Find a Partner Organisation
You may be an individual or perhaps you work in a charity or local community group? Either way, partnering with a legally registered organisation to lead the Community Fridge in your local area will make things much easier for you!
While you may have a number of organisations
and individuals wanting to support your
Community Fridge, for the purposes of public
liability insurance and managing finances,
you’ll need to choose one legally registered
organisation to lead the project.
Your Fridge can then be included in this
organization’s public liability insurance.
Organizations that have set up the existing
fridges have found this relatively straight
forward, and have been able to include the
fridge under their existing cover at no
A suitable lead partner organization might be your local community center, community group, a local food business, a local charity, supermarket, local authority, shopping centre, school, university or any organization that is passionate about the issue of food waste and is willing to help you overcome some of the administrative obstacles to getting your Fridge up and running.
The lead organization doesn't necessarily have to be involved in the day to day running of the Fridge and you can limit the host organization’s liability by taking responsibility for providing a professionally-run and clean fridge. Arrange a meeting with your local Environmental Health Officer as early as possible. They will be able to provide advice based on your needs and the site, and help you shape your guidelines.
There is further documentation available in the Full Guide that will help when meeting with local authorities
Select your Location
The location of your fridge is really important! Fridges need to be in a covered and
secure unit - whether this is a locker, shed, outhouse building or the foyer of a community centre.
Choose an area with high footfall and existing community activity.
Pick an area that has some level of
supervision, to minimise the chances
of misuse. For example an area with
someone working in the vicinity or
covered by CCTV.
Inside your Location
Consider what you could do with the area
around the fridge and how the space could
connect the community.
You may want to have space for:
- A freezer as well as a fridge, to enable
large amounts of surplus to be received
and stored for longer.
- An adjacent table with scales,
documents to record the fridge
contents (logging forms), comments
- Shelves for food items that don’t need
to be refrigerated, e.g. jars, bread,
potatoes and onions.
- Bins for waste packaging and compost.
- Wall space for information and resource
sharing e.g. a community noticeboard
and recipe pick up point.
- You could even consider a help yourself
Location, Location, Location
- Select an area that’s easily accessible
to all. Consider how you can
enable equal opportunity of access.
For example, consider any physical,
social or religious barriers when
choosing your site.
- It’s ideal if there’s a nearby site where
activities associated with the fridge,
such as cooking workshops or food
co-ops, could take place.
Build Local Support
Who you'll need to bring on board to make your Community Fridge a success:
- Local Authority (including Environmental Health / Health & Safety Officer).
- Local food retailers and supermarkets. This could include coffee shops, cafés, greengrocers, delis and bakeries.
- Community groups or charities that cook meals for local people.
- Local cookery schools.
- Food banks and local voluntary services.
- Local waste management facilities.
- Other food waste campaign groups (e.g. Food Cycle, Plan Zheroes, OLIO, Real Junk Food Project).
- Local press.
Engaging businesses to donate their surplus food can be challenging. Barriers include concerns over food safety, social value and potential impact on sales. Some businesses will only donate surplus to known charitable outlets, and are wary of food being freely available to the general public. Businesses that are part of larger franchises or chains either may not have the authority to commit or they may have pre-existing charity partners. Before talking to local businesses, consider the following:
- You’re offering a service to them,
reducing the amount of waste they
might otherwise pay to dispose of,
and helping them become ‘zero waste’.
- You’re providing businesses with
the opportunity to contribute to
positive social impact and support the
community. Try to connect them with
personal stories about how the fridge
is benefiting individuals.
- Building trust takes time, so be patient
and persistent. It also may take a while
to find the right person to speak to (the
key decision maker).
- Make sure you’re talking to other
beneficiaries of surplus food in the
area, so approaches to businesses
are ‘joined up’ and businesses aren’t
bombarded with requests.
- Offer to start on a trial basis if needed.
Agree on specific pick up days
- Leave a letter for the manager or
sending an email (see template letter
Recruit & Train Volunteers
Whether you have a paid co-ordinator or
not, you’ll still want a flock of volunteers to
support the fridge. Volunteer roles could involve
any number of the tasks set out in the job
description, in particular:
- Local outreach for donors.
- Collection of food from donors and
logging items into the fridge.
- Fridge cleaning and monitoring.
- Local fridge promotion.
- Organising events and fundraisers
to support the fridge and the local
- Social media.
Useful documents in the Resources Pack:
A template volunteer letter. Sharing
details of the fridge and the commitment
you are looking for.
- A ‘Staff and Volunteer Handbook’. An
editable handbook which includes useful
information for those helping out with
the fridge once it’s set up. Do feel free
to edit this to make it specific to your
- A volunteer form. Includes an outline
of tasks and how often they need to be
- A rota and contact sheet. For logging
volunteer, staff and host site contact
Alongside the volunteer handbook, all staff
should be given an induction session and
training. Training will help volunteers feel well
equipped for any challenges faced when
managing the fridge and should help to increase
In your induction session you may want
- The story of your fridge – why and how
was it set up, and who by.
- Information on key stakeholders – eg.
supporting local organisations.
- How the fridge and/or freezer works
and how to fill in the associated
- The health and safety precautions.
- The cleaning schedule.
- The messaging of the fridge – purpose,
tone and audience.
- How the fridge is marketed locally
and on social media.
- Measurement of the impact of
- How they can feedback on the fridge’s
running, report incidents or suggest
There are lots of issues to consider regarding the ongoing management of your Fridge
The Full Toolkit provides detailed advice on the following issues:
Health and Safety
Giving to the Fridge
Maintenance and Ongoing Monitoring