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Cloughmills launches first community fridge in effort to cut food waste

Rowan Donnelly, Oisin McCaughan, Khyia Douds and Jamie Goligher helping launch the new Cloughmills Community Fridge project. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin

NORTHERN Ireland's first ever `community fridge' has opened its door in a Co Antrim village in an effort to tackle food waste.

In fact there are two Bosch fridges and a freezer at The Old Mill in Cloughmills, which will be open every day to allow residents and businesses to share surplus food.

The initiative, by Cloughmills Community Action Team and environmental charity Hubbub, will allow anyone to help themselves to quality food that would otherwise be wasted.

Despite increasing awareness of the issue of food waste, there are limited options for households and food businesses to get surplus perishable food to those who need it safely and within the `use-by' date.

Some of the most commonly wasted food includes fresh fruit and vegetables, bread, meat and ready meals and cafés and restaurants often dispose of sandwiches and cooked food if they can't sell it on the day it's made.

Chairman Patrick Frew has calling for all food businesses in the Cloughmills area to donate surplus food.

"As hosts of the first community fridge in Northern Ireland we believe this project represents a significant opportunity for us to put food at the heart of our community and use food sharing to greatly enhance social cohesion," he said.

" We know our fridge will bring people from all backgrounds together as we tackle the often hidden costs of food waste.

"It will lead to all sorts of conversations and actions around how we develop as a community and how we make best use of this concept of sharing."

Also known as `solidarity' or `honesty' fridges, they have been successfully introduced in Spain, Germany and parts of Great Britain.

In 2016 Swadlincote Community Fridge in south Derbyshire, supported by Sainsbury's and Bosch, re-distributed 2,290kg worth of food that would have otherwise been waste during a six-month trial period.

Food was collected by more than 800 people who visit the fridge and donated to 12 community groups.

Cloughmills is one of five new community fridge schemes to open this summer with others in Milton Keynes and three locations in North London in England.

To donate or volunteer visit: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1053557231335522 or email cloughmillscommunityfridge@gmail.com and telephone 028 2763 8444

Initial opening times for Cloughmills Community Fridge

Monday : 10am – 12pm

Tuesday : 10am – 12pm

Wednesday : closed

Thursday : 10am – 12pm & 7pm – 9pm

Friday : closed

Saturday : 2pm – 4pm

Sunday : closed

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