Pecan June 2023 Newsletter

Photography by Julia Hawkins

Welcome to our June Newsletter

Welcome lovely supporters. Can you believe that we are halfway through the year already – but what a year it has been so far!

You have been amazing in your support – we have enjoyed welcoming you into our Together space, loved seeing the creativity expressed at drop-ins and Creative Writing sessions, and of course we have appreciated all the generous fundraising activities. 

Now that the sun has started to shine, don’t forget to pop by and see us. We want to be able to put on even more exciting opportunities in Together but can only do this with you. We need volunteers to help deliver some of our sessions including someone willing to facilitate a Postnatal Group, craft cafes and help people with online life admin. If you have a few hours a week available and would like to volunteer with us, please do get in touch, we would love to hear from you. 

In this month’s newsletter, we talk all about Together at Pecan which includes an interview with our amazing Employment Support Manager, Gbemi. Also, find out more about our free community projects from Viola, the Together Manager. 

Please do get in touch to let us know what you think about our newsletters and/or if you have any news you would like to see featured here. 

Fundraising Update | A BIG Thank you to ...

Big Give: From 15-22 May we were part of the Big Give match fund campaign and we raised £3,470. This campaign raised essential funds to help Pecan to continue providing crucial mental health & wellbeing support in Southwark through our Community Hub – Together, Women’s Service & Food Projects plus vital wellbeing support to staff & volunteers to reduce burn out & secondary trauma. 

Ford Ride London: Well done to the Holy Rollers aka Robert Montague, Jervis Rhodes, Andrew Gould and Ashley Seager. They had a great ride in the sunshine last Sunday, and we are happy to say that they exceeded their target of £2,500, raising £3,040 for Pecan. 

We really appreciate all their hard work and determination. 

JAGS: James Allen’s Pre-Prep Parent’s Association hosted a party and fundraising event for parents/carers and raised an amazing £7,839. Thank you for your support and choosing to support us.  

Image: Annabel from JAGS with Deborah Hayman-Nkhoma, Head of Services at Pecan.

Main Feature | Community

Together at Pecan

This month we interviewed Gbemi, our Employment Support Manager, on her work and its purpose.

Photography by Matt Gonzalez

‘It’s not just about a job, it’s about everything as a whole.’

Employment Support

Employment support is a service that provides help for people seeking employment. But Gbemi recognises that clients often require more holistic support. 

Gbemi: Every client is different; every client faces different barriers. Employment support is not just about helping people find employment, it’s about identifying and helping people to overcome the unique barriers they face. If these issues are not solved, people won’t be able move forward and seek employment.  

Gbemi’s appointments provide a safe and non-judgmental space for clients to explore the problems they are facing.  

Gbemi: Clients will come in and say, ‘I am looking for employment’, but after you sit with them and start the discussion, you realise there are so many issues, that often need to be addressed first, for example problems with housing, personal issues. I let clients realise that they are not here to be judged, they are here to be listened to, and supported.  

'... at Pecan they will look after you, your wellbeing, and your mental health. For example, I have some clients who are retired, I refer them to Together, because they are looking for community, a chat.'

Gbemi’s role also involves contacting agencies such as housing and benefits, being an authoritative and knowledgeable voice to help clients get the best out of these services. 

Gbemi:The way I talk [to agencies], it helps people access certain support. 

And she also supports people who have different employment requirements. 

Gbemi: We have parents who only want to work between 10am and 2pm… so we look for employers who can be flexible with that. 

Finally, Gbemi also makes sure her clients are aware of other services provided at Pecan. When she gets to know a client’s story and the help they might require, she refers them to the appropriate service. 

Gbemi: Different departments provide different help, at Pecan they will look after you, your wellbeing, and your mental health. For example, I have some clients who are retired, I refer them to Together, because they are looking for community, a chat. If my clients are struggling with loneliness, I refer them to sewing class (held at Pecan by Southwark Every Woman). 

If you would like to access our Employment Support service, please contact 

Together at Pecan

Photography by Julia Hawkins

‘Together at Pecan provides a warm, safe space for people to meet up and enjoy being home from home.’

We also heard from Viola, our Together manager, about the services it provides. The inspiration behind the name Together is to promote inclusivity, togetherness, and friendship.  

