The Around Again Social Supermarket and I Can cafe is addressing food poverty and the health inequalities between North and South Solihull, where there’s a 10-year difference in male life expectancy. We got in touch with project co-ordinator Phyllis Bailey, an old friend of C2 who we met in 2011 at a C2 residential learning programme in Exeter, to find out how it works and how it has developed


Around Again Charity is working in partnership with Colebridge Trust and have developed Around Again Social Supermarket based in North Solihull. Both organisations wanted to address the imbalance between parts of the North of the borough and parts of the South.

How could an area have some of the most affluent people in the UK and at the same time some of the poorest. Life expectancy is vastly different – by more than 10 years for males.

A symptom

Food poverty is a symptom, but it is very real and we wanted to give people the tools to come out of poverty by supporting them with low-cost food whilst offering support with money advice, volunteering, employment support, however, employment is often the end of a difficult journey for those that are long-term unemployed.

Tools and support

We wanted to give people the tools to come out of poverty with low-cost food whilst receiving support with health and well-being supporting the whole need of the individual. We aim to address the multiple barriers that people face, both directly and indirectly for specialist interventions such as addiction, money advice and domestic abuse.

We are waiving our voluntary contribution model, which usually requires participants to register for support and commit to volunteering locally. We are giving out food and essential items to people that need it most… families with children, elderly, people with disabilities and those suffering from mental health-related issues.

I Can cafe

Through supporting members it was identified that many members experience social isolation and as a result the ‘I Can’ cafe was set up – named by attendees we offer tea, coffee and biscuits/cakes. Some attendees like to chat, some like to knit and do crafts and some like to play board games and we even have two attendees who like to sing. This is why ‘I Can’ is so relevant because they have the choice to participate and make new friends.