Open Letter to Lee Waters MS

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Support Community Fridges Before Food Shortages Hit Wales

Open Letter and Call to Support the Community Fridge in Wales

24th September 2021

Dear Minister,

As a matter of utmost urgency, I ask that you help us expand our Community Fridge provision across Wales as soon as possible; a scheme referred to in the Welsh Government Circular Economy strategy. I have no doubt that you share our concerns about food shortages that are currently hitting Wales; a situation that will intensify this winter to the backdrop of an already frail jobs market as furlough schemes are phased out.

We have applied fourteen times to funds in Wales over a three-year period to expand Community Fridge and have been knocked back on each occasion. Only through our own wit and strategic alliances beyond Wales, have we been able to help Welsh communities at this time of need.

With a little bit of support from outside of Wales this summer, we made small sums go a long way and have earned our spurs, increasing Wales’s Community Fridge provision from 6 to 16. However, in that application process, we have been inundated with requests for support way beyond our target of ten new sites.

We now have an additional fifty community groups on our books, from all over Wales, wanting to establish a Community Fridge; a simple and yet effective means for householders to share their own surpluses with neighbours as well as from local SME’s who would rather donate in-date surplus food to their community as opposed to paying commercial disposal rates.

I call upon you to help us activate the additional 50 as soon as possible and further, to support us in getting up to a hundred, providing Wales-wide coverage ahead of all the serious problems that Wales will face.

On behalf of the fifty community organisations that we currently have no resources to move forward, we are speaking to industry for free fridges and to funders to cover our coordination. We currently have no finance whatsoever to provide the required package of support to the fifty or so additional communities on our books who desperately want support. As we have proven this summer, when we have the resources, we can make this happen.

Our plans, as the official agent in Wales, have been and continue to be the most cost-effective and beneficial in terms of best practice, legal requirements and coordinated supply of in-date food, development support, and exclusive agreements with UK suppliers.

Eifion Williams

CEO/Prif Weithredwr

www.circulareconomy.wales

07538 549951

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