Together at Pecan provides a warm, safe space for people to meet up and enjoy being home from home.  It’s a place you can meet people, take part in activities, or just sit and enjoy a hot drink. Everyone is welcomed and is treated with kindness

'... it’s nice to just get out of my house and be among other people.' - Together visitor

Together is also a one-stop space where people can access support through Pecan’s projects, including Employment Services, the Pantry, Foodbank, and Woman’s Services. If more specialist help is needed, we will happily signpost visitors to another appropriate service. 

Our sessions include:

Monday 1 – 3pm: Café drop in 
Tuesday 11.30 – 12.30pm: Lively discussion group 
1 – 3pm: Drop-in and Games Café 
Thursday 10am – 12pm: Craft Café
Thursday 1-3pm: Life skills café (come along to get help with life admin and form filling) 

Together Events:

Thursday 8 June | 12.30-2.30pm

Techie Tea Party a drop-in hosted by Hill Group on specific dates, where you can get help with technology such as setting up a new phone or creating an email address. 

Creative Writing

We are currently hosting a creative writing workshop on Fridays, which concludes 16 June. 

Together News

The Together project also produces the quarterly publication “Together News” which includes employment advice, jokes, quizzes and more. Together News | Spring 2023.pdf 

Together aims to be a space that the community can really own, and so if you have an idea for an activity that could be delivered there, please get in touch. 

If you are interested in volunteering or would like to become a member of Together, then do contact us for further information on Tel: 020 7732 0007. 

Oyster Day out, May 2023

Food Services

Southwark Foodbank

In celebration of Volunteers’ Week, we want to say an extra special thank you to all our volunteers. Volunteers are the lifeblood of our food bank. We could not do what we do without them, nor would we want to. 

We asked Kevin, one of our brilliant warehouse volunteers, why he chose to volunteer with Southwark Foodbank.* “I needed help from the foodbank about 3 years ago with food parcels as I was struggling financially, and I was treated with such respect by the people there it made me feel like giving something back, so I started to volunteer in the warehouse and have done ever since.”

*Quote from May 2022.  

Asda Food Drive

From Thursday 1 June – Wednesday 7 June, coinciding with Volunteers’ Week, Southwark Foodbank will be collecting donations in Asda Old Kent Road as part of the Trussell Trust’s nationwide Asda Food Drive. Supported by volunteers and corporates, the Asda Food Drive is an exciting opportunity to collect much needed stock from generous shoppers as demand for our services continues to increase.

JUNE | London Bridge Collection

The next bucket collection at London Bridge Station will be on Thursday 15th June, 7am-10am. If you’re passing through the station that morning, please come and say hello! 

Felix Film Festival | 5 June 2023 

Celebrating local heroes and community resilience 

For this year’s National Volunteers Week (1–7 June) The Felix Project is holding an all-day community event in Peckham. 

  • WHEN? 5 June (all day) 
  • WHERE? Peckhamplex Cinema (95A Rye Ln, London SE15 4ST) 

Southwark Foodbank Fundraiser and Social

Drink & Draw at Grove House Tavern, Camberwell: Social activity to meet new people and fundraise for Southwark Foodbank – £8 General | £6 Students | Free for +65s and Universal Credit . Next event Monday 12 June, 7pm 

A Southwark where everyone can afford the essentials 

We have formed a community action group with people who have used our foodbank and Peckham Pantry and are meeting monthly to build a local campaign for ‘A Southwark where everyone can afford the essentials’. To get involved with our community organising activities, please contact Flora, Community Engagement Officer.   

At Southwark Foodbank and Pecan, we want to see a future where none of us have to rely on emergency food, because we all have the money for the things we need. This is why we are supporting the Trussell Trust’s and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s campaign to ‘Guarantee Our Essentials’, calling for a stronger social security system. You can read more about the campaign and take action now by emailing your MP here

No child left behind 

Pecan has signed up as a part of the ‘No Child Left behind’ campaign asking the government to make free school meals available to all children.  The first ask is that this becomes part of the primary education offer, as it is in Southwark already and then to be rolled out to secondary schools. 

We believe that with a good healthy meal every day at school all children’s development will thrive in school and life.  If we consider food to be as important an ingredient for education as teachers and books, then it is essential that it is free for all.  Pecan’s CEO Chris Price said: ‘ I hope that in 25 years’ time people will look back and say – did we really used to pay for school meals in the past?  They just need to be part of the education offer.’ 

If you are part of an organization, please do encourage them to get involved.  There is a wealth or resources coming during the week of action from 24 June.  More details on how to sign up can be found here.

