WEST Byfleet has been celebrating the launch of its community fridge.

Several organisations have been involved in the project, including Byfleet United Charities, whose generous grant made the dream become a reality.

St John’s Church is hosting the community fridge in the Cornerstone Centre, Camphill Road. It will be open every Saturday from 10am to 12.30pm with good-quality surplus food from local businesses, including Co-op stores, for anyone to help themselves.

Food waste is a significant issue in the UK. The average household throws away £700 worth of food every year, and the impact of food waste on the planet is greater than that of aviation fuel. 

The community fridge shares surplus food for free - all members of the community are welcome and no vouchers are needed to take items.

It differs from a food bank in that the community fridge is not about food poverty but is for anyone keen to reduce the amount of food going into a bin.

Jo Pritchard, the project co-ordinator, said: “We opened last week and on our first day had 41 visitors, who between them took over 88 kilogrammes [about 194lb] of good surplus food.

“One lady was delighted to pick up mushrooms and potatoes and was inspired to make a pie, whilst a little boy chose an apple.”

The community fridge is one of a growing number across the UK, and locally adds to those in Knaphill and Maybury.

Borough councillor Amanda Boote, another key member of the project group, said: “I’m delighted to see the launch of our first community fridge in the Byfleets, this is a fantastic initiative.

“I’d like to thank everyone who has worked to make this happen, especially the project lead Jo Pritchard, St John the Baptist Church and the Priest in Charge, Keith Elford, The Men’s Shed Charity, Byfleet United Charities and all of the volunteers involved. 

“We hope now to set up our next community fridge at St. Mary’s Community Centre in Byfleet.’’

For more details, email [email protected].