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Business & enterprise

Southwark Pensioners’ Centre project wins for cross-generational cookbook

780x440 King's Civic Challenge-Southwark Pensioners' Centre

‘Can you remember a day when you couldn’t speak to anyone at all?’

‘More than a million older people in the UK say that they spend over a month not speaking to a friend, neighbour or family member.’

The team from Southwark Pensioners’ Centre started their presentation with these questions. They highlighted that for many older people who use the Centre, loneliness is their daily lived experience.

Just over one third of service users say that they are lonely and isolated, with older people from the borough’s Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) community particularly affected because they say they feel disconnected from British culture.

‘Our goal is to reduce loneliness and social isolation in Southwark,’ said the team.

And what better way to do that than through food. And not just any food, but food that encourages people to share stories about their culture.

Cathy Deplessis, Director, Southwark Pensioners’ Centre


In their pitch the team highlighted research which shows that participating in social activities helps to reduce loneliness and social isolation. They will now use their prize money to fund ten interactive cooking classes and storytelling workshops to bring together older BAME communities and young people from Southwark.

During each session, pairs of older and younger residents will come together to create foods from their cultures and share stories about their lives. The project promises to bring people together across the generations to create tasty, healthy, cultural food while researching heritage, art and culture and sharing stories.

The recipes and stories will be showcased in a cookbook highlighting the diversity of Southwark, with proceeds invested into future cooking programmes at Southwark Pensioners’ Centre.

The panel were really impressed by this unique idea which brought together different parts of our community. This is one that champions diversity and can also able be scaled as well.

Councillor Johnson Situ, Cabinet Member for Growth, Development & Planning at Southwark Council

The team hope to eventually sell the cookbook in local and potentially national retailers. 


Lydia Ango and Cathy Deplessis, Southwark Pensioners’ Centre with Melissa Co (PhD in Health Services & Population Research), Elyse Couch (PhD in Health Services Research) and Harriet Yayra (MSc Global Mental Health), Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience; Ahlam Mutahar Muthanna (MSc Clinical Dermatology), Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine






Other winners

Health & wellbeing

Health & wellbeing

Awarded to Carers' Hub Lambeth and the Cardinal Hume Centre in Westminster