Co-op and Hubbub partner in £500k boost to community fridge initiative
Environmental organisation Hubbub has announced a partnership with retailer Co-op to expand its network of community fridges across the UK with a £500,000 boost.
Hubbub defines a community fridge as ‘a space where everyone can share surplus food, including donations from local food businesses, producers, households and gardens’, helping reduce food waste and save money.
Hubbub runs the UK’s largest network of community fridges, with over 150 already up and running across the UK, which distribute over 6,000 meals per month.
The partnership with Co-op will help expand the network to 250 community fridges by the end of the year, including 15 of these to open this month. Co-op will be donating surplus food to the fridges.
As well as targeting food waste and poverty, the fridges play a role in communities connecting with each other and learning new skills through activities such as cookery sessions and workshops on how to grow fruit and vegetables.
Steve Murrells, Co-op Group Chief Executive Officer, said: “Thanks to our members and customers, we’re delighted to be partnering with Hubbub on such an innovative scheme bringing communities together, empowering people towards community-led food solutions that will help to build community resilience.
“As a co-operative, we recognise our responsibility to make a genuine difference and have already made a number of interventions to help tackle food poverty and create fairer access to food, through our food share partnerships and our donations to FareShare.
“However, our work in our local communities has shown us that to really make a sustainable difference we need to cooperate with others to build the resilience needed for the future.”
Marcus Rashford MBE commented: "The Co-op is a valuable founding member of the Child Food Poverty Taskforce and has consistently stepped up to the plate throughout the Global pandemic to support our most vulnerable families.
“They have demonstrated how community action can make real sustainable change and just how powerful we can be when we come together.
“Together with Hubbub, the Co-op has developed a programme that spans far beyond access to food and I'm so excited to see that my own community in Wythenshawe will benefit."
Tessa Tricks, Senior Creative Partner at Hubbub, said: “The partnership with Co-op has given Hubbub a unique opportunity to expand its Community Fridge Network at a greater scale and speed than would usually be possible.
“These fridges play a vital role in communities across the UK by not only providing access to good quality food while reducing food waste but by bringing people together to share and learn from one another.
“In the past year, many of the fridges have provided a lifeline to families struggling as a result of the pandemic and we have seen the fridges turn into a place where people come together and support each other to tackle whatever challenges are thrown at them. They really are more than just a fridge.”