Priscilla’s Tea Room the story so far…..

The disused building and bus shelter at the front of Sanderstead Recreation Ground had been an unloved, unused building since 1997.

Mandy and Tim moved to Sanderstead in 2011 having already worked in the area since 2007.

Both with community and teaching backgrounds they set about enquiring what could be done to transform this derelict building into something more pleasing to the eye and that benefits the community in 2013

Opening their doors June 2014, as you look around the shop there is always something interesting to catch your eye, from the old newspaper advertisements for Fry’s Hot Chocolate, framed in reclaimed wood from Chichester hospital (which also has its own story) to the array of locally sourced and locally made products for sale.

With ethical consciousness the couple try where possible to sourced fresh goods with 40 miles including, eggs, jams, honeys, and fresh juices. Where they cannot go local, they try to go ethical, using Fairtrade tea and coffee as standard for hot drinks.

This Social Enterprise aims to employ local people part time to fit around their own circumstances and offers a route to employment to others who wish to gain experience in order to go into paid work.

With the focus on local at the centre of Priscilla’s Tea Room ethos Tim and Mandy are also spending time tracing where their products come from. They have visited the amazing St Joan’s Dairy Farm and met the cows and calves who will be producing milk for our delicious ice cream.

In July 2016, they rehomed 3 ex Battery Hens to give them a happy retirement and more in 2018 and you can buy the delicious eggs in the Tea Room. With community at the heart of Priscilla’s vision, they run a book club and a knitting and crafting club some evenings along with various children’s craft activities and pop up stall events for small local businesses to promote themselves. Priscilla’s Tea Room also supports several charities and with the help of their customers they have raised approximately £2000 each year, in addition to providing a platform for other charities and groups to raise money for themselves.

Tim and Mandy are extremely proud of what they have achieved and hope to continue to be at the heart of the Sanderstead Village for many years to come. With growth over the years, Priscilla’s quickly expanded to outside catering for parties, weddings, and sports events. In particular, they are the named caterers for Sanderstead Cricket Club since 2016 and Trinity Sanderstead Sports and Social Club since 2018 for sports teas and party catering. At the end of 2018, they opened Priscilla’s Play Café in the centre of Croydon at yet another disused site in The Whitgift Centre. And, despite the challenges 2020 have bought, The Corner House Tea Room and Charity Boutique opened with many restrictions in 2020. Priscilla’s Group Community Interest Company will be fully established in 2022 and umbrella the community projects involved in Education, Enrichment, Engagement and Empowerment.

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As a social enterprise, Priscilla’s Tea Room re invests money back into the community towards their core social aims:

  • Providing part time, regular work for local people

  • Increase Community engagement

  • Encourage greater access and usage of our green spaces

  • Promote shop local/use local ethos

  • Target social isolation

  • Provide platform for employability skills and experience

What is a social enterprise?

We get asked this a lot. In short it is a business whose social aims are at the core and are prioritised over profits.

A social enterprise is an organisation that applies commercial strategies to maximise improvements in economic, social and environmental well-being—this may include maximising social impact alongside profits or instead of profits. Social enterprises can be structured as a for-profit or non-profit, and may take the form of a co-operative, mutual organization, a disregarded entity, a social business, a benefit corporation, a community interest company, a company limited by guarantee or a charity organisation. They can also take more conventional structures.

What differentiates social enterprises from other organisations is that their social mission is as core to their success as any potential profit.

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