Consett Community Fridge Opens
The ALT Group – Press Release
Saturday 10th March 2018
Consett, County Durham
Local community group, The ALT Group, officially opened Consett Community Fridge this weekend. The Community fridge is a food sharing initiative to help divert good, edible food from landfill to local people. After a successful trial in February the project officially opened its doors to the public on Saturday with the help of MP Laura Pidcock.
The ALT Group, a local Community Interest Company based in Consett, work with the community creating projects based around food. Made up of local volunteers who are all residents in the Consett area, they come together to help nutritious food be easily available to the whole community, with their exisiting Community Meal and Community Garden projects. MP Laura Pidcock was able to spare some time to come along and open the doors of the Community Fridge. The Labour MP is a great supporter of locals taking initiative to improve Consett and she has been in touch wth The ALT Group and their projects since she took office in 2017. Working towards making our community stronger and more resilient for all its residents is high on her political agenda and this project helps to meet a need in the area.
Through their Community Meal at Blackhill Club the group signed up with Fareshare and Foodcloud to collect unsold food from local Tesco stores. The volunteers became increasingly aware of how much food was wasted on a daily basis and couldn't keep up with the demand of redistribution the waste through just the Community Meal. Food Durham contacted The ALT Group last year and asked if they would like to be involved in opening a Community Fridge in Consett and they were keen to start as soon as they could. The project has been supported by Sainsbury's Waste Less Save More and Durham County Council. They also receive support from Hubbub and Comic Relief to help launch the project and cover running costs for the next year.
Food waste, on average, costs households around £470 every year just from over buying their own food. The true cost of food waste is much higher in the cost to the council for disposing of the waste and also all the wasted fuel, water and emissions of distribution of the unused food and all the labour and resources of plant and animal life wasted in the current food system. Commercial and industrial food waste is also extremely high at each point in the production, manufacture and distribution of food and food products. Most food waste could be avoided if it were better managed and with the help of Food Durham and DCC The ALT Group want to help make the food system in Consett, and the County more efficient and resourceful.
Community Fridges are a great way to help bridge some of the gaps in the system, helping edible food that would otherwise be thrown away be collected and take to a local place where it can be redistributed to the public, quickly and safely. Trained volunteers collect waste from commercial premises or local businesses and individuals can also donate during the fridge opening hours. There are rules and guidelines for donating food which can be found online on The ALT Group website, on their Facebook page or by contacting a volunteer from the group.
Community Fridges also help people. With over 4 million people in the UK classified as living in food poverty, sharing food free of charge helps people to eat better and more regularly. Community Fridges have proven to help people try new foods, become more creative with their cooking and improve the nutrition in their diet. Food sharing can help people in times of hardship when time and or incomes are strained.
Terri Lee-Shield, The ALT Group director, 34 said “It is a great day for us to be able to open Consett Community Fridge, we are committed to helping local people and our environment and diverting food from landfill waste to a person who needs it is a big step in the right direction. It is time to start solving some big problems in our society and this is just one of the positive solutions we have found to help.”
Consett Community Fridge is at 6 John Street Square, Consett, DH8 5AR. It is open Monday & Wednesday 3-5pm and Saturday & Sunday 1-3pm. Everyone is welcome to use the fridge between these times.
The ALT Group applolgises that currently this service is not accessible to those with some disabilities, if you are in need or would like assistance using the Community Fridge feel free to get in touch as the group will try and support people where possible. If any local business would like to use the Community Fridge to redistribute their edible food waste, or if anyone would like to donate pr volunteer with this or other projects, please contact The ALT Group www.thealtgrp.co.uk.
Photography by Lee Dobson Photography
Hi, I'm Terri Lee-Shield, Director of The ALT Group.