Helen Innes didn’t set up a community fridge to tackle food poverty. She wanted to fight food waste, and provide a space for people to socialise around food.
“I just hate food waste,” Innes said. “I just hate the thought of food going in the bin.”
But now, five years on, more and more people come to her who couldn’t afford food otherwise. Her community fridge, operating out of The Old Bath House & Community Centre in Milton Keynes, used to get busy at the end of the month, when pay was being stretched. With the cost of living crisis meaning there’s little hope of stretching things out, it’s busy all the time.
“We regularly get new visitors who are in a fairly different position to those not wanting to waste food and to do the right thing. It is about them needing food,” she said.
Up to 100 people come to each of the two weekly sessions. Innes describes it as a “buzzing atmosphere”.
But behind it is a growing level of need – with people turning not just to foodbanks but to other means of help, like community fridges.