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Community fridge opens at EcoSki shop in Mill Street, Oakham, thanks to Root-and-Branch Out project




People who like to pick up a sell-by-date bargain in the supermarkets can now go one step further in helping to prevent food being thrown away.

Following in the footsteps of community fridges that are already in operation in Stamford and Uppingham, a new one will be located in Mill Street, Oakham.

Volunteers will keep the resource stocked with goods that shops and supermarkets don’t think will sell in time to meet the dates on the product labels - but which are still perfectly safe and tasty for people to eat.

Claire Crowley from Root-and-Branch Out, Oakham's deputy mayor Sally-Anne Wadsworth, Alex Wilby from Root-and-Branch Out, and the High Sheriff of Rutland, Richard Cole. Photo: Alan Walters
Claire Crowley from Root-and-Branch Out, Oakham's deputy mayor Sally-Anne Wadsworth, Alex Wilby from Root-and-Branch Out, and the High Sheriff of Rutland, Richard Cole. Photo: Alan Walters

These include vegetables, ready meals and some meats, as well as cakes and bread.

The fridge will be open from 2.30pm to 4pm on Fridays.

Alex Wilby, from the Root-and-Branch Out co-operative community interest company which is behind the scheme, said the new fridge in Oakham was purchased following a successful bid to the Waste Resource Action Programme (WRAP) and Leicester and Rutland Community Foundation.

“As part of the community fridge network, Hubbub, these fridges offer surplus food, intercepted from local supermarkets, which would become landfill,” said Alex. “The food is perfectly edible and is available for anyone to access.”

Deputy Mayor of Oakham Sally-Anne Wadsworth takes a look inside the new community fridge in Mill Street. Photo: Alan Walters
Deputy Mayor of Oakham Sally-Anne Wadsworth takes a look inside the new community fridge in Mill Street. Photo: Alan Walters

Uppingham’s community fridge opened in the town hall at the end of September. At the time, Root-and-Branch Out appealed for anyone with a suitable location in Oakham to come forward.

As a result, the new fridge in Oakham is in the EcoSki store at the junction of Mill Street and High Street.

EcoSki was due to open earlier this year but the owner, Rachael Westbrook, was happy for it to be used for the fridge because the coronavirus pandemic means she is currently retailing her sustainably produced outdoor clothing and ski accessories through the EcoSki website instead.

Since opening at the town hall, the Uppingham fridge has distributed more than half a tonne of surplus food and recently received a donation form Uppingham Fine Foods, who donate a percentage of profits from their Uppingham range of foods towards local projects.

Deputy Mayor of Oakham Sally-Anne Wadsworth takes a look inside the new community fridge in Mill Street. Photo: Alan Walters
Deputy Mayor of Oakham Sally-Anne Wadsworth takes a look inside the new community fridge in Mill Street. Photo: Alan Walters

The Stamford fridge, run by Second Helpings, is located at Barn Hill Methodist Church in Barn Hill.

In addition to preventing food waste, the fridges are providing volunteering opportunities.

Volunteers collect food from supermarkets and distribute it through the community fridge locations.

Root-and-Branch Out is based in Rutland and run by Alex Wilby and Claire Crowley. To find out more about their projects, click here.



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