A project is underway in Bideford to reduce food waste and help those unable to afford fresh produce.

A group of volunteers is looking to set up a ‘community fridge’ in the town, after being inspired by how the project by the charity Hubbub has worked in Frome.

The idea is that shops and individuals can donate surplus fresh food items, and then those who are unable to afford to buy these essentials can take what they need.

And in Bideford, any food that is not used up can also be converted into compost for use on some of the town’s allotments.

The average UK family is said to throw away £810 a year in food and drink, and there are now more than 50 community fridges across the UK working to combat this national problem.

Jill Rousseau, of Bideford, is heading up the volunteer group in the town, which had its first meeting on Thursday, April 11.

Mrs Rousseau said around 16 people turned up to the meeting, from various organisations including the district and town councils, Bideford sustainability group, and Bideford allotments.

“I’ve always hated waste and I think this is a brilliant thing to be able to do,” said Mrs Rousseau.

“There are a lot of people who can’t afford to buy fresh food, for all sorts of reasons.

“ And if we can help them and eliminate food waste, then I think that would be brilliant.”

Although in the early stages, the group is hoping the fridge might be installed in the town centre so it’s easily accessible.

Mrs Rousseau said they will also be looking to start crowd funding for the project, though how much they need to raise is not yet known.

“It’s all in the very early stages and really this meeting was about everyone who is interested just meeting each other,” she said.

“We really want to know what people think of the idea now, and what they want to see from it.

“I would urge anyone interested or with any suggestions to send me an email so we can make sure this is what the community wants.”

The community fridge initiative started in 2017 and in the first three months, more than 21,000kg of food was redistributed across 32 community fridges.

Anyone interested or who has any feedback can contact Mrs Rousseau on jillrousseau@btinternet.com.