FIFTEEN years ago, Ames Pilkington was involved in an accident that left her disabled and turning to drink.

But now she is turning her life around and is helping hundreds of families in need in Warrington to get food on the table.

The Hapi Hub project has given Ames a ‘new focus and allowed her to transform her life’, having previously been reliant on alcohol and overweight.

Through the scheme, free fresh food is offered to struggling residents for four ‘community fridges’ - based at Orford Community Hub, Fearnhead Cross Youth and Community Centre, Whitecross Community Centre and St Margaret’s Community Centre.

Warrington Guardian:

Ames Pilkington with the community fridge at Orford Community Hub

Food from supermarkets that is past its sell-by date but still fresh and would otherwise go to waste is put to good use through the community fridges.

And ahead of Christmas, a new community luncheon club has been launched by the Hapi Hub - with produce donated able to make a two-course meal open to all in need for only £3.

Liz Cotterill, community colleague at Asda Cockhedge, supported Ames to first set up the community fridges in summer 2017.

The town’s three Asda stores have donated food, with Liz also helping her to access produce from charity FareShare.

She said: “A little over a year ago, Ames rang me to ask what Asda did with their food waste and to ask if we would donate to her project.

“The idea was to put communal fridges in various community centres where supermarkets could donate food, allowing members of the public to access the fridge and take fresh food in times of need.

“Once the first fridge was in place we supported Ames to access FareShare, then our store and the stores in Birchwood and Westbrook began to donate fresh produce each month.

Warrington Guardian:

“Ames is a real character and extremely hard-working.

“She genuinely wants to make a difference to the local community - she’s a true community legend, inspiring and full of kindness.

“We’re lucky to have people like her.”

Ames also thanked Liz for her help in establishing the Hapi Hub scheme.

She added: “Liz has helped me for the last couple of years and her support is absolutely immense.

“She’s kept me grounded, she’s kept me informed and she’s even helped me to grow as a person to get the Hapi Hub to where we are now.

“I can’t speak highly enough of the help she’s provided.

“Liz goes above and beyond, and we’ve really become close friends.”

Warrington Guardian:

Liz and Ames