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16 days of action against domestic and sexual violence

27 November, 2018 - 10:53

Merton launched its 16 days of action against violence, abuse and sexual assault campaign today (Tuesday 27 November) with the theme for this year, ‘Merton says No More’.

Cabinet Member for Children’s Services Cllr Kelly Braund and Cabinet Member for Community Safety, Engagement and Equalities Cllr Edith Macauley with partners and officers supporting the international campaign against domestic violence and sexual assault.

Working in partnership with Merton police, the London Fire Brigade and partners, the council hosted a flag raising ceremony. The special UK says No More flag will be flying from outside the civic centre for the 16 days. The campaign also features a packed programme of events, professional training and social media.

Launched on White Ribbon Day, a campaign to end violence against women and in line with the international 16 days against violence and abuse, the 16 days against violence and abuse and sexual assault will run from 25 November until 10 December. Its goal is to shine a spotlight on issues including not only domestic violence, but also child sexual exploitation, female genital mutilation, sexual violence and forced marriage. It also signposts people who may need help, to organisations that can support them.

People who experience domestic violence and abuse can visit the One Stop Shop. The drop-in service is open every Monday (except bank holidays) from 9.30am – 12noon at Morden Baptist Church and provides confidential support and advice from different agencies including victim support, and solicitors. Since it launched in 2010 the service has helped over 1,700 people.

Merton was the first London council to launch the Ask Angela initiative to provide a safe way for men and women to get the help they need if they feel threatened while on a night out in the borough. Bar staff have been specially-trained to help anyone who feels unsafe, get a taxi and leave discreetly.

Merton Council cabinet member for children’s services and council representative for action against domestic violence, Councillor Kelly Braund, said: “Merton is proud to be working with its partners to continue its longstanding support of the international campaign against violence and sexual assault. Our message is clear, Merton says No More to domestic and sexual violence – too many domestic abuse incidents go unreported, so we want to make sure that people know they are not alone and help is available all year round. In Merton, that is through our free One Stop Shop, Victim Support, the police or one of our excellent partner organisations.”


Notes to editor

  • The council has a specially trained victim support and domestic violence advisers who can help those in need and can be contacted on 020 7801 1777.
  • In an emergency, call 999.
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Support your local traders and firms on Small Business Saturday

26 November, 2018 - 12:44

The Leader of Merton Council, Councillor Stephen Alambritis, will be spending Small Business Saturday visiting traders across the borough.

Small Business Saturday, on 1 December, is a national campaign which encourages people to shop locally and support small businesses in their communities.

Councillor Alambritis will be visiting Babylon Restaurant in Raynes Park; Rock & Rolla Fish and Grill in Wimbledon Chase; Tariro Fair Trade Coffee House in Morden; the Pop in Café in Mitcham; Istanbul Meze Mangal in Colliers Wood and G Like Gelato in Wimbledon.

Councillor Alambritis said: “I’m looking forward to visiting local businesses across the borough and meeting the people who run them and work there as well as some of their customers.

“Merton is a business-like council and we want to support the local traders and firms which drive our local economy and make our high streets vibrant destinations. I would encourage people living and working in Merton to support their local businesses, particularly at this time of year when they are shopping for Christmas gifts.

“Merton Council is offering Christmas shoppers free parking in its town centre car parks on six dates in December. This is the seventh year running that there will be free parking in council-managed car parks to encourage Christmas shoppers to spend their money with local businesses.”

Notes to editors

Free parking will be offered in all the council’s car parks, except Coombe Lane Car Park in Raynes Park, on four Sundays – 2, 9 16 and 23 December as well as on Saturday 22 December and Monday 24 December.


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White Ribbon Day funding boost for victims of domestic abuse

23 November, 2018 - 15:32

Support for the most vulnerable victims of domestic abuse across Richmond, Wandsworth, Kingston and Merton has been given a boost this White Ribbon Day, thanks to a £483,000 government grant.

White Ribbon Day is the 25 November, a day designated by the United Nations as International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

Richmond and Wandsworth councils supported by Kingston and Merton have successfully bid for funding from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to continue the provision of an outreach service to support victims of domestic abuse who have multiple, complex needs that was due to close this December. The service, run by Refuge which currently supports victims in both Wandsworth and Richmond will now be extended until 2020 and expanded to cover Kingston and Merton.

SPEAR is a charity working with homeless people in South West London. They offer services to street homeless and vulnerable people, to enable them to find secure accommodation. The funding will allow the reinstatement of SPEAR’s successful specialist service supporting homeless women experiencing domestic abuse that ceased in April 2018.

