Community fridge wins Fresh Idea of the Year award
- Credit: Daniel Hickey
A town's first ever community fridge which aims to combat food poverty and tackle food waste has won the Fresh Idea of the Year category in the North Norfolk News Awards.
Sheringham Community Fridge opened in April for businesses and residents to donate food and for anyone to help themselves to produce that would otherwise be thrown out.
The fridge is located at Yesu Community Cafe on 15 High Street and is run on a trust basis. Fresh food and bread is available to the public from 10.30am to 3.30pm from Tuesday to Friday.
Sadie Houghton, 43, Yesu Community Fridge co-ordinator, said that the award was "a really big boost" for the charity.
"It's amazing to think somebody took notice and nominated us, because it feels like a small thing, what we do, but maybe it's having a bigger impact than you think," she said.
On the days it was open in the lead-up to Christmas the fridge was busy with a stream of people availing of the donations, the bread being especially popular.
Ms Houghton said: "There is nobody there. You can help yourself to whatever is available. We ask people to take what they can use, no more than that.
"We trying to address food waste and food poverty locally.
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"If you can save £4 to £10 a week on groceries, that gives you £40 a month you could spend on something else, a pair of shoes.
"As things get tighter, it's surprising the amount of people who need the extra help," she said.
Food is donated by Craft Bakery, also on High Street, Sainsbury's, Tesco and Morrisons, alongside donations from individuals.
The charity expedited the facility's opening in order to deal with the fallout from the pandemic.
"Coming out of lockdown, there were a lot of people who needed help," Ms Houghton said.
"We've been very busy. Every time you hear the bell ringing [in the cafe] that is someone coming in.
"It's all fresh food with a short shelf-life. We want it to come in and go out on the same day," she added.
The charity estimates that the average household throws away £700 of wasted food every year, while four million are living in food poverty.
The fridge is one of a growing number opening up across the UK. The concept first arrived in the country in 2016.