A COMMUNITY fridge that opened six months ago in South Oxfordshire says it redistributed a quarter of a tonne of unwanted food last month alone.

Wallingford’s facility, which aims to cut waste and help those struggling with food poverty, has proved a hit with locals, around 500 of whom are part of an online group.

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Co-ordinator Tracey Lloyd-Jones said it was ‘going very well’, following its launch in early December, and that the ‘community have really got behind it’.

Explaining that the amount of food being distributed was 'steadily rising' each month, she said: “We have a Facebook page so I can post when food is available, which then goes onto a local community Facebook page. This reaches around 8,000 people.

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“Last month we were able to redistribute about 250kg of food to our community and hardly any waste.”

The initiative, launched by Ridgeway Community Church, gives people in need of food the chance to access fresh goods (though no meat or fish), much like a food bank.

Located at The Fountain Bookshop, on St Mary’s Street, it opens Tuesdays to Fridays from 9.30am to 4.30pm and Saturday from 9.30am – 1pm.

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Members of the Facebook group regularly post about what produce is available and what meals have they have cooked with the donated goods.

The group has plenty of volunteers but individuals and businesses are still being asked to donate fresh fruit and vegetables.

Ms Lloyd-Jones continued: “At the moment there are three supermarkets who contact me to collect their surplus food. We also have volunteers who rotate to pick it up.

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Above: Tracey Lloyd-Jones and Councillor Lynda Atkins at the fridge, which is inside The Fountain Bookshop on St Mary's Street. Picture: Ed Nix

“I have also spoken to some of our local folks who grow their own fruit and vegetables, to see if they would be interested in donating some of their surplus produce, which they’re happy to do.”

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In 2016, France became the first country in the world to ban supermarkets from throwing away unsold food, forcing them to donate it to worthy causes.

Wallingford's food bank has been increasing significantly, with a 25 per cent increase reported year on year in December.

Wallingford Food Bank operates from the Bullcroft Park (11am - 1pm, Mondays and Thursdays). They are always looking for donations of non-perishable food items and long-life drinks.