BRANCH LEAD STORY Cheltenham COMMUNITIES ENVIRONMENT Environment LEAD STORY LIFESTYLE Local NEWS

How this fridge is helping Cheltenham turn green

A new community fridge in Charlton Kings hopes to bring communities together and fill bellies not bins. 

Planet Cheltenham, an independent environmental charity, is collaborating with Vision 21, the Co-operative, and Cheltenham Borough Council.

Raechel Kelly an organiser of Planet Cheltenham says that they want to provide people with  warm filling meals. 

“Rather than food going to waste which we know creates lots of carbon emissions. The community fridge model tackles that by taking food that would be wasted, placing it in a communal fridge which everyone in that community has access to.” 

“Then anybody and everybody can take the surplus food out of that fridge. It’s solidarity not charity. It’s not a food bank where someone has to prove a need to access that food.” 

According to the Guardian, each year, households in the UK waste 4.5 million tonnes of food worth £14 billion that could have been consumed.

Planet Cheltenham is a local environmental charity trying to engage the public, businesses and local authorities, in efforts to make the town more sustainable. 

Kelly says the group intends to open two more community fridges in Cheltenham, one in Coronation Square and the other in St Pauls. 

Raechel Kelly at COP26

“We’re looking to build on good stuff that’s happening already locally. We’re not going to be parachuting into everyone’s neighborhood to be like ‘this is what we’re doing and this is what you should do’”.

“Actually, there’s plenty of good stuff happening around Cheltenham but people don’t necessarily know about it.” 

The organisation has also purchased a property in St Pauls in collaboration with Vision 21 to promote sustainable living in the community.

Dave Entwistle, an organiser of Vision 21 said: “We’re going to use it as a community project to show people how they can help save the planet by doing what they can do in their homes to reduce their carbon.” 

Planet Cheltenham and “Eco-anxiety”

Planet Cheltenham also holds youth sessions for 16 to 24 year olds at the School House Cafe in St Pauls. 

Raechel Kelly says that young people feel the burden of the climate crisis and its contributing to a rise in eco-anxiety. 

According to a 2020 survey of child psychiatrists in England, more than half (57%) see children and young people who are distressed about the climate crisis and the state of the environment.

Students from the Balcarras Academy

For information about Planet Cheltenham visit their page here. 

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