The Pepper Pot Centre

6 September 2017

Food is at the heart of West London’s Pepper Pot Centre. Each day at 12.30pm chef Marcia serves up a meal made from FareShare food to the Centre’s members, who are aged between fifty and ninety-four.

80% of those that attend Pepper Pot live alone and some of the men, who are not used to cooking, rely on microwave meals. The daily lunch ensures that they eat a nutritionally balanced meal five days a week, while sharing food with friends helps combat loneliness.

With many members from the local African and Caribbean communities, Marcia adds a Caribbean twist to each meal, and her signature dish of Caribbean stewed chicken, rice and peas is a favourite. Diabetes and high blood pressure are prevalent so lunch is low in salt and sugar, while Health Promotion Co-Ordinator, Carla Alao, teaches simple recipes that members can replicate in their own kitchens.

An older man smiles to the camera with a bowl of vegetable stew, made out of surplus food, in front of him.

Sustenance and socialising

It’s about more than the meals though. The Centre is a home from home for many and the social aspect helps members enjoy their old age. Russell Lambert, Pepper Pot’s Outreach Officer, told us “Food is a social thing, it gets people together. We’re like a family.”

Besides a daily meal, Pepper Pot offers everything from crafts, tai chi and yoga to dancing and dominoes. Specialised care is also provided to those needing medical assistance, something that they are able to do thanks to the money they save by using FareShare.“We reinvest the funds we save into the day to day running of the service ” explains Russell. “The money we save goes into survival and ensuring the Centre stays open as long as possible.”