Opening of Community Pantry in Mansbridge, Southampton

A COMMUNITY Pantry reduces waste and provides good food – with just a £1 membership fee.

The non-profit organization Round About Café on Westfield Corner in Mansbridge showed off its new addition on Monday after a five-week refurbishment.

The community is at the heart of the café and the staff and volunteers were keen to support community members with an alternative to the food bank.

community pantry at the Round About Cafe in Mansbridge” alt=”Daily Echo: The new community pantry at the Round About Cafe in Mansbridge” class=”editor-image”/>The new community pantry at the Round About Cafe in Mansbridge

Cafe supervisor Nigel Powney said: “During the first lockdown there was a food bank here and we were getting over 30 food parcels every week.

“From there, we knew there would be a need for food, so we continued to give away free food on a table.

“We were handing out food, for free, from FareShare and we kept going. There was a need and people kept taking it.

Daily Echo: Round About Cafe, Cafe Supervisor Nigel with the new community pantry in MansbridgeRound About Cafe, Cafe Supervisor Nigel with the new Community Pantry in Mansbridge

“We wanted to see what we could do to improve that, so we closed the cafe for five weeks and did a full refurbishment and introduced the pantry.

“The more people who sign up, the more we can increase the amount we receive from FareShare and do more to reduce food waste. It’s really exciting.”

As of Monday, 31 people have already signed up for membership, which costs just £1 a year.

Customers can then choose either 10 items for £3.50 or 15 items for £5, and anyone with an SO postcode can join.

Stephanie Dutton, community investment team leader at Abri, which supports the cafe, said: “We know this is an area of ​​low income and poverty, and it’s about bridging the gap between a food bank and the community.

Daily Echo:

“We’re reducing that stigma of going to a food bank and customers feel a little more worthy.

“It’s really about getting our name out there and we hope more people will come and use the pantry. We want to open it up to everyone in Southampton and when people come to get their food they can meet some other people and even voluntary.

“It opens up that social element.”

Customers can download a membership form from abri.co.uk or visit the cafe to sign up.

Norma P. Rex