‘No need to be ashamed’: More than 900 visit community fridge post lockdown

Gemma Harvey, operations Manager, and Mike Briggs, Feed Trainee, at The Feed, a social enterprise in

Gemma Harvey, operations Manager, and Mike Briggs, Feed Trainee, at The Feed, a social enterprise in Norwich working to prevent poverty, hunger and homelessness. Photo: The Feed. - Credit: The Feed

More than 900 people have visited a community fridge, as a social enterprise works to tackle poverty, hunger, and homelessness post lockdown.

The Feed, in Norwich, offers a programme of supported work experience in their café and catering business to people who face barriers to employment, such as homelessness, mental health issues, substance misuse and histories of offending.

The social enterprise, which launched in 2014, has been supporting the Norwich community and throughout the pandemic they provided 4,500 food parcels to those in-need.

Anticipating the fallout post lockdown, they decided to launch their community fridge in August, which has been a “safety net” for people who have been left struggling.

One user of the community fridge said: “The Community Fridge at The Feed has been a real safety net for me.

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“It’s been a difficult time with unemployment and I struggle with my mental health so knowing I can get good quality food and even tips on how to cook it has been life changing, they have also given me support with employment.”

Another added: “The Community Fridge has kept me going the last month, it’s an amazing project and without access to food five days a week I don’t know what I would have done”.

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The fridge works by collecting food from organisations such as Fareshare, Foodhub and Soul Foundation.

It also provides the ingredients for individuals engaging in the Feed’s work experience programme, to cook healthy ready meals for the fridge, whilst being mentored by the chef.

More than 3,376 kg of food has been collected so far, and the Feed team ensure they are on hand to provide support to signpost to other appropriate services.

Mike Briggs, a Feed trainee, said: “Working with The Feed has given me the confidence to help with my dyslexia with pride, and to ask for help when I need it.

“For example, I wanted to apply to the Norfolk Assistance Fund for white goods and previously would have given up as it a form to complete, but instead I picked up the phone and asked for support.

“The Feed have ‘made me feel like I’m a somebody, not a nobody’ and that ‘there’s no need to be ashamed.’”

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