A celebration was held on Friday 13 October to mark a decade since the Round About Café opened and included Abri‘s Group Chief Executive, Gary Orr, Ralph Facey, Abri’s Executive Director of Operations and Deputy Leader of Southampton City Council, Councillor Lorna Fielker, amongst other Abri representatives, partners, café volunteers and customers.
Ralph Facey said: “So much of our heritage and our present-day focus is about creating communities and empowering lives – and to me, this café is a strong demonstration of that. I always think about all the people who pass through the doors of the Round About Café, whose lives are changed for the better, and all the people who made this happen, who made real this vision of a café that is for the people, for the community of Mansbridge and beyond. I think this has been a real triumph, and a 10-year anniversary worth celebrating. So thank you, on behalf of Abri, to each and every one of you who’ve made the vision of this café a reality and a roaring success.”
To support the community with the cost of living, the Round About Café is home to a community pantry providing access to quality food at a fraction of the cost of supermarkets. Anyone with an SO postcode can join for just £1 a year; users shop once a week, paying either £3.50 for up to 10 items or £5 for up to 15 items, with all the food coming from FareShare.
To date there are 210 members, who have helped to save over 10,940 kilograms of food from going to waste and saved more than £27,800 versus the cost of buying the food at full price.
The café is a community space: as well as serving up delicious treats, it has run hundreds of events and initiatives since it opened in 2013 including household budgeting courses, growing and gardening sessions, Barista (coffee) training, mental health awareness sessions, a Level 2 Food Safety and Hygiene training course, energy efficient cooking courses, Christmas wreath-making, and a digital skills course to help build confidence on the internet. Over the last 10 years 1,818 people and counting have taken part in activities and training at the café, and volunteers at the café have now contributed over 27,000 hours of work to date.
Lorna Fielker, Deputy Leader of Southampton City Council commented: “I’ve represented the residents of Swaythling and Mansbridge for 5 years now and I know how much this café, right in the heart of the community, has made a difference to people’s lives. Mansbridge has high levels of loneliness and isolation, but this welcoming place makes people feel at home, they always find somebody to chat to and to spend time with when they come here. The café is a great example of Abri’s drive to help so many members of the community with the cost of living and I’m always impressed by just how many activities and initiatives are run at the café. I would like to thank Abri for their continued investment in this community, and the volunteers who give up their time week after week to ensure this remains a welcoming place for all the people who live here.”
The Round About café can be found at 12 Westfield Corner Wide Lane, Southampton, SO18 2LE and is open for refreshments Monday to Friday 8am-2pm. Many events happen outside of these hours so to find out more about all the goings on at the café, pop in for a cup of tea or simply visit roundaboutcafe.org or visit the facebook page here. To learn more about the history of the café you can read Community Development Officer Cara Headon’s blog “Me, Mansbridge & 10 Years of The Round About Café” right now on the Abri website.