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People who Matter: Anita Rowcliffe - 'Beating heart of the South Grove Community Centre'

Anita Rowcliffe Barwick has been nominated as the local hero for this week’s People who Matter edition, for her contribution towards the lunch club for HELP - Homeless, Elderly and Lonely people. 
Guests enjoying their Monday meal at the Lunch Club organsied by Anita Rowcliffe

Anita has been running a lunch club every Monday for just over a year now, for the vulnerable people at the South Grove Community Centre in Woodston. She has been nominated by Amanda Hedge and her co-volunteers who help Anita with the meal. 

Each Monday, any guest who comes to the lunch club is treated to a fully home-cooked meal. For many people in the community, this club has become a ‘lifeline’. Apart from food, she even gives away toiletries, clothes and food every week which makes a real difference to people in need of support. People even take away any extra food left over for the next day. 

She started off with organising a Christmas meal in 2018 and has now made it a weekly activity at the centre. About 70 people come to enjoy the food cooked by Anita.

While nominating Anita, Amanda Hedge said: “Anita never serves anyone food she wouldn't serve her family and she treats everyone who walks through the door as her guests. No matter how busy she is, Anita always stops to check on every member of the lunch club and make sure they have everything they need, and she can always put a smile on people's faces. She is the beating heart of the South Grove Community Centre.” 

Speaking to Peterborough Matters, Anita said: “This is so sweet, but I can’t take all the glory myself. I couldn't do it without the lovely volunteers who give up their valuable time to the club. Help with serving the food, washing up dishes. It’s a team effort. 

“It’s wonderful to see so many people each week. And the great thing is that it’s so diverse. All the people from different communities- be it the elderly, the homeless, the vulnerable - no matter who they are, they all sit and enjoy the meal together. For example, the old ladies say they come just so that they can have a chat and eat with other ladies at the club. 

"I am pleased I started this club. I started with a Christmas meal and then made it a regular thing. We have gone from serving just eight people to about 70 each Monday. I don’t think there are a lot of clubs like this in Peterborough- where you can have a sit-down full home-cooked meal. 

"I also have to say the South Grove Community Centre has been fantastic. They have been a big support to us since day one and without that I don’t think I could have carried on this service.” 

For anyone who would like to attend, the Lunch Club operates every Monday from 11:30am at the South Grove Community Centre in Woodston. 

If you have local heroes in your community and would like to nominate them, just drop us a line at 


87594955_10222086247167796_6030664804102832128_oMenu for a Monday meal at the Lunch Club