A COMMUNITY fridge tackling food waste and supporting people in need has secured its future and has dreams of a place in the new West Way shopping centre.

The Botley Community Fridge - the fourth of its kind in the country to offer food sharing - was launched in March and has been such a success it has been given a permanent post at St Peter and St Paul Church.

Community groups from as far away as Germany have also asked the Botley team for help launching their own fridges.

Its founder Riki Therivel said she was 'amazed' at its popularity and that families were regularly using the service and firms such as Tesco were dropping off food as well.

The North Hinksey woman said: "When we launched 12 weeks ago I never expected it to be as popular as it has been.

"I thought it would be a nice way for neighbours to share food, for example if I was going on holiday and had some lettuces I wasn't going to eat - I could leave them in the fridge for someone else to have.

"People may not think there's much deprivation in West Oxford.

"The majority of deprivation in the city is to the east but that's also where all the services are, and there's nothing for people in need in West Oxford.

She added: "The fridge has definitely been serving the area well - we run two specialist opening times for people in need, and there are people turning up every time."

Tesco are delivering food to the fridge twice a week and it recently took in 150 eggs from a food charity and 'food traffic' through the fridge will now increase after the church agreed they could stay on a more permanent basis.

The group hoped to eventually move into the proposed community centre at the new West Way development, which could be completed by 2020.

When Dr Therivel began her journey to implement the community fridge, there was only one other in the country - in Frome, Somerset.

But she presented the Frome fridge's management and hygiene plan to Vale of White Horse District Council, the council were 'horrified' - as allergen rules had changed and other teething problems were criticised.

After extensive discussions a winning formula was devised and now the North Hinksey woman hopes it could be adopted all over the country.

She said: "I thought if I produced a set of notes for businesses and people who wanted to drop food off then other communities would just need to replace the word Botley and use it where they live.

"In fact I have been getting phone calls from people all over the country and even someone in Germany about taking up the idea."

The fridge is monitored and cleaned daily by a team of seven volunteers, who were recently awarded a five-star food hygiene rating for their efforts.