REFUGE have worked in Richmond since 2011 providing high quality free, confidential, and independent support to people experiencing domestic abuse.

This funding will help Refuge further develop the outreach service working closely with a variety of current service providers including SPEAR, to support victims of domestic abuse across four boroughs.

The service will provide flexible, individually tailored outreach support for victims living in their own home and will work with SPEAR and other housing providers to support women with complex needs who are unable to access mainstream accommodation services because of their high support needs.

Merton Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Safety, Engagement and Equalities Councillor Edith Macauley said: “Joining up with Richmond, Kingston and Wandsworth has allowed us to secure funding and continue the provision of a much needed service. Far too many people suffer in silence because of domestic abuse and we are determined to put the needs of our residents first by committing ourselves to protecting the most vulnerable members of our society.”

Cllr Liz Jaeger, Richmond Council Cabinet Member for Community Safety, said: “Domestic abuse shatters lives and we are determined to ensure that victims always have the support they need to ensure their safety and the safety of any children. This new funding will help Richmond, Wandsworth, Kingston and Merton councils, provide the specialist support required to keep victims and their children safe and free from further fear and violence.”

Cllr Guy Senior, Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate Resources, at Wandsworth Council, said: “This funding will enhance the support and protection we offer to domestic abuse victims and is another good example of effective joined up working between councils in this part of south west London and our voluntary and charity sector partners. These services will support some of the most vulnerable members of our communities and help ensure that victims of violence and abuse can be given added protection from harm.”

Cllr Liz Green, Leader of Kingston Council and portfolio holder for Community Safety, added: “We are really pleased to be working with our neighbouring boroughs to provide additional services for victims of domestic abuse with complex needs.  The partnership will allow us to build on the success of the projects in Richmond and Wandsworth and to help support the most vulnerable victims of violence to be free from fear.”

Sandra Horley CBE, Chief Executive of Refuge, said: “This funding from MHCLG is hugely welcome news for Refuge and particularly for survivors of domestic abuse living in the Richmond-Wandsworth area. This critical service will now not only remain open until 2020, but will also expand to cover survivors living in Kingston and Merton as well, opening up life-saving and life-transforming specialist support to even more of those who desperately need it.”

Lesleigh Bounds, Director of Strategic Operations for Spear, said: This grant enables us to extend our women’s services and so deliver more benefit to women affected by homelessness, their families and the wider communities.”

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Faith in Action this November

14 November, 2018 - 14:38

Merton Council, in partnership with the borough’s Faith and Belief Forum are encouraging residents to take part in Interfaith Week from 11-18 November, to celebrate diversity in their communities.

On Wednesday 14 November between 7-9pm there will be an evening of scriptural reasoning, followed by a meal at The Salvation Army Hall in Morden.

A ladies coffee morning will be held on Thursday 15 November from 11am – 1.00pm at the Morden Islamic Community Centre. The event is organised by the Muslim Women of Merton and welcomes women of all cultures, faiths and no faith. Please note, this is a women only event.

On Sunday 18 November from 2-4pm, residents can take a tour of Wimbledon Mosque, the first purpose built Mosque in South London.

Interfaith Week is held in the third week of November to highlight the good work of local faith and belief groups and celebrate diversity in communities.

Merton’s cabinet member for community safety, engagement and equalities, Councillor Edith Macauley, said: “Interfaith Week is a time for us to come together to celebrate diversity in our community. I hope that this year even more individuals will take part, encouraging people of different faiths and no faith to socialise and strengthen relationships.”

For more information please visit the Merton website , contact an Equality and Community Cohesion Officer on 0208 545 4637 or email

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New family leisure centre opens its doors

6 November, 2018 - 16:23

Families in Merton have been making a splash in a brand new state of the art leisure centre.

Leader of the council, Cllr Stephen Alambritis and Cabinet member for community and culture Cllr Nick Draper outside Morden Leisure Centre.

The first visitors to Morden Leisure Centre were welcomed by the Leader of Merton Council, Councillor Stephen Alambritis today (6 November).

The brand new building, situated in the beautiful landscape of Morden Park, has a 25m x 13m main pool and slightly smaller second pool with a moveable floor, which will be used for a range of activities from shallow toddler sessions to diving. There is a studio / community room for classes and activities, a fully-equipped 100 station fitness suite, with state of the art equipment and a café with outside seating to serve dog walkers who use the popular park.

