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Happy Birthday REfUSE Café

Image of lit birthday candles

The environmentally-conscious REfUSE community café in Chester–le-Street is celebrating its 5th birthday this Friday (April 14th) - five years of producing nutritious meals from food that would normally go to waste.

To celebrate, the café has commissioned a new window painting by local artist Lisa Malia.

County Durham Green Party co-ordinator Fiona Shenton says: “We wish REfUSE every success on Friday night and for the future.

“It is exactly the sort of community- and environmentally-friendly venture that the county and the country need to reduce waste and make better use of the earth’s increasingly scarce resources.”

Since opening REfUSE has diverted over 500 tonnes of food from waste, enough to fill over 4,600 wheelie bins. They have served over 45,000 hot nutritious meals and made up 15,000 Waste Not Boxes of fresh food. The CO2 saved from stopping good food going to waste would be the same as taking 900 cars off the road.

Director Nikki Dravers says: “Converting a disused shop to the vibrant community hub it is now is such a fantastic achievement that has only been possible with the support of our community, and the hard work of our amazing volunteers. Food is much more than just fuel for our bodies. It is the social glue that brings people together.”

For further information about REfUSE visit its website at or watch their 2022 video Soul Food: