Community Fridge News

The Ash Vale Community Fridge and Ash Villages Food Parcels Project team have some great news this week! We will be receiving short dated items from the 2 local Co-ops on Saturdays going forward, saving even more good food from being wasted. This is in addition to the donations we already receive regularly on Tuesdays and Thursdays. What a great way to stop waste!

If you’d like to visit the Community Fridge and pick up some free food to save it from being wasted, it’s open 24/7 in our Community Shed at The Chapel, Wharf Rd, GU12 5AY. First come first served. (Remember to update the red folder so we can track how much food we are saving from the bin!) please only take what you can definitely use, so everyone can share and nothing is wasted.

Got more than you need? You can also donate your own surplus food, as long as it is sealed in its original packaging, and in date (or fresh from the allotment!) Please update the red folder with date & weight when you donate, so we can track how much food is saved from the bin.

Did you know? From June 2023-December 2023 the Community Fridge alone saved over 1000kg food from being wasted! Thank you to everyone who uses the fridge, and to all our amazing donors and volunteers. 

Questions? Contact us on foodparcels@ash-vale.org.uk

Foodbank referrals: Please call our project manager to make a referral on 07730609446 

#CommunityFridge #AshValeCommunityFridge #AshVillagesFoodParcelsProject #EndHunger #StopFoodWaste #CoOpAsh #CoOpAshVale #Hubbub

Thank you – and please keep voting!

This is wonderful news! The local Food Parcels team would like to say a big thank you to everyone who voted for us recently on the Co-op Communtiy page! Your votes have helped us to raise £1,171.07 so far, to help feed local families in crisis.

Please keep voting! Every vote for St Mary’s means more funding for the Ash Villages Food Parcels Project. We need as many votes as possible before 24th October 2024, to secure further funding from the Co-op community fund for winter 2024. Please choose us as your local cause here: https://membership.coop.co.uk/causes/76829

Community Forum: Would you like to talk to the community team have your say? Co-op is hosting a community forum on 21st March at the Ash Parish Centre. Local people are welcome to join in and share their views. Book your place and join in to find out more by clicking on this link: Your local Coop Community forum for Ash and the surrounding villages (smartsurvey.co.uk)

Thank you for your support!

Ash Vale Community Fridge –  Our journey so far! 

(by Alex Sanderson and Carla Morson)

What a super morning we had on 21st June 2023 celebrating this new project!  We are delighted to declare the new Ash Vale Community Fridge officially open! This is a superb way to make sure that no good food goes to waste, and we hope all our friends and neighbours enjoy using it.  Ever wondered what goes in to a project like this? Here’s how the story unfolded…

One fine autumn day in 2022, our amazing Ash Villages Food Parcels Team, Chapel Project Team, and Chapel Kids toddler group were delighted to visit Ash Vale Co-op to celebrate the amazing support, delicious Fareshare food donations and vital community funding received from the Co-Op community team, and our 2 local stores in Ash and Ash Vale. We got chatting to Claire about food waste and mentioned wanting to have a fridge or shelving of some sort outside, so we could offer food to the community for more than just a few hours a week when the food parcels team are in the building. Amazingly, Claire had a contact, and knew of a Co-op / Hubbub Community Fridge network grant funding round that was closing in just a few days – fantastic!

With no time to waste, we sprang into action. First we got the go-ahead from The Chapel management team and St Mary’s, and started the application forms. With some super support from Patrick, who kindly handles the money side of things for our Food Parcels Project for us, we got the right documents submitted along with our Community Fridge application just in time. And then… Joy of joys! We were chosen to join the scheme, and received the funding in early 2023. With that, the search was on for a fridge.. that would fit in a shed.. that would fit in the space.. that would fit within budget… not as easy as it sounds, but we got there.

You can’t run a fridge on fresh air, so the next job was the electrics! Fortunately, Sacha from Sassy does it electrical was overseeing the Chapel’s electrical checks in the spring. Her team did a super job, so we invited them back to help us with an electrical supply for the community fridge. Their help and advice was invaluable and they did the job brilliantly. We even have an extra socket at the ready just in case we need heat or light in the winter.

Where there’s food there’s admin… If you’ve ever seen a Hubbub community fridge before, you will know that they are super helpful, providing signage, instructions, templates and pointers for every eventuality. We were very fortunate to have the amazing Viv on our team who kindly trawled through hundreds of pages of advice and instructions and made sure we didn’t miss anything important. Between us we completed the risk assessments, registrations, signage and other ‘setting things up’ tasks that go on behind the scenes. We even had Carla taking time out of a very busy schedule chasing up the insurance for us to get it all ready in time!

While the ladies busied themselves with the paperwork… the gents took on the practical challenges: We owe a big THANK YOU to Luke and his team who cleared away the weeds to make a clear space for us as part of their garden clean-up, and to Jeff who measured up and hand made the base for the shed and reinforced the floor, and to Steve and Alun who put up the shed, strengthened it, and bolted the Fridge down safely to make sure it stays where it is! We even have a lovely shelf, custom made, from a re-purposed kitchen top, so we can have swap-shop items and non-fridge items available in the community shed too.

The final piece of the jigsaw is of course the food to go in the fridge. This is where our food parcels team comes in – they will be the first regular contributors. These local heroes collect donated food from Co-op, Bookers and Tesco in the evenings twice a week. They use everything they can to go into the food parcels for local families, but sometimes they do receive things that will be out of date by the morning and can’t be frozen, or sometimes more of something than can be used in the parcels. They always try to make sure nothing is wasted, but it can be very time consuming making lots of individual phone calls. Now of course, having the community fridge is perfect – we can all simply pop the surplus in the fridge, snap a photo and tell our Facebook followers what’s up for grabs.

