HUNDREDS of families have been helped by three ‘community fridges’ offering free fruit and veg to residents in need.

Foodstuffs that have passed their sell-by dates are donated to the fridges by supermarkets as part of the Hapi Hub project, with items that would otherwise go to waste offered free of charge.

First established at Orford Community Hub on Festival Avenue, further community fridges have since been established at Fearnhead Cross Centre and St Barnabas’ Church of England Primary School in Whitecross.

Recovering alcoholic Ames , who set up the Hapi Hub project in summer last year, said: “After I had gone through Pathways I needed something to do, and I wanted to teach children how to cook.

“I used to weigh nearly 30 stone, and because I’ve had to learn to cook healthily I wanted to get my cooking out there.

“This was my platform, but I didn’t anticipate that this would take off in the way it has.

“It’s just sky-rocketed, so much so that we’ve now got three fridges in Warrington.

"Jamie Oliver set up something similar in Southend, and if he can do it then a few women together can too.”

Ames is hoping to run cooking classes for residents in the future, with recipe sheets also available at each community fridge.

Discussions to set up further fridges at the Roy Humphreys Centre in Longford and Meadowside Community Primary School in Orford are currently ongoing - with Tesco, Asda and Lidl donating supplies to the project.

The fridges help to supplement the work done by food banks, where produce is often tinned.

Ames added: “I want to teach people how to put together a stir fry or to show them how easy it is to make a soup out of a butternut squash and a couple of onions.

“But I never thought it would grow this quickly - in the first three months, we helped 200 families per month.

“Since then, its grown from 250 to 300 families a month at Orford Community Hub alone, and now we’ve got the other two fridges up and running as well.”