Fishguard and Goodwick Community Fridge
I met with food champion Lesley Matthews recently to catch up with what is happening with the Community Fridge in Fishguard. Since we spoke, the dreaded virus has overtaken us and the Fridge is currently bare (21/3/2020). You should contact it via Facebook for updates, but the shelves are empty everywhere with very little surplus to be had at the moment.
We thought it was still important to remind everyone of the great work the team does and how that will be back to normal just as soon as it can be, so we are running this article anyway.
The Fridge, which began life in the Transition Café in 2017, has been at its current location since January 2018. The Fridge isn’t a food bank – it exists to ensure surplus food is saved from going to landfill, and thereby made available to the community. Ten tonnes of surplus food were saved last year, two more than the year before. That means 37 tonnes of carbon were saved from being released into our atmosphere.
I asked Lesley how many volunteers were now working to keep this incredible resource working?
“We have at least 15 regular and five reserves,” she told me. “All our brilliant volunteers are living locally, and are all ages from early twenties upward and from all walks of life.”
What are they doing?
“Basically, collecting food. We collect locally from places like Tesco, Coop, Bakehouse, Total Produce, and of course from individual donation. The great Ann Bushell is our main collector, but the others all do as much as they can. For six days a week we also need volunteers to open and close the shed. Everything we collect must be recorded and the food shed must be kept clean. Saturday is our day for a deep clean”.
And training is given to all volunteers?
“Oh yes, everyone is trained in food safety and given the opportunity to take level 2 food safety NVQ which is recognised by the food industry. It’s all free for the volunteers.”
What kind of food is collected?
“Bread and pastries, which are very popular. Once a week Calon Wen gives us yoghurts, milk and butter. We also collect from Booker once a week. We have all sorts of food stuff, including sauces and fruit and veg.”
So a great quantity of surplus food is being saved. Who are the people who benefit from the food?
“Initially people were a bit reticent about using the Fridge. We think that embarrassment sometimes got in the way for some people. Now that people understand they are actually helping the environment, we have seen more people than ever, and we get some lovely surprises like on Christmas Day when an Aldi van turned up full of flowers. That was very popular with local people.”
Do people have to pay for the food?
“No. The food is free, and some people have very little money, but we do welcome donations from anyone who can afford it. At the moment we are fortunate not to be paying rent, but we still need donations of at least £300 per month to keep running. We are also looking for £1,500 to fund a solar roof. We need to be financially independent.”
Is there anything else our readers should know?
“Tell people that we always welcome new volunteers and are in need of funding too, so donations, no matter how small, are gratefully received. You could also let people know that our free herb garden is coming back to life, so people can start to collect herbs from about the end of April.”
Transition Bro Gwaun, c/o Abergwaun Gateway Club, off Clive Road, Fishguard