fridge, launched at St Francis Church at Heartsease. Rev Heather Cracknell, left; Michelle Steil, centre, service development office waste and recycling at Norwich City Council; and Paula Boyce, Norfolk Waste partnership officer, with the packed fridge, ready for local people to help themselves to quality good food. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

St Francis Church in Heartsease is the proud new home of Norfolk’s ninth community fridge, a place where surplus food is shared between people by local businesses and individuals.

Norfolk is at the forefront of the national movement, with nine instalments across the county. The next largest area is London, which according to the Community Fridge Network has seven fridges.

At the official opening at St Francis on Monday, April 23, speakers took the opportunity to emphasise that the project is not a food bank, but is for everyone to use.

Reverend Heather Cracknell, vicar of St Francis, said: “It actually won’t work properly unless everyone chips in and uses it, so don’t feel guilty about coming along and having a go no matter what your situation.”

The new Community Fridge, launched at St Francis Church at Heartsease. Rev Heather Cracknell, vicar of St Francis speaks at the event. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe new Community Fridge, launched at St Francis Church at Heartsease. Rev Heather Cracknell, vicar of St Francis speaks at the event. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The fridge is a self service system where the user weighs food in and out, and stickers are used to monitor how old products are.

Martin Moore, a Heartsease resident recovering from breast cancer said: “There’s no judgement or stigma here, anyone can take what they want. I know from personal experience while I’m awaiting fitness to go back to work, it’s a really good idea.”

Recycle for Norfolk is working to establish community fridges across Norfolk as part of its Waste less Save more Discovery Community project working with Sainsbury’s.

Acceptable food includes most sealed packaged foods, cheeses, fresh fruit and unopened pasteurised milk and yogurt.

Cooked food from home, cooked rice, raw milk cheeses and bean sprouts are among the products not accepted.

All food must have a use-by (but not sell-by) date and allergy information.

Reverend Cracknell said: “The local businesses have been really good, although often they aren’t actually that wasteful so don’t have as much to give us as the big shops!

“Cafe 33 is being really supportive and have even offered to volunteer with us.”

Heartsease Community Fridge is open Tuesday 2.30-4pm, Thursday 11am-1pm, and Saturday 9-10am.

For more information email: fridge@stfrancisheartsease.co.uk or call 01603 702799.

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