This will be a trial opening from 10am to noon, then there will be two more trials the following Tuesday and Friday before an official opening on Saturday, October 9.

Ben Cox, vice-chair of the charity and an Uckfield town councillor, said the aim is to smash stigma of poverty – which is hidden and high in Wealden – and also cut food waste.

“The community fridge – which is based in a converted shipping container next to the Luxford Car Park – is for the community and by the community. I love the project because it’s a simple idea but also it truly is for all in the community,” he said.  stock will be combination of what is donated to the fridge by Tesco and Waitrose Fareshare, and what the public bring.

He said: “The exciting and nerve-wracking part is we will never know day to day what we will get, so will advertise this on the morning on our Facebook page.

“We have some lovely winter squash gifted from Standen National Trust garden, and we are liaising closely with other keen gardeners and allotment holders, so watch this space as we grow, and the food grows.”  There are rules about the types of food that can be donated. Fruit and veg and packaged food, always given before its use-by date, is gratefully received.

Ben said: “I’m feeling excited and nervous. Who thought it would be a good idea to set up a business with no profit, not idea what your stock will necessarily be day to day, and be reliant on both volunteers’ time, and the public helping to empty the shelves each day.  But they are tried and tested systems and we know the Uckfield community will hep us.”

Organisations which have helped get the project off the ground are named on one of the fridge doors but Ben said thanks in particular must go to the town council for its support right from the start, Thorne Group for helping with ground works and for obtaining a shipping container during the pandemic when they were scarce and much sought after.

Ben said the fridge group was also grateful to Uckfield Foodbank for sharing its project coordinator, Lorraine Kirkwood who sits on the fridge board of directors ensuring the two organisations compliment the work of each other.  He said: “We are very proud to have had work carried out by Uckfield Men’s Shed, Brighter Uckfield, and even Uckfield College students who held an in-house competition and will soon be painting the outside of our container with their interpretation of Uckfield Community Fridge.

“It’s not just college students. Even younger students ar getting involved. Blackboys school have kindly agreed to forage their garden, raid their cupboards, and look through their own fridges for surplus food for their Harvest Festival offerings next week. These gifts will be donated to both Uckfield Community Fridge and Uckfield Foodbank equally.

Looking ahead

Looking ahead Ben said: “We hope to become a staple within the town for everybody. Somewhere welcoming to pop in, have a chat, give food or take, no matter who you are or what your circumstance is.

“There are so many ways we can diversify in the future, dependent on what the community would like, but for now our goal will be to have empty shelves by closing time.  However, fear not, failing this we have some very excited pigs at South Brockwell farm who will benefit from anything we haven’t been able to redistribute to people’s dinner table. This ensures that we complete the loop and take the food back to nature.”

This article was shared from