Our aim is to stop food waste and to redistribute the excess food from supermarkets, restaurants, cafes and suppliers to residents so the food is not wasted. We prioritise those most in need, but anyone can have the food for free from one of our community fridge locations or our van deliveries.
A light bulb moment…
We can’t bear to see good food go to waste.
A community fridge is a place where local people share good surplus food.
Mid Surrey Community Fridges (MSCF) exists to reduce food waste and make sure that surplus food is made available to anyone who can use it. We have four fixed Community Fridges and a ‘Mobile Fridge’ that goes to rural villages in Mid Surrey.
Where once supermarkets and manufacturers had little choice but to send perfectly edible surplus food to landfill at huge cost to the environment; now, community fridges provide a way to get that food to people who hate waste as much as we do.
We are one of the largest Community Fridge organisations in the UK, making available around 7.5 tonnes of food every week. Our warehouse in Dorking helps us smooth out supply and demand and our two vans allow us to collect from various depots in the South East and to reach people in villages.
We estimate that we make around £1.5 million worth of food available every year.
….leading to a force for good in our community
We are now run by a team of more than a 150 brilliant volunteers supported by our managers. As a Community Interest Company (CIC) we are a non-profit making company created to deliver benefit to the community. We are managed by a Board of Directors who have all the responsibilities of any commercial organisation.
We have grown very fast, particularly in the last year. Although we offer food for free or for a small donation, getting it to people who use it costs money. We spent around £80,000 in 2020, mostly on our warehouse and van running costs. Around one third of that amount came from our amazing supporters.
We also got a lot of ‘extraordinary’ government funding last year because of the pandemic. We know this won’t continue even though demand for what we deliver shows no signs of reducing so we are looking at how we can raise more funds.
Introducing our team of directors…
Chief Executive Officer
Ops & Finance Director
Health and Safety and Logistics Director
The original Dorking Community Fridge was first opened by Clare Davies and Tony White in September 2017, after they were moved to act when they saw an item about food waste on the Channel 4 Show ‘Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast’. They received valuable advice from the Hubbub Foundation on how to set up and run a community fridge.
Clare’s and Tony’s early ambitions were modest – maybe saving 5 tonnes of food in 2017 – and were quickly surpassed and they processed 35 tonnes in the first year! The first Fridge in Dorking Town Centre was soon joined by another in the Goodwyns area of the town with a community café attached, and another in Leatherhead. The first experiment in running a ‘mobile fridge’ to smaller villages proved hugely successful and now two vans visit four villages weekly.
Early 2020 and the Covid-19 pandemic saw MSCF moving to a doorstep bag delivery service, working closely with professional referrals and other local organisations. At its height we delivered over 1000 parcels, and over 10 tonnes of food each week.
We are ambitious for change and we have big plans for the future, including opening other Fridge sites.
More than that, we believe that good food plays an essential role in sustaining and strengthening communities. Our Café at Goodwyns, Dorking, provides a place where people can meet together over good, very affordable food and drink, but also source advice and support in other areas of their life. We are planning to start community cookery skills sessions and community cooking groups.
We’re a force to be reckoned with and we have only just begun!