By Juliette O’Loughlin, Member Pioneer Co-ordinator

On 30 November I celebrated my one-year work anniversary, having been a Member Pioneer for 11 months before taking on the role of Member Pioneer Coordinator. Two days before starting my new role, I didn’t expect to get a call to say that the new Community Fridge on my patch was to be used in this year’s ‘Christmas Advert’. Nor did I expect to be on a call with ITN at 9am on my first day being asked to feature in the advert myself (which by the way was our first ever LIVE TV advert! Gulp!) What an honour!

I’m sure you’ll have seen the Christmas Advert and join me in applauding Co-op for shining the Christmas spotlight on how people can use Community Fridges to redistribute food that would have otherwise gone to waste. But did you know that the cast (Dermot O’Leary and Big Zuu aside), were largely connected to the local area of Feltham where our 50th Community Fridge is based? We brought together staff from the Afghanistan and Central Asian Association Community Centre (ACAA), volunteers from our local Food share partner (and current local cause) – Food for Thought Heathfield, store colleagues and members of the public from the Feltham community. We all came together to shout about the importance of community.

I can’t praise the casting, filming, production and Co-op teams enough for the effort and expertise that went in to making this a success. Behind the scenes work went on for months to ensure that everything went to plan on the day. The atmosphere was electric, the ACAA was bustling with excited people, we enjoyed an amazing home-cooked Afghan Cauliflower Curry; if only you could have smelt it through your TVs! Both Dermot O’Leary and Big Zuu took time to chat with the cast and crew and clearly believed in our mission to eradicate food waste and the power of communities coming together for the common good.

I won’t mention how I fell over and spilt coffee down my hair 20 minutes before filming; good job it was the back of my fleece that featured in the advert! You can see my hair (without coffee) on the Co-operate website where you can also learn more about Community Fridges where people can share food, connect with others and learn new skills. You’ll also be able to see three ways in which you can support them this festive season through volunteering, sharing food or apply for funding to set up a fridge.

Everyone should have food on their plates this Christmas.