A CHARITY that gives out surplus supermarket food to people in need is expanding across Woking as the cost of living crisis hits more people.

The latest community fridge has opened in Maybury, joining one in Knaphill and a number of similar projects across the borough.

The Canalside Community Fridge is supported by the e
nvironmental charity Hubbub in partnership with the Co-op. The supermarket chain is one of several that provides its surplus food for distribution, with further supplies from other local businesses.

Recipients of the free food do not have to be referred, filling a gap as more and more people are experiencing food poverty.

Gerry Mitchell, one of the 
Canalside Community Fridge directors, said the charity serves people who had previously been referred to a food bank but no longer fit the criteria, people who are waiting to be referred because of administrative delays and others who are too ashamed to use their food bank vouchers.

The community fridge is open on Mondays from 11am to 1pm. Any leftover food is sent to other food charities, including Woking Foodbank.

Gerry said it is situated in Maybury, partly because free premises there have been provided by the Woking Labour Club and Institute and also because of 
local need.

“There are people in Maybury who will not travel to parts of Sheerwater where there are other projects because of transport or mobility issues,” she said.

“It’s about services becoming hyperlocal.”

The Community Fridge Network was set up in 2017 and redistributes on average almost 6,000 meals per fridge each month.

It also holds cookery sessions and workshops on how to grow fruit and veg. 

Tessa Tricks, senior creative partner at Hubbub, said: “It’s so exciting the Community Fridge Network is expanding in Woking and we are looking forward to hearing the success stories from Canalside Community Fridge.

“These fridges play a vital role across the UK by not only providing access to good-quality food while reducing food waste but by bringing people together to share and learn skills from one another.

“In the past year, many of the fridges have provided a lifeline to families struggling as a result of the pandemic and we have seen the fridges turn into a place where people come together and support each other to tackle whatever challenges are thrown at them. They really are more than just a fridge.”

Gerry said the take-up at the Canalside Community Fridge has been small so far, but the impact was huge.

“We had a lady a week or two back who was in tears within a few minutes of being in.

“She said, ‘I just haven’t got anything; I haven’t got enough to feed my children’.

“For that lady to come that morning, that’s enough.”

FOR more information, call 07538 947818, email [email protected], find @Canalside_chill on Twitter, Canalside CF on Facebook or @canalsidecommunityfridge on Instagram