And then we launched! It’s hard to believe that all the hard graft has finally paid off and we can proudly say that the community fridge is officially open! The Co-op team are so amazing, they even came to celebrate the launch with us, bringing fresh bread and bananas to offer out to our first Community Fridge heroes! Rev Neil said a few words, and he, Carla and Claire cut the ribbon. Alex brought along some fizz and we all raised a glass (alcohol free of course!) to the project and all involved.

What does the future hold? It’s up to you! We hope that everyone locally will get into the habit of using the Ash Vale Community Fridge. Give what you can, take what you need, keep good food out of the bin… and please remember to fill in the sheet in the red folder so we can tell you how much food we have saved! We would love to grow this project, with more evening volunteers for more food collections, to put food in the fridge every night. We would love more volunteers to join the rota to check the fridges and help us to keep them shiny and clean. We will need some help raising funds for the electric bill once the initial grant funds run out, if anyone fancies becoming a regular donor or doing a sponsored challenge, give us a call. Feedback is always welcomed too of course, in person or you can phone or email. If you’d like to come and talk to us, Monday Chapel Café is 9am-12:00 in term time. Alex is there each week during the school term with Andy ready to make you a cuppa and give you the tour. Why not pop in and say hello?

Please join us in thanking these amazing local heroes, and see you soon at the fridge!

Alex & Carla

Project Manager’s phone: 07730 609446

Location:The Chapel Project, (former methodist church) Wharf Rd, Ash Vale, GU12 5AY

Our hall of fame… so far! Send us your photos of visiting, using and supporting the Community Fridge! Photo of the red folder – remember to log your food in and out! Patrick doing the electrics…. Steve and Alun putting up the shed… Jeff who built the base and reinfoced it, and has been part of the food parcels team for 3 years! ….Photos of the Launch Day with our friends from Co-Op….. Photos of the fridge in action…. Photos of the Food Parcels Crew who add items to the fridge… Photo of Rosie and Paul who collect donations in the evenings…. Send us your photos to add to the gallery! Love to everyone! xxx

Picnic and Play 2022

By Alex Sanderson (Project Manager)

We have had the BEST summer at The Chapel this year. It has been so lovely to be back with Picnic and Play, enjoying the activities and meeting friends old and new. Thank you to everyone who helped, donated and supported, and all who joined in and made it such fun! It was a wonderful community effort, with volunteers from local churches and the wider community coming together to make it a lovely summer for all.

The theme for August 2022 was The Seaside and we had our own “beach” with 850kg of sand to play in, and paddling pool to keep cool in the heatwave. Thank you to everyone who helped with that – it was a huge effort to prepare the garden and shift all that sand, we so appreciate your help!

We had wonderful help from the New Way Christian Life Fellowship team to clear the garden, and more volunteers sorting out the safety gates, moving furniture and doing tip runs just to name a few! One volunteer did a sweep of the whole area and pulled up every nettle and bramble to make us toddler safe. What a hero!

The Art and Craft activities were lovely, thanks to our Artists in Residence Debi and Jono, and Revd Gina and her team from the local Methodist Circuit. There was everything from tie dye to paper chain octopus and from potato printing to portraits. ChapelKids have been working on grow your own food projects in the Summer term, and shared some of their gardening skills, with cress planting, bean sprout jars and pea shoots. (Have a look at the beans growing in the garden now – they are ready to pick!). Everyone enjoyed the disco too, especially the games that involved winning sweets – thank you DJ Martin!

Our feedback forms were of course full of…. the pancakes! As ever the most popular bit of the picnic every summer. Thank you Revd Neil and Charlie for these, they were delicious. A huge thank you also goes to Barbara and Kat who made the sandwiches and Julie, Elaine and others who helped stuff all the picnic bags. George and Heather were wonderful too, providing a warm welcome and a hot cuppa (or a cold lemonade on the hottest days!)

The community feel was so lovely, with families arriving early to help set up and staying late to help tidy up and clean. The generosity of donations was super too, with lots of items donated for the play area and a fantastic summer swap shop. It’s one of those times when the phrase “it takes a village” rings true, in fact a lot of us would count one another as family. If you are in the area next summer, some and see what it’s all about!

We must give a special mention to our generous donors, including the Co-Op whose community funding is helping to cover some of the costs to make it happen. We do receive some donations from those participants who are able to give towards the costs, which is important to keep us open, but having this support from the community fund and other generous donors means we never have to turn anyone away who can’t donate. Thank you Co-Op! (Do keep swiping your co-op membership cards in the shop everyone please for the community fund points!)

As we look to the Autumn term, there is lots planned for you to come and enjoy at The Chapel. On Wednesdays, ChapelKids is starting up again for the Autumn term. 11am-14:00 including a new Parenting Pod and Lunch Club as well as the usual Baby and Toddler Group. For more details phone or text us on 07730 609446 (or whatsApp or imessage)

If you would like to donate for the work of The Chapel we welcome donations all year round. Thank you for your support! https://givealittle.co/campaigns/8d80cd98-df9f-494e-9808-b8898744146f

Cast your Votes at the Co-op to support Food Projects at The Chapel!

By Alex Sanderson (Chapel Project Manager)

As most locals will already know, the Chapel Project on Wharf Rd is all about sharing Christ’s love through creativity, hospitality and worship. We welcome everyone, of all faiths and none. The Chapel is a joint initiative between the Hants Surrey Border Methodist Circuit, and St Marys Church in Ash Vale (more on our website here: www.ashvalechapel.com and Facebook @ashvalechapel). Now you can help us do more in 2022, through the Co-op ‘Local Causes’ scheme! https://www.coop.co.uk/local-causes

Continue reading “Cast your Votes at the Co-op to support Food Projects at The Chapel!”