A TEAM of volunteers are giving up their time on Christmas Day to open a community fridge which provides surplus food free of charge.

Items collected from local shops, supermarkets and wholesalers, will include fresh, dried, tinned or packaged food that may have exceeded its ‘sell by’ date but is still within its ‘use by’ date.

Terri Leighs, director of Consett Community Fridge, said: “We’re really lucky to have volunteers who will give up their time on Christmas Day to open the fridge.

“Shops and supermarkets end up throwing away lots of food at Christmas, due to being closed for two days, so it’s brilliant that our volunteers will be on hand to collect this food on Christmas Eve and distribute it out to those who need it most on Christmas Day.”

The fridge, which is based at the Umbrella Community Centre on Victoria Road in Consett, operates all year round and opens three times a week.

Since April, the fridge has served over 1,500 people from the local community.

Thanks to £11,800 of funding, secured through Karbon Homes’ ‘Investing in Communities’ grants fund, the fridge is continuing to go from strength to strength.

Ms Leighs added: “The community fridge needed to move to a more suitable location earlier this year, and the funding from Karbon has been really valuable in getting us set up and integrated into the new venue.

“There’s a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes to keep an operation like this running smoothly and the Karbon grant has enabled us to take on a fridge co-ordinator, who oversees the operation and organises the moving around of the food and the volunteers.”

Karbon’s Community Connector Jess Wray, who has been working with the fridge, added: “This is a fantastic project and is making such a significant difference to the local people. It really does embody community spirit, and they’re the type of projects Karbon is always keen to support.”

The fridge will be open to all local residents between 1pm-2pm on Christmas Day.