Managing your visitors 

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Welcoming your visitors

Community fridges are often a meeting place for everyone in the community. When you set one up, you'll see people from all walks of life dropping by. To make your fridge a place people want to visit it's important to anticipate and plan for the different needs of your visitors. One way to do this is by clearly advertising important information and guidelines using signs and posters, so everyone knows how to use the fridge.

Creating a safe and welcoming environment for all visitors is the goal. If any issues pop up, having a clear complaints policy can help smooth things over. Imagine yourself as a visitor or someone passing by who may not know about fridges or feel a bit nervous. How can you give them a warm welcome and make information easily accessible to make their visit enjoyable? Let's make sure everyone feels welcome and included!

Setting Clear Guidelines

Signs and posters: A clear poster with big, readable fonts about how the fridge works can be a great start. A simple step-by-step guide or a cute infographic can work wonders.

Symbols over words:
Using symbols can sometimes be better than words. A simple image of a hand picking up an apple or a smiley face can communicate universally.

Safety first, always:
 The fridge should feel safe for everyone. That means physically safe (no clutter, spills, or obstacles) and emotionally safe (no judgment, just kindness).

Complaints and concerns:
It's natural for some bumps on the road. Having a clear policy for handling concerns can make things easier. Display the process in a visible spot, so everyone knows they're heard.

Welcoming the newbies: 
There'll always be that first-timer who might be a tad bit hesitant.

Friendly ambassadors:
Have some regular volunteers who are great with people? Maybe they can play the role of 'Fridge Ambassadors'. They can give newcomers a mini-tour and answer any questions.

Informational leaflets:
A small takeaway leaflet with FAQs about the fridge, its purpose, and some fun facts can help ease someone into the community vibe.

Everyone’s Included! 
The best fridges are the ones where every visitor feels like they belong.

  • Language matters: If your community speaks multiple languages, consider having multilingual signs or volunteers who can communicate in those languages.
  • Accessibility: Ensure the fridge is accessible for everyone, including those with disabilities. This might mean a ramp for wheelchairs or tactile signs for the visually impaired.

Top tips

Feedback system: Instead of just having a complaints policy, introduce a feedback system where visitors can offer suggestions or point out things they love about the fridge. This can be a physical box placed near the fridge or even an online form if your community is digitally inclined. It encourages constructive communication and celebrates what's going right.

Children and pets: Provide guidelines on whether children can access the fridge without supervision, and if pets are allowed nearby.

Understanding date labels: Educate your visitors about 'best before' and 'use-by' dates to reduce confusion and waste.

Someone removing food from a community fridge.


A simple, friendly sign suggesting how much each visitor might take can help. Its helpful to remind people that even though its about reducing waste, it is a community project and therefore sharing so that enough people can benefit is important. Many groups use the "Take what you need, leave what you can" message. 

Approach with empathy. Most people might not be aware they're doing something wrong. A friendly chat usually helps. If issues persist, consider hosting periodic community meetings to discuss guidelines and address concerns.

This is dependant on each fridge and should be considered by each organisation's safeguarding policy. Many groups feel It's best if children are accompanied by adults for safety reasons, but that older children might be okay. Whichever you choose, ensure your guidelines are clear and displayed prominently.

This is a choice your group will have to make. Generally most groups prefer that pets be kept at a safe distance from the fridge to ensure hygiene and safety of others. However, many are also happy to welcome them as long as they're well-behaved and supervised.

What's next? 

Now its time to see what you need to do when preparing to launch your community fridge!