Bicester Community Fridge ‘Unsung Heroes’ recognised by MP

Volunteers at Bicester’s Community Fridge have been recognised for their hard work and dedication during the difficult lockdown period by their local MP, Victoria Prentis.

The project, which started back in October 2019, has been delivering small food parcels to households across the Bicester area – reaching approximately 100 households at its peak during the pandemic.

The fridge is hosted by Bicester Community Support Service on Launton Road in Bicester and is one of a network of fridges in Oxfordshire, two of which are hosted by Oxfordshire County Council at community support service sites. They are all run voluntarily.

The project also received funding from Cllr Lawrie Stratford as part of the Council’s Councillor Priority Fund, which forms part of Council’s commitment to supporting local communities across Oxfordshire

While the project was originally set up as an environmental cause, the team have found themselves focusing on supporting families who are self-isolating, shielding because of their age or health condition, or who have now found themselves without income during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Bicester’s Member of Parliament has recognised the work of the voluntary team by presenting them with an ‘Unsung Hero’ award, which seeks to recognise the work of those who have gone above and beyond during the outbreak.

Lucy Stanton, Business Manager at Oxfordshire County Council’s Community Support Services was delighted by the award: “the entire team has gone above and beyond to support those that need it most. I am delighted that they have been recognised for their tireless efforts.

“We all work for the project on a voluntary basis, and what is great is that the council’s Bicester Community Support Service has been very supportive of the fridge and have been fab hosts to us.”

“We are approximately supporting 250-300 visits a week from people who are coming to use the fridge. Demand has skyrocketed since COVID19 and we don’t see this ending, particularly when the furlough scheme ends.”

They work with food sharing schemes such as Fareshare, Co-op foodshare and Neighbourly to work with local stores, individual companies and distributors to donate their unsold food or surplus foods, when they have it, to prevent food being wasted.

More information about the project, including how to get involved is available through their Facebook page.