The Chill Factore indoor ski slope is being used as a giant fridge during lockdown.

The popular tourist attraction was forced to close its doors as the COVID-19 outbreak began and now it is being used to store tonnes of food which would otherwise go to waste.

Food being stored on the slopes is now destined for NHS workers, emergency services, schools and care homes.

The surplus food was originally destined for thousands of restaurants and hotels, which were forced to close earlier this year as the pandemic began.

The UK was said to be ‘within days of running out of cold storage capacity’ when bosses from the Chill Factore,  normally a place to enjoy indoor skiing and snowboarding, was approached.

The new initiative is an unlikely partnership between the venue and Company Shop Group, the UK’s largest surplus food redistributor.

Company Shop Group explained there is a pressing need for additional cold storage to give the flexibility required given volatile stock levels and uneven patterns of distribution.

The Chill Factore’s location is ideal for Company Shop, which has two superstores nearby in St Helens and Middleton.

The company added the food will ultimately be sold in its member-only superstores, which are open to people working in the NHS, emergency services, food manufacturing, and other key workers – those working on the front line of the fight against COVID-19.  

Morwenna Angove, Chief Executive Officer of Chill Factore said: “Throughout this unprecedented period, and with the temporary closure of our site, it has been really important to us that we do all we can to help the wider national effort.

“We are proud to be doing our bit by working in partnership with Company Shop Group, and of the fact that this food will ultimately be enjoyed by Company Shop members on the frontline of the fight against Covid-19.”

Jane Marren, Managing Director of Company Shop Group said: “Central to our offer at Company Shop Group is our ability to turn problems into potential.

“Chill Factore’s generous donation of storage space at its site is essential for ensuring that we can continue to support the industry to unlock the value in its surplus, and enables us to continue to keep our shelves stocked for the key workers and vulnerable families who rely on our support.”

Shane Brennan, Chief Executive of the Cold Chain Federation, said: “Company Shop is a truly innovative company with a can do attitude in everything they do. They have led the way in finding a sustainable solution to repurposing good food that would otherwise go to waste and now they have come up with a great way to put this facility to use.

“Of course we hope that Chill Factore can get back to its usual business as soon as possible but in the meantime their generous donation of space is going to make a real difference.”