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Food poverty in Mid and East Antrim is to be tackled in the borough through a “community fridge” scheme

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silver French-door refrigerator

Food poverty in Mid and East Antrim is to be tackled in the borough through a “community fridge” scheme.

Fridges will be located at three venues to be established in Islandmagee, Carrickfergus and Ballymena.

The scheme which will be funded by the Department for Communities will be supported by the borough council.

The development was highlighted at a meeting of the council’s Direct Services Committee on Tuesday evening.

Coast Road councillor Alderman Gerardine Mulvenna described the scheme as “excellent”.

The project is aimed at reducing food waste by making it available to those who need it.

Environmental charity Hubbub UK, which launched the initiative in 2016, explained that a community fridge can be accessed by anyone in the community and anyone can give to or take food from the fridge.

Retailers can contribute by distributing surplus food.

Hubbub UK says that the average family of four wastes £720 worth of food a year.

Northern Ireland’s first community fridge’ was trialled in Cloughmills, in north Antrim, in 2017, with the support of Hubbub UK and electrical appliance retailer Bosch in an effort to tackle food waste.

It opened with the aim of enabling residents and businesses to share surplus food and for anyone to help themselves to quality food that would otherwise be wasted.

Hubbub UK has predicted that the number of community fridges in the UK will have doubled to 200 by the end of 2021.

Meanwhile, Mid and East Antrim Council has reported the delivery of almost 4,000 food parcels to residents across the borough during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic last year. These were distributed to 532 homes in Larne, Carrick and Ballymena.

Thirty-two families in the borough have benefited from delivery of a free slow cooker kit.

Last year, Larne Foobank helped more than 1,500 families in need. Food donations amounted to 14,233 tonnes.

In Carrickfergus, 5.5 tonnes of food were donated to the town’s Foodbank during the first lockdown last year and a further boost of £2,000 was received from Flavour Warehouse in July.

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