Community fridge opens in Gorse Hill Baptist Church
A community fridge has opened in Gorse Hill Baptist Church in Swindon – the first such fridge to be opened in the town
The fridge is stocked with surplus produce from the community, and opens on Monday, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11am until 2pm.
It came about because the church has been running a food delivery scheme for more than year: Boxes of Hope sees the church pack and deliver 50-60 bags of food and toiletries to households struggling to manage each week. The same volunteers will operate the community fridge.
Church member Heather Prictor, who runs Boxes of Hope, explains, ‘Because of Boxes of Hope, Chris Anthulakis contacted me – would we be interested in helping him start a community fridge? He contacted Hubbub (which co-ordinates the community fridge network) and it started from there. Because we had a lot of things in place we could get it up and running quickly.
‘Having a fridge is another step in the right direction to reduce food waste and food poverty in the town. We’re the first in Swindon so we’re really excited to launch the initiative.’
‘And now we’re also able to add fresh food to our Boxes of Hope.’
The fridge was officially opened at a ceremony last month, with mayor Garry Perkins cutting the ribbon.
The opening was covered in The Swindon Advertiser, which quoted Co-op member Kate Tarabay as saying, ‘We’re extremely proud to be in partnership with Hubbub and are absolutely thrilled to be part of this community project that gives back and facilitates food waste.
‘Boxes of Hope have been fantastic at providing food for families and without it we wouldn’t be able to put this on display so we’re excited to share the journey with them.’
Councillor for Gorse Hill and Pinehurst Carol Shelley added, ‘I know what a difference this makes to families and what they have to go through during the pandemic. They’re really putting action at the heart of what you do.’
The church is also looking setting up a Renew Wellbeing café, CAP money courses and job club. (Honda, a large local employer, closes its Swindon plant in July).
Heather said, ‘We have responded to needs that have arisen in the pandemic. We want to feed people physically, but we also want to respond to people’s wellbeing.
‘We had a good idea of the needs, but the pandemic has made us look at things in different ways. We know we are now able to do so much more about it and have become much better at responding.’
Image | Mark Harris | Heather Prictor (right) at the opening of the community fridge based in Gorse Hill Baptist Church, Swindon