GRANTS have been awarded to ensure Fordingbridge’s community fridge continues to be well-stocked to support those in need.

The National Emergencies Trust has partnered with Hampshire and Isle of Wight Community Foundation (HIWCF)to award Fordingbridge Greener Living £650 to support the work of its community fridge.

A spokesperson for Fordingbridge Greener Living group said: “Fordingbridge Greener Living group is delighted to have received this grant of £650 to help supply our community fridge and provide vital food and essential household items for vulnerable people in this area.

“The community fridge was one of the first of our projects to be up and running and the original idea was to enable food that would have been thrown away by retailers to be accessed by residents in food poverty.

“The coronavirus emergency has meant that many more families and older people are struggling to make ends meet and the food fridge has become a vital resource for so many more in the community.

“With this grant, we can ensure that if no food is available from retailers, we can always maintain a supply. It also means that we can buy in some essential personal and household care items as well as nappies and baby food.

“The grant will make a huge difference to so many people during this crisis.”

The community fridge is currently located in The Branch in High Street after being moved from Fordingbridge Library due to the coronavirus pandemic. There is also now a community freezer.

Jonathan Cheshire OBE, the chairman of HIWCF added: “We are delighted to be able to support Fordingbridge Greener Living Group in their work to help those in need in the local community.

"Local charities, community groups and voluntary organisations are providing a lifeline to those less fortunate, and it is heartening to see that these organisations can react so quickly and be so resourceful in the face of the coronavirus pandemic

"The vital services that these organisations provide are more crucial now than ever before but are under threat more than at any other time."

The Branch, which recently celebrated its first birthday, was successful in an application to Scottish and Southern Electricity Communities Fund and was awarded £2,100 which will be used to provide food for vulnerable residents and cover volunteer expenses while responding to Covid-19.

A spokesperson for The Branch welcomed the “amazing” news regarding the grant, adding: “ The Branch group of volunteers called the “Lights on” Team have really enjoyed working alongside Wendy Reid and Green Living team to ensure the community fridge stayed open during Covid-19; the fridge is available to anyone in the community who may need it.”

It also thanked Fordingbridge Town Council for its support. The spokesperson said: “We really feel apart of a wider community effort and can see so many people coming together to make real differences to peoples lives.”