The Pepper Pot Day centre was founded by Pansy Jeffrey to offer a culturally sensitive drop-in centre for recently retired, redundant or disabled members of the elderly African Caribbean community. The much-valued ‘home from home’ for settlers who had come from the islands of Antigua, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad & Tobago, the Bahamas and Belize was formally established under the auspices of the Community Service of The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Citizens Advice Bureau. The Pepper Pot keeps a community cohesive, happy and supported. The level of hospitality and service are very important for physical health and mental stimulation.
Back in the 1970s, Pansy, who was working at the Citizens’ Advice Bureau, heard tales of hardship faced by the early Caribbean settlers who had come to London to furnish the labour market in the 1950s and the 1960s and on retirement found themselves isolated and lonely in a foreign country. In 1981 Pansy and her CAB colleague, Bridget Davies, organised a lunch time soup and served it to the half dozen Caribbean pensioners who otherwise had not much to do and nowhere to meet their own counterparts. It was a very happy gathering fellow Caribbean’s enjoying a traditional meal and talking shop. Thus The Pepper Pot Day Centre stirred into life.
Word spread fast, gradually the number of pensioners outgrew the CAB office space and Pansy and her team began to serve lunch within the Westway premises. This arrangement continued with the help of the Greater London Council, and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. The Pepper Pot secured premises in Acklam Road and sufficient funding to furnish and equip them and to support a co-ordinator, a cook, a minibus and a driver so the pensioners could be transported to and from their homes, given a good lunch and entertained by a range of activities such as they still enjoy today. The focal point of those early years was a healthy balanced Caribbean meal, a place to reminisce together and a place to create handicraft.
1986 – 91
The Pepper Pot ethos is to enable and empower older members. Adapted vehicles allowed us to continue to promote their independence as our house bound disabled members will be able to access services, maximize leisure time constructively and enjoy their autumn years to the full.
1991 - 2000
Members shared their stories with the younger generations to ensure the legacy lives on through inter-generational work. The determination and perseverance of Pansy Jeffrey, Bridget Davies and Elizabeth Vice, amongst others is acknowledged when any funding of the project is consolidated.
The Pepper Pot Center moved to our current site, 1a Thorpe Close, Ladbroke Grove. The Royal Borough publicly endorsed our work in caring for the elderly and supported us with an annual grant.
The Pepper Pot Centre celebrated its Silver Jubilee Year. This represented 25 years of providing selfless and dedicated service, with an ever increasing range and quality to the elderly African Caribbean people for whom the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and other neighbouring boroughs are home. Celebration activities started with a visit to our Centre by her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
“In this Jubilee Year of Pepper Pot, looking back to 1981, the changes that have taken place in those 25 years have been quite astonishing! As Pepper Pot has grown and developed, so have attitudes to the needs of older people and measures to make their lives better and more comfortable have coincided with our own ‘greatly forward’ in terms of premises, staffing and amenities.” -Bridget Davies.
The Pepper Pot continues to broaden its membership base by encouraging members of ethnic minority groups, in addition to African Caribbean people to access the services we offer.
2015 - 2019
The Pepper Pot Centre enhances and develops its IT infrastructure to ensure that all users benefit from state of the art information technology with particular emphasis on maintaining independent living.