The island’s first ever community fridge has been installed in the island to help eliminate food waste.
It has been launched by church Living Hope alongside environmental charity Hubbub UK and the Manx Co-op in a growing effort to tackle food waste and place good food within reach of those who need it most.
Food waste is a ‘big issue’, the Co-op says.
The average household throws away £700 worth of food every year and at the same time four million people in the UK are living in food poverty.
Most food waste is avoidable and could have been eaten had it been better managed.
The Willaston Community Fridge is the first of three to be launched locally and is located at St Joseph’s on Snaefell Road.
It will be open every Thursday between 12pm and 3pm for individuals and businesses to share surplus food, and for anyone to help themselves to quality food that would otherwise be wasted.
As a local food business, allotment holder or charitable individual, you can join with the Manx Co-op and donate surplus food.
Andrew Corrie, operations manager at Manx Co-op, said: ‘The Manx Co-op are proud to support the Isle of Man’s first community fridge initiative and encourage the Manx public to make use of this service with more to follow in the near future.’
It is expected that as the community resource grows, the fridge will be open more often and other supporting activities will run at the same time.
Currently, Thursday’s daytime warm space is also open at St Joseph’s between 12pm and 3pm where anyone can get a free warm lunch and opt into various activities ranging from simple crafts to wellbeing support.
Maddie Porter, from Living Hope, said: ‘Community fridges are a wonderful concept and we’re delighted to host the first for the Isle of Man.
‘It’s more than just a fridge actually – it can be a social space, a community hub, a vibrant benefit to the community, maybe even a lifeline to some families given the current financial crisis.
‘Everyone is welcome to get involved, whether by giving or receiving food, attending Thursday’s daytime, or partnering to provide skills or classes that will enrich lives and address issues such as social isolation or financial stress, for example.’
The fridge is one of a growing number opening across the UK. The concept first started in the UK in 2016.
Now just under 300 projects are running across the country and Hubbub UK are committed to having 500 active fridges by end of 2023.
The launch of two more community fridges in the Isle of Man is planned for early 2023 – one to be hosted in the north and one in the south.