The initiative, which aims to reduce the amount of food waste that goes to landfill, was launched in June of this year with the opening of the first Community Fridge at Eden Allotment Gardens, just outside Carrickfergus.
Community Fridges are a platform for sharing surplus food, they are not means tested and are open to all.
While they differ from the vital role played by food banks, Community Fridges can often be a complementary provision.
Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr William McCaughey, officially opened the new Islandmagee Community Fridge.
“There are just over 100 community fridges across the UK with each fridge sharing between one and four tonnes of food per month”, the Mayor explained.
“Each year these community fridges can redistribute 975 tonnes of food surplus, which is equivalent to 1.9 million meals, and benefit over 77,000 people.
“I am delighted to say our borough is now adding to this figure with the opening of our second fridge in Islandmagee, and we hope to reach similar levels of success in reducing food waste and tackling climate change.”
This project was made possible through the Department of Communities’ Covid-19 Food Partnership Fund, and Council staff have been supporting a network of Community Fridge volunteers over the past six months to get the project up and running.
The Mayor added: “Volunteers will be managing the day-to-day running of the fridge so a huge thank you to them. I would also like to extend thanks to local food outlets Tesco and Asda who are supporting the initiative by supplying produce for the fridge.
“I look forward to seeing how this wonderful community initiative progresses.”
Corinne Meekin, Community Fridge volunteer, said: “The premise of a Community Fridge is simple – whatever items are available can be taken by anyone. As well as food sharing, Community Fridges give people opportunities to contribute through volunteering, learning new skills and sharing their existing skills.
“After much work in the background we are delighted to finally open our doors to the public.
“Our volunteers will be opening and closing the fridge, collecting food from suppliers, and ensuring the area is clean and tidy.
“Initially the fridge will be open two days a week. Openings hours will very much depend on what donations are received and doors close early when all the food is gone.
“Our volunteers will update the Islandmagee Community Garden Facebook page to advise what food is available so we’d recommend checking before coming down. We look forward to welcoming visitors to our beautiful community garden and new community fridge.”
If you are interested in setting up a Community Fridge in your area, please contact [email protected]