FLITWICK COMMUNITY FRIDGE
What is a Community Fridge?
A community fridge is a space that brings people and businesses together to share food, meet up, learn new skills and prevent fresh food from going to waste. Flitwick Community Fridge is open to all; anyone can share or take food, including surplus from supermarkets, local food businesses, producers, households and gardens.
Community fridges are a tried and tested solution to stop good food from going to waste, helping to address two big problems:
- Reducing food waste: The average household throws away £810 worth of food each year. Most food waste in the UK (4.1 million tonnes) is avoidable and could have been eaten had it been better managed.
- Supporting people impacted by food poverty: A 2023 report by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) shows that 350,000 more children were pulled into relative poverty in 2021-2022, up from 3.6 million in 2010-11. 71% of poor children live in working families, and 45% of all children in poverty are in families with the youngest child aged under five.
In the context of rocketing food prices and widespread loneliness, many community fridges have become a lifeline and valuable meeting place at the heart of their community. As well as stopping good food from going to waste, people can also take part in other activities, learn new skills such as how to grow or cook food or drop in for a chat. Follow the Flitwick Community Fridge Facebook page for information about our cookery courses and activities and stock updates.
Originally set up by Flitwick Town Council (FTC) in January 2023, Flitwick Community Fridge has steadily built up to redistributing approximately 6,000 kilos of food each month. We’ve received financial support from environmental charity, the Hubbub Foundation and Central Bedfordshire Council, as well as regular financial support and food donations from local businesses. The service is coordinated and delivered by FTC with lots of support from our team of amazing volunteers who give up their time to collect food for redistribution for the benefit of the community.
You can donate to the Flitwick Town Mayor's Charity Community Fund to support the Community Fridge and to fund other projects that will benefit the residents of Flitwick. Donate here
Who can use the Community Fridge?
Anyone can donate or receive food from the fridge; you do not need a referral to access food. Please see our guidance below.
You do not need to be a Flitwick resident to use the service!
Location and opening times
You’ll find the fridge in the main foyer at The Rufus Centre, Steppingley Road, Flitwick, MK45 1AH. There is ample free parking if you are visiting by car.
We’re open from 9 am to 8 pm, Monday to Friday and Saturdays from 9 am to 2 pm (subject to stock availability).
What's on offer?
You’ll usually find a selection of fresh fruit and vegetables, bread and limited dairy products; what’s available depends on what’s been donated. All food is free. We are not a traditional food bank, although we stock a modest community larder containing dry goods to support anyone in need – speak to our staff if you need this.
Our staff and volunteers follow a rigorous food hygiene system, including stock rotation and cleaning. It’s your responsibility to check the food is still fresh and within its use-by date. Some food in the fridge may be past its best before date but will still be perfectly fine to eat. Please read the disclaimer displayed.
When you arrive, please select the food you’d like to take. We ask that you weigh the food you take using the scales provided and complete the anonymous form (we only ask for a postcode) to allow us to track the needs and preferences of our service users.
Please be considerate and only take what you need. Our fridge is a shared community resource and is open daily, Monday – Saturday; you are welcome to return another day. Collections are limited to one bag per household; there is a maximum limit of 3 kilograms of food per person and no more than 3 of the same item.
The 'Cost of Living Crisis' continues to impact everyone in our community, but it’s not affecting everyone equally. Please speak to one of our friendly team for friendly, non-judgemental support and advice.
We can offer immediate assistance and support, including referrals to our friends at The Need Project (our local food bank).
We welcome donations to the community fridge including surplus produce from gardens and allotments but we do have strict rules we have to follow. Ask yourself:
- Is it at risk of being wasted?
- Is it fresh and within its use-by date?
- Is it good to eat for at least 24 more hours?
- Can we accept it? Check the exclusion list below.
- Is the packaging unbroken?
- Does the packaging have a list of ingredients and allergens? Community fridges can only share food they know the contents of according to Natasha’s Law.
If you want to donate, ask a member of the team to accept and weigh in your unwanted food.
If you are a food business, please contact Sue Quinn, our Community Services Officer, by email or call 01525 631900 to discuss how we can help you reduce your food waste.
We cannot accept:
- Cooked food from your home or unregistered sources
- Unpasteurised milk or raw milk cheeses
- Cooked rice
- Meat, including pâtés, ham, sausage rolls etc
- Bean sprouts
- Loose bakery products with no labelling of allergens
- Products that could contain any of the above ingredients
Can I make a financial donation towards the service?
Residents and businesses can make one-off or regular donations to the Flitwick Town Mayor’s Charity (RCN: 1205683) Community Fund, which provides funding for the Flitwick Community Fridge and other projects that directly benefit the residents of Flitwick.
All donations made to the Flitwick Town Mayor’s Charity Community Fund support Flitwick Community Fridge and other projects benefitting Flitwick residents. Click here to donate.
Do you need any volunteers?
We need volunteers to join our team to help with supermarket collections and important tasks like stock rotation and cleaning.
Please email to register your interest in volunteering to support the Flitwick Community Fridge or give us a call on 01525 631900.