The first community fridge for High Wycombe has officially been launched in a bid to cut food waste and help those in need.

The High Wycombe Community Fridge, which is at Oakridge Baptist Church, will be open from 9.30am to 4.30pm on Mondays and Thursdays and residents and businesses can share surplus food.

Anyone who needs it can help themselves to quality food that would otherwise be wasted by shops and families.

The fridge is run by the Women’s Cultural Arena, which brings together women from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds to support one another and promote cultural exchange.

The group will welcome donations of unopened, packaged foods within their use by date or raw fruit or vegetables.

As well as reducing food waste, the group will use the fridge to strengthen community bonds, as a hub for food education and to promote the benefits of sharing.

The fridge was officially launched by High Wycombe mayor, Cllr Sarfaraz Khan Raja, last Monday - and councillors, supermarket representatives and those from the Christian, Muslim and Hindu communities joined the event.

It was supported by environmental charity, Hubbub, and enabled by a grant from the Rothschild Foundation.

Shanthi Priyalatha, from Women’s Cultural Arena, said: “Community fridges are a wonderful concept and we’re delighted to be hosting the first for High Wycombe.

"All our visitors are welcome to get involved, whether by giving or receiving food or by giving their time, sharing skills or perhaps running an activity such as a community dinner or cooking class.

"The WCA is uniquely positioned to support cross-cultural households within the community to use the fridge in a way that is free of stigma and promotes the exchange of culture, skills, friendship and time, as well as surplus food distribution.”

Also known as ‘Solidarity’ or ‘Honesty’ Fridges, community fridges have been successfully introduced in Spain, Germany and other parts of the UK.

There are currently 35 open across the UK, which on average redistribute half a tonne of food per month.

Tessa Tricks, creative partner at Hubbub, said: “Community fridges are a brilliantly simple way of using up quality fresh food that would otherwise go to waste, whilst making a positive impact on the communities that host them."