SFAA | Food Map Launch

Southwark Food Action Alliance (SFAA) had their food map launch (see here for the map) at the end of May. The launch was a great success, they got a chance to show the map, hear some feedback and projects who attended had a chance to network with each other and corporate companies. SFAA also had some inspiring speakers at the event, including Councillor Evelyn Akoto and London Assembly member Marina Ahmad.

Peckham Pantry

Peckham Pantry Steering Group is organising a monthly coffee morning outside Peckham Pantry on Peckham Park Road this summer. Come and join us for a cup of tea or coffee, some biscuits and a chat at our first coffee morning on Thursday 8 June from 9.30-10.30am. Looking forward to seeing you there and sharing a cuppa!” 

Women's Service

Migrateful chef at the hub lunch, Trin from SFAA and Flora our Engagement Officer enjoying lunch an Aleena and Paula from Change, Grow, Live who gave a short talk about their service.

Migrateful at the Hub Lunch

At our May Monthly Hub Lunch we welcomed Migrateful, who provided an amazing spread. Migrateful is an organisation that runs cookery classes led by refugees, asylum seekers and migrants struggling to integrate and access employment. Their mission is to empower and celebrate refugees and vulnerable migrants on their journey to integration, by supporting them to run their own cookery classes.

Personality Disorder Talk 

On Tuesday 23 May Kathleen, Women’s Service Mental Health Advocate, gave a talk on Personality Disorder. This included the symptoms of diagnosis, who can diagnose, how people feel about the diagnosis and the small steps you can take in your life to manage the diagnosis.  Fifteen women attended the talk and participated in the discussion, and they all said they found it to be really informative.  There was a lot of discussion around self-care, dealing with anger, and behaviours that can escalate a situation. 

To find out more, read our April Newsletter feature.


Volunteering Opportunities

Community events and useful links

Photographer: Mike Barnett
  • Peckhamplex  | We are heading towards the summer term and our local cinema, Peckhamplex is screening the much-awaited Little Mermaid and also Rye Lane is still being screened. So make sure your visit Peckham’s much-loved cinema. To see their listing and film times, visit:

    When you visit, don’t forget you can support Southwark Foodbank as our posters in the venue have a QR code that links to Southwark Foodbank’s donation page.


  • Art Installation at Peckham Rye Station | Wednesday- Saturday 12-8pm, Sunday 11am-5pm
    Sarah Sze’s installation has taken over a disused waiting room at Peckham Rye Station. Entry is free and the exhibition runs until September 17th.
    Location: Old Waiting Room at Peckham Rye Station, SE15 4RX Find out more 


  • Free exhibition: Found Football Difficult | 31 March- 18 June
    John Costi’s show explores themes of life and loss through sculpture, sound, scent, and personal archive.
    Location: Fire Station, South London Gallery 82 Peckham Road, SE15 5LQ Find out more 

  • Repair Café Nunhead | Last Saturday of each month 10am-1pm
    Bring your broken belongings to be mended by a team of volunteer fixers with specialist skills and tools. Enjoy a hot drink whilst you learn basic repair skills. Free or voluntary donation.
    Location: The Green Community Centre, 5 Nunhead Green, SE15 3QQ  Find out more | Contact: 


  • Peckham Festival | 15- 17 September
    Peckham Festival is a free celebration of creative and cultural Peckham, held across galleries, former factories, warehouses, multi-storey car parks and beneath railway arches in Peckham. This year the theme is identity. Find out how to get involved here 

  • Nunhead Art Trail | 23 – 24 September
    The Nunhead Art Trail is an exciting opportunity for local artists and crafts people to show their work in their own homes, studios or public venues in Nunhead. The deadline to complete the registration is 15 June 2023. Find out more and register here | Contact: 


  • History project: One Picture My Story | 24 March- 23 June
    A photo and oral history exhibition sharing stories from Southwark’s Black heritage communities.
    Location: Canada Water LibraryFind out more  | Contact: 


  • You Matter to Us | 9 May – 17 July
    Elim House is a registered charity and leading daycare organisation for the elderly, based in Peckham. It is running a new initiative bringing together community voices, residents and young people to explore ways to decrease loneliness in our elders. 
    Location: Elim House Day Care Centre, 86 Bellenden Road,  SE15 4RQFind out more  | Contact Us

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