Alison Knight, Community Connector LiveWest and Steering Group member said: “Tavistock as a town have been amazing, people understand why we are doing this and support the project either by volunteering or by using the project or even by donating home grown fruit and vegetables. However, this wouldn’t be possible without our 30 volunteers, steering group, Libraries Unlimited and the support of local shops and businesses.”
Tavy Fridge has around 45 people a day using the project and has positive feedback from customers. One mum said she and her daughter often stopped at the project and her daughter would pick up a piece of fruit to eat at the park. Another customer mentioned it was great to pick up some fresh vegetables for free to add to their dinner!
Of course it is not quite like a shop, the supplies are affected by what food is donated by local markets and shops.
Alison added: “We generally receive a wide range of items, our donations are varied but the hope is that people will take advantage of the free food and find new ways of using ingredients and experimenting with different vegetables. We are not a food bank. Our aim is to reduce unnecessary food waste. To encourage this we share a range of recipes for surplus or left over food on our facebook page by searching for ‘Tavy Fridge’.
Sarah Cooper, Tavy Fridge Steering Group said: “During 2021 we distributed 19,632 Kg of food and saved 62,720 Kg of CO2 by stopping this food going into landfill.”
“It is also important to encourage people to consider their own food waste and in a survey of customers and supporters carried out earlier in the year, 78% said they had been trying to reduce their own food waste. Probably the most thrown out foods are potatoes and bread so not buying too much and using more carefully would stop this waste. Cooked potatoes can be used for potato salad or bubble and squeak and slightly stale bread can be used for bread and butter pudding, toast or croutons for soup.”
Denise Gatley, First Assistant, Tavistock Library and Steering Group member said: “It is great having this project situated in the foyer of the library, and it is a perfect addition to the vibrant range of activities we already have going on. The library feels like an active, vibrant community. We also see some of the people who volunteer or visit the community fridge now regularly using the library. It is also important to say, we are really grateful to the local shops and supermarkets that support this project; Tesco, Lidl, Co-op and Continental Fruits, and also Trudy Scrumptious.”
Founding volunteer, Jean Batchelor, added: “We all need a helping hand. I wish I had this sort of help when I was younger. And in a small way we are also protecting the world and the environment.”
This project was set up with start up funding of £1,000 from LiveWest.
Alison Knight, Community Connector, LiveWest and Steering Group member said: “This is part of our broader programme to invest in local communities in a way that benefits our customers and the wider community.”
There are a number of other towns and villages who have been inspired by this project and are now trying to set up their own community fridges.
Alex Kittow, Chief Executive for Libraries Unlimited, said: “This is just one illustration of how libraries continue to play such a central role in our communities."