It’s a strange combination: Holdrons Arcade, sports massage and plastic-free pioneer; however these three topics sum up our conversation with Steve Sheppard from Holdrons Arcade’s Shep Sports Massage.

Steve qualified from the London School of Sports Massage six years ago and there begun the unlikely career change from recruitment into sports massage. Sports massage combines deep and soft tissue massage therapies to treat aches and pains caused by sports or work, and help clients recover from injury or prepare for an event. In 2015, his son was born, prompting him to look for a more permanent base, which is when he found Holdrons Arcade – an unusual setting for sports massage, but it works as Steve has been based here for four years.

“Holdrons has a unique character and I love being part of it; it’s a hidden gem. Lots of my clients have never ventured here before their appointment. Many are surprised by what it has to offer.”

Holdrons is a fluid space that’s always evolving but the vibe always remains the same, with community is at its heart. The nineteen Holdrons residents are entrepreneurs and, because of their close proximity, they share customers; someone coming in for vintage clothes might find themselves being introduced to a DJ live on air or the owner of a CD shop.

“Different business have come and gone over the years but I’m glad the Arcade has kept its diversity. One of the best things about this job is getting to know clients and I’ve landed on my feet here as there’s such an interesting array of people.”

But sports massage isn’t all that Steve has been focusing on recently. Having been environmentally conscious for a while, he was introduced to Laura from Plastic Free Peckham and was this year awarded their Plastic Free Champion; an award created by Surfers Against Sewage.

“They’re a volunteer group of local residents working to help people in Peckham live with less single use plastic. They work with small local businesses, give talks at local schools and work with community groups and Southwark Council towards a culture of less waste.”

“Most people seem to make an effort at home but it’s harder to stick to their principles in the work environment. It’s not about being perfect, but anything that helps make the environmental impact of the supply chain a serious consideration has to be a good thing.”

“In my own business it has been relatively simple to remove single use plastic. Laura visited me in Holdrons and carried out an audit. The toughest challenge was finding a supplier of massage lotion, but this turned out well when I discovered an all natural wax by Songbird that comes in compostable packaging and is actually better than what I was using. (It’s alarming that the word compostable isn’t recognised by Google – we still have a long way to go). I’ve also started offering green tea to customers who bring a cup. This helps ease the transition from that relaxed, spacey post-massage feeling to the hustle and bustle of Rye Lane. Also, if it encourages bringing a reusable cup out more often, then great. Swapping wet wipes for a cloth and spray was easy, as was bringing in my own cutlery.”

Steve can be found in Holdrons Arcade. For info and to book please go to

Steve offers a 10% discount for Copeland Park workers.

Plastic Free Peckham
Surfers Against Sewage