Community Fridge opening in Newcastle to help those in need

First published on: 15th October 2021

By Mike Hills, Vicar at St. Andrew’s, Newcastle and City Centre Chaplain

Despite our country being the fifth largest national economy on the planet, there is still huge food poverty in the UK and in our city of Newcastle. The City Centre Chaplaincy (based at St. Andrews Church, Newgate Street) has been quietly supporting local foodbanks, People’s Kitchen, and other related agencies before and throughout the pandemic.

Sadly, the impact of Covid, together with the recent and ruthless withdrawal of Universal Credit, has exacerbated the problem of food poverty in our region. It came to our attention that there are many ‘working poor’ and others who simply run out of food, resorting to rummaging in the waste bins of our supermarkets for recently discarded ‘best before/use by’ items. Clearly this is outrageous.  

Stewardship and a glimmer of Hope

There are 144 Community Fridges (sponsored by HUBUB) across the UK, and the latest NCCC one is number 145. NCCC has been consulting prayerfully over a two-year period to achieve this moment.

Local supermarkets have kindly agreed to donate perfectly edible stock (which would otherwise be discarded) to this small but important project, meaning that other stakeholders and churches can eventually signpost key people where necessary. Thankfully, those who are in need will soon be able to visit the porch of St. Andrew’s Church and help themselves to fresh food in a private and dignified way.      

Holy water for a special purpose

Everything we ever do is a prayer. Consequently, we dedicated this modest venture with understated yet appropriate ceremony during Holy Communion. It was a great bonus to share the Thursday lunchtime Eucharist with Bishop Mark, who proceeded to set aside ‘Community Fridge 145’ for its special purpose by literally blessing it with Holy Water! Good News indeed, as the project can launch at the earliest opportunity in November!

For details please see our website and signpost those who might benefit. Although not a total solution, at least it can be a simple solution to wasting less through the sharing of good quality food in our city.

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