The People's Fridge

Bringing communities together and waging war on waste was the idea behind London's first community fridge.

Now, thanks to the power of Crowdfunder, dozens of people have got behind The People's Fridge, and a humble dream to help society's most disadvantaged is becoming a reality.

A think-tank made up of residents, food activists and traders at Brixton's Impact Hub came in from the cold to discuss how we grow, eat and distribute food.

As they fought to stamp out food poverty and waste, by distributing businesses' spare food, they were shown a story about a food fridge in India - and the idea for The People's Fridge was born.

As soon as Wayne Trevor and a band of fellow volunteers launched the groundbreaking project on the Crowdfunder site, pledges began to pour in.

In just 28 days, 127 backers had got behind the innovative community scheme, inspired by incentives ranging from fridge magnets to tickets to the launch party and social media hashtags like #cooltobekind.

With quirky names like Top Banana, the Big Cheese and Fridge Magnate - which promised a photo of the donor with the fridge - rewards began to fly off the shelves.

And by the time the closing date came, the crowd had more than doubled the initial £1,000 target, to £2,270.

Backers were inspired by the project's simplicity: traders would put their surplus food into a big fridge, situated on the streets of Brixton; those in need would take it home and eat it.

Similar projects in Germany and Spain had already taken off, and The People's Fridge knew it could work in London.

"Tackling food waste in the borough is about joining up the people who need good food but can't afford it with the shops, restaurants and cafes who have good food at the end of the day to redistribute," said a spokesman for the project.

"The People's Fridge is about joining those groups up."

From a group of campaigners at the Impact Hub, based at Pop Brixton, restaurateurs, businesses and people passionate about food waste flocked to get on board.

Volunteers built a wooden frame for the fridge, designed by local architects Carl Turner Architects, and regular checks will be done on the food inside, to make sure it's in-date and safe to eat.

Part of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's War on Waste Campaign, the crowdfunded project now plans to do outreach work with food traders and involve the whole community, to encourage neighbourhood cohesion.

Shocking statistics show the average household throws away £700 of food every year, and that 1/3 of produce grown is never eaten.

It's this that continues to inspire the crowdfunded project.

"We want more fridges in Lambeth and beyond, providing support and materials to local groups to set up their own community fridges and food-sharing initiatives," the spokesman added.

The group now holds Open Project Nights every Monday at the Impact Hub, allowing backers to network, hold meetings and dream up new, successful projects.

But they say they couldn't have done it without Crowdfunder.

"It's brought old friends out of the woodwork," says Olivia Haughton, one of the volunteers.

"We really hope it's going to inspire others to start new fridge projects.

"Crowdfunder has been really great. The outreach support has been really lovely; we didn't expect to get such a personal service."