We are pleased to announce that we have been successful in our bid to get 21 new fridges and freezers for our Community Food Members within Sussex and Surrey. 7 have already been received with more expected to be delivered over the coming weeks. This donation gives charities and projects the ability to accept a wider range of food items and equips them with the tools they need to safely store and distribute surplus food effectively. It also benefits our regional centre’s capacity to accept more frozen food as we will be able to redistribute it more regularly with a quicker turnaround. 

Earlier this month, The Felix Project, part of the wider FareShare network, had a special visit from King Charles III to initiate and commemorate the donation of 800 fridges and freezers to charities and organisations across the UK. The new £1 million fund includes a donation from the King, The Prince of Wales Charitable Fund and other funders and is set to have a huge impact on the distribution of surplus food. 

One of the recipients of a new freezer is Moulsecoomb Community Market in Brighton. They use a social supermarket model where they prioritise giving people some dignity and choice about what food they eat as well as providing access to a more varied and healthy diet. Their services are run by a group of dedicated volunteers who live in the surrounding area of Moulsecoomb and Bevendean, with doors open for only 2 hours a week. We spoke with Cllr Kate Knight, one of the founders who told us that the demand for their services have dramatically increased which has put pressure on their services:

“We had a waiting list for a while and it didn’t move so we started to ask the people coming ‘would you mind coming fortnightly?’ that meant we didn’t have a waiting list. It’s such a tight knit community in Moulsecoomb, everyone knew somebody who was on the waiting list. Not a single person complained about the move to fortnight shopping, not one person.”

Moulsecoomb Community Market with their new chest freezer

They had 100 households coming to access food each week but with the fortnightly adjustment they now have only 50 households a week. However, ensuring that food levels were equally distributed across the fortnight was proving difficult;

“Bread is feast and famine, so you can have two loaves and next week you could have 100 loaves and you can’t give stuff away. It’s very hard to manage because you don’t know when the food is coming in, so this way we can freeze to make sure we can spread the food over two weeks so that people get a fairer shot at it.”

The addition of a new 282 litre chest freezer facilitates the ability to accept larger items that would otherwise take up a lot of space in their other freezer. They receive food from FareShare Sussex & Surrey weekly but also depend on other suppliers to keep up with demands for food, sometimes collecting items on-the-day which they struggle to get rid of. Cllr Kate adds:

“When we plan for events like Christmas and Easter, it’s very hard nowadays to go out and buy 100 chickens, but you can buy 20. So this will allow us to buy and freeze, buy and freeze. It will allow us to plan and it will also mean we will say no to a lot less than we used to. It’s just great!”

By providing food banks with the tools they need to distribute surplus food effectively, we can make a real difference in the fight against food poverty and food waste.