St Peter’s Social Supermarket Brockley by Anne McBride

On Wickham Road, in the heart of Brockley there is a stir on Wednesday afternoons – a new “supermarket” has opened – with a difference. It does not make a profit or try to sell you BOGOFs (Buy 1 Get 1 Free) – instead, the members are welcomed and offered a range of fresh and tinned food, toiletries and other essentials. The service has also been adding new “strings” to their bow, like weekly food demonstrations – what to do with a can of chickpeas? Make falafel using a handful of cheap ingredients! Or try a chickpea curry – members are able to watch a demo, taste a portion and take away a bag with all the ingredients to make at home.

Fontella, a member of the Social Supermarket, said: “It was very good seeing the cookery class because I normally don’t pick up the chickpeas. Now I know that you can make a nice dish with it. So what you do, you just make it the size of a meatball, then you add all your different spices and you eat it with bread and salad. It tasted nice.”

Anne Whyte, who leads St Peter’s Love Brockley initiative, is keen that the project allows anyone living in or around Brockley who’s suffering financial hardship to come and collect around £30.00 worth of food for a membership fee of £3.00. For those too unwell to collect, it can be delivered. “We’ve been really overwhelmed by the support here in Brockley. We’ve had people from every part of the community volunteer to deliver food parcels and donate food, as well as getting the Supermarket ready and staffed from Monday through to Wednesday afternoons. This wouldn’t be happening without everyone’s involvement so we are really thankful!”

Teresa, a volunteer at St Peter’s, comes on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. “I was walking down the road one day and someone from the church asked if I wanted prayer because I walk with a stick – then we got talking. If it wasn’t for this place, I don’t think I’d be here now. I had been “self-isolating” for more than a year now so Covid hasn’t affected me – I just realised that I hadn’t got the friends that I thought I had. But now I have lots. Some mornings, I have to make myself come in – it is hard sometimes but having people around that are nice makes a difference and I love to help out and put a smile on someone’s face. I get food for me and some for my neighbour, he looks after me as well. I’m a very quiet person. I had got so used to being on my own, I couldn’t really interact with people for a while. The cookery demonstration has been tremendous, the amount of people who now know what to do with chickpeas!”

G* from Brockley (* not their real name) has two young children and an older child. Photo shows birthday cake they made with flour given by St Peter’s Social Supermarket.

Some members have food delivered and one, G* from Brockley, says that the hardest thing to deal with has been the financial worry: “I’m sole carer for two very young children and an older child with a disability. It can make me feel really bad that I can’t support my children and the food scheme has really helped us. When I was unable to pick up because we were unwell, I was surprised both times by a lovely man appearing at the door, insisting that it was no trouble to deliver. The generosity and kindness has blown me away, helped me feel less stressed and do a better job of looking after them all. One of my children has food intolerances and we always receive things that are helpful. This week we loved the eggs, flour (used this weekend for the cake my eldest made and all of them decorated as you can see in the photo), sourdough bread, sweet potatoes and beetroot. I just want to say thank you. This helps me keep going.”

Marian – a Brockley resident for over 30 years – came to St Peter’s on the advice of neighbours. “I got here feeling really low – I broke down. Two ladies prayed for me. I can’t say enough good about this place. I sat down, had a cup of tea. My neighbours checked up on me that evening. It wasn’t about the food, it was about the company. I come every Tuesday now to support the cause – I sleep very well because it is quite physically tiring. I have signed up for a couple of courses run by the church. I knit, I sew, I garden – but I ran out of things to do. I live on my own. But I come here and I feel that I’ve had a very constructive day. I have got my little bit of shopping, now I’m going to go home and sit in my garden!”

We hope that these positive stories coming out of a crisis show our wonderful community pulling together and working to help one another, feeding folks and showing them how to make more of their food with easy cooking tips and ideas.

Anne McBride – volunteer

For more information about the St Peter’s Social Supermarket, visit their website or call 07405 136249 to request a food bundle.

To donate fresh or non-perishable food items, please come to the south entrance of the church building (Cranfield Road side) between 12.30 and 4.30 pm on Tuesdays. Address: St. Peter’s Church Wickham Road SE4 1LT. Website: For more information about cookery demonstrations, click here or email georgia@gcda.org.uk

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