New community fridge for Creggan Country Park in Derry
Creggan Country Park has launched their new community fridge, a new initive to get ‘Creggan Connected’
A community fridge is a social space that brings people together to connect, learn new skills and reduce food waste. Creggan Country Park received £5,000 to grow their environment programme to benefit people and the planet, funded by The National Lottery Community Fund and IKEA ‘Places Called Home,’ and supported by The Department for Communities.
No registration is required, and food is collected and redistributed on the same day. Visitors can go for a walk, bring along a reusable bag and just take what they want from the fridge and shelves during its opening hours.
Community fridges help tackle climate change at a local level as food waste can produce large amounts of greenhouse gases. In just three days, the community fridge has saved 250kg of carbon dioxide and distributed 78kg of surplus food.
The community fridge is also a social space. Visitors to the park can relax after their walk, enjoy a free cup of tea, refill their reusable water bottle, and find out what services are available in their area. Posters from community groups and other organisations are on display so that visitors are sign posted to the right place and get the help they need. Children can play with toys and games, read books from Creggan Library or take on a puzzle challenge. The space will be used as a base to deliver free environmental events throughout the year including Dawn chorus, Bat Walk, ‘Painting Nature’ classes, Nature Therapy, climate change and biodiversity talks, and planting pollinator pots. Eco ‘freebies’ will also be available throughout the year too.
A community fridge is not a food bank, instead it aims to bring people together, reduces food waste and takes action to help the planet at a local level. Representatives from the National Lottery Community Fund, Department for Communities, project leaders from St Joseph’s Boys School, local schools, community groups, volunteers, partner organisations and businesses attended the official launch of the project in March. The Community Fridge officially opened its doors on April 6 and will be open on set days/times every week. Creggan Country Park’s Facebook page is updated as soon as a food donation is collected, so keep checking this regularly.
Karen Healy, Environmental Officer at Creggan Country Park said: “We are excited to grow our environment programme further so that it can help both people and planet. We would like to say a huge thank you to the six students from St Joseph’s Boys School, our volunteers, and our artist Sheila for all their hard work over the past few months. This is their project, they designed it from scratch, and did all the work themselves. Looking at the amazing transformation of the space just shows how hard they worked, and they should be very proud. We want to use the space to raise awareness on climate change and biodiversity issues that affects us all, and would like to extend our thanks to everyone who made this possible.”
Amanda Doherty, from The National Lottery Community Fund said: “We’re delighted to see the opening of this new community space at Creggan Country Park. This has been a massive community effort and I’d like to pay tribute to everyone
including the pupils from St Joseph’s Boys School who have made this possible. It is so inspiring to see local people working together to help each other and take action on climate change. Well done to everyone involved.”
Eimear Montague, Northern Ireland Resources Network said: “Creggan County Park offers activities which supports the local community as well as promoting environmental projects. The opening of Creggan Connected by the team at Creggan Country Park with support from volunteers to expand their work and open a Community Fridge is a fantastic initiative. This project will prevent food being wasted and sent to landfill, tackles climate change at a local level, enables food to be shared, improve lives and strengthens the local community. Many congratulations to all involved.”
For opening times and updates visit www.creggancountrypark.com, Creggan Country Park on Facebook, Twitter: @CregganCountry1 or Instagram: @CregganCountryPark18