Hailsham community scheme works to stop food waste

A new charity has formed in Hailsham to work to try and stop food waste.

‘Pass It On (In Your Community) CIC’ (PIO) was founded by Zoe Prior, Lin Palmer and Karen Mariner to help residents end food waste.

PIO uses James West Community Centre in Brunet Drive to house a fridge and freezer to collect surplus food at the weekends from 10am-12pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

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At the moment Ms Prior collects surplus food, including supplies from surrounding supermarkets, and donates it to the community fridge in Hailsham East Community and Children’s Centre which is a Sussex Community Development Association funded project. This centre is open on weekdays from 10am-4pm so this new work from PIO with the James West Community Centre means there is somewhere to collect surplus food seven days a week.

Hailsham community scheme works to stop food waste (Photo by Peter Summers/Getty Images) SUS-221005-132221001

Food in the community fridge is available to everyone and isn’t means tested.

Existing community fridge projects in Hailsham will soon be supplemented independently by PIO at the James West Community Centre on Saturday and Sunday mornings, details of which will be announced and an official opening will take place in the coming weeks.

Ms Prior said, “As prices continue to increase and more families need help, we are finding that people are using community fridges much more.

“I find that, although we are helping many families, it is the working people that cannot get to the Hailsham East Community Centre when the fridge operates from there.

“This is why I felt that setting up a weekend fridge would help many more people - and having it at the James West Community Centre would spread the help across the town.”

“Having a community fridge reduces food waste and surplus food, whilst saving our environment.

“So, if anyone has any tins or packets in their cupboards that are in date and unopened that they are not going to use or have surplus vegetables from an allotment then please bring it down to share with the community and take what you need whilst you’re there.

“I’m grateful to the town council for allowing us to use the James West Community Centre for this important community project.

“Hopefully this will be the first of many projects that PIO will be involved with. There are many excellent charitable organisations in Hailsham and I hope we can work together to bring people of all ages together and make a difference in our community.”

Mickey Caira, deputy town clerk and business enterprise manager, said, “The community fridge idea continues to gain momentum all over the country and are a platform for sharing surplus food within a community to reduce food waste going to landfill.

“They are not means tested, are open to all and differ from the vital role food banks play - but offer a complementary provision.

“It’s great to see that many supermarkets and retailers are only too pleased to see surplus food items – such as bread, meat, fruit and vegetables - go onto people’s dinner plates as opposed to being consigned to the bin.

“Hailsham has a great community spirit and people here certainly look out for each other and by working together, we can all do our bit towards reducing the amount of food going to waste.”

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