Volunteers swung open the doors of a community fridge and got their waste-reducing mission off to a flying start. Run by environmental charity Hubbub, the Leytonstone Community Fridge was unveiled on Wednesday, July 17, near the underground station.

It is part of a UK-wide Community Fridge Network that has been chosen by the National Lottery Awards as one of the top lottery-funded projects in the past year. The aim is to reduce the amount of fresh food that ends up in the bin and it is open seven days a week between 12pm and 3pm.

Unlike food banks which operate on referral-based systems, the donated items are available to everyone in the community, regardless of economic situation.

Diana Korchien, Leytonstone Community Fridge coordinator, said: “Establishing the fridge has been an epic journey for Transition Leytonstone, lasting over a year.

“We couldn’t have done it successfully without the support of the Community Fridge Network, and local spatial designers, MadeWithVolume, who produced the stylish and eye-catching cabinet which houses our fridge.

“We’re off to a flying start, with new users every day, volunteering offers and more donors than the fridge can handle.”

The Leytonstone Community Fridge can be found outside Café de Montmartre, 34 Church Lane, and is stocked with edible surplus food from local businesses and households.

Two of the donors are local importers Odysea and The Felix Project, an organisation which fights food waste across London and redistributes it to charities.

They will shortly be joined by Sainsbury’s, so visitors to the fridge will be able to enjoy a growing range of fresh food, from fruit and vegetables to breads and pastries.

Food waste remains a huge issue in the UK, with £13 billion of edible food thrown away from our homes every year and a further £3 billion of food wasted by the hospitality and food service sector.

Trewin Restorick, CEO of Hubbub said: “Community fridges play a hugely important role in bring communities together to reduce food waste. “We are thrilled that the judges of the National Lottery Awards have recognised how valuable they are. “We’d love to get the support of Leytonstone and Walthamstow residents to give us a chance of winning the top prize so we can support even more communities.”

Organisers are calling on the people of Leytonstone to vote for the fridge in the National Lottery Awards.

The winning project will receive £5,000 and will appear on a BBC One awards show.