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Rutland Community Fridge, founded by Root-and-Branch Out, celebrates one year since opening

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The founders of a community fridge have celebrated one year of saving produce from going to landfill.

Launched in October last year, volunteers for the Rutland Community Fridge have been busy collecting excess food from supermarkets and allotment holders and distributing it to the public.

The project is led by the community interest company Root-and-Branch Out, founded by Claire Crowley and Alex Wilby, and has saved eight tonnes of food from going into landfill waste by interacting with 2,000 customers.

Sue Ball, Alex Wilby, Claire Crowley and Emma McCombie in front of Oakham Community Fridge
Sue Ball, Alex Wilby, Claire Crowley and Emma McCombie in front of Oakham Community Fridge

It is part of a national scheme run by the Hubbub Foundation which has helped set up similar projects across the country.

Until now the group has gifted all food with no charge due to receiving the funding needed to establish the project.

However, now it will move to a 'pay as you feel' system to support the running costs.

Claire and Alex said: "Thank you to all of our volunteers, without whom this would not be possible.

"Our aim is still to save perfectly good food from waste and pass it on to anyone who wishes to use it up.

"It is strange in these times that a lot of supermarkets sometimes have gaps on their shelves but then they still have to get rid of food at the end of the day.

"We are there to prevent this waste from not being used."

Claire and Alex have trained about 25 willing volunteers in food hygiene and have a core team of people supporting the volunteers each session and collect food from supermarkets.

Any food waste that the group has at the end of the opening times, goes to the Rutland Farm Park to support feeding the animals.

Opening times of the fridges have been altered to meet the needs of the community and are now open on Fridays in Oakham from 10am to 11.30 am, and in Uppingham between 1.30pm and 3.30pm.

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