 Leader of the council, Cllr Stephen Alambritis, Cabinet member for community and culture Cllr Nick Draper, Director of Environment & Regeneration Chris Lee and Managing Director GLL Mark Sesnan

The leisure centre is fully accessible with a lift to both floors and accessible toilets and showers throughout. The pool pod is available for access in and out of the pools as well as a specialist ‘Changing Places’ room which includes toilet, shower, changing bed and hoist, for those that need it.

Mark O’Connor  from Morden was the first person to take a dip in new pool after winning a silent auction to take the first swim. Proceeds from the auction are being donated to the Mayor’s charities, Colour House Theatre and Friends In St Helier.

The council has built the new centre to replace the ageing Morden Park Pool, which was energy-inefficient and expensive to maintain. The project was launched with two principles in mind; maximum benefit from limited budget and making sure that every stage was informed by the needs of users and residents.

The centre will be managed by Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL), the company which currently operates Morden Park Pools, Canons Leisure Centre in Mitcham and Wimbledon Leisure Centre on behalf of the council.

Earlier today, Morden Park Pools closed its doors to the public for the last time. Work to demolish it will soon begin and the land will be restored to open space. Work to landscape the area and plant trees will begin once the demolition is complete.

Cabinet member for community and culture, Councillor Nick Draper said: “Today we are opening this fantastic new leisure centre which offers something for everyone, whether you want to improve your health and fitness or enjoy a family day out.

“The leisure centre has been designed around the needs and wishes of the community.  During the last year it has been incredible to watch the plans turn into a state of the art building with outstanding facilities and wonderful views across London.”

GLL Managing Director, Mark Sesnan said: “We are delighted to continue our successful partnership with Merton Council, as we open the new Morden Leisure Centre. Welcoming both new and existing customers through the doors of this new facility will be a very proud and exciting moment for centre staff.

“GLL is a charitable leisure social enterprise celebrating its 25th year in 2018.  We exist to deliver affordable, inclusive leisure facilities which improve the health and wellbeing of the communities we serve. Morden Leisure Centre will compliment this vision and deliver outstanding leisure provision to the residents of Merton.”

For more information, opening times and facilities visit the GLL website.

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A day of remembrance

31 October, 2018 - 17:34

Merton Council is to hold a number of commemorative events across the borough to mark 100 years since the end of World War One.

This year marks the Armistice Centenary and Merton will be playing its part in Battle’s Over, a unique day-long commemoration marking 100 years since the guns fell silent at the end of World War One.

Events will begin on Friday 9 November with the unveiling of a ‘Tommy’, a life-size silhouette soldier, which will stand inside the grounds of the Mitcham War Memorial. The unveiling, by the Mayor of Merton, will commence at 3.50pm next to the war memorial and will be followed by a 2-minute silence and music from the Veterans Choir. Residents are invited to attend.

On Sunday 11 November at 9am, remembrance services will be held across the borough. The Mayor of Merton, Councillor Mary Curtin, Deputy Mayor Councillor Geraldine Stanford and Leaders of all political parties will attend.

Sunday 11 November:

Nelson Health Centre, Kingston Road, Wimbledon

Starts: 9am

Attended by: Mayor of Merton, civic representatives and the Royal British Legion.


Mitcham War Memorial, Lower Green West, Mitcham

Starts: 10.40am

Attended by: Mayor of Merton, Deputy Lieutenant, Clare Whelan OBE, civic representatives and the Mitcham branch of the Royal British Legion.


Wimbledon War MemorialWimbledon Village

Starts: 10.40am

Attended by: Deputy Mayor of Merton, civic representatives, the Wimbledon branch of The Royal British Legion and the 210 Transport Squadron.

A special commemorative event will take place from 6.30pm (11 November) at the civic centre in Morden. Hosted by the Mayor of Merton, community groups and residents will come together, with the rest of the nation, to remember the end of the war and the millions who were killed or came home wounded.

At 6.55pm a bugler will sound the last post outside the civic centre. At 7pm the Mayor of Merton and Deputy Lieutenant will light a Beacon in a tribute signifying the light of peace that emerged from the darkness of four years of war.

Then at 7:05pm the civic centre will ring out with the sound of bells as part of Ringing out for Peace national tribute. Anyone attending the event is encouraged to bring along a bell.

The final two events will take place on Monday 12 November with services held in the following locations:

Merton Civic Centre, Morden

Starts: 10.50am

Attended by: Mayor of Merton and civic representatives.


Mitcham War Memorial

Starts: 10.50am

Attended by: Deputy Mayor of Merton and civic representatives.

Mayor of Merton, Councillor Mary Curtin said: “Remembrance Day is a time for the nation to come together to pay tribute to those who sacrificed their lives for this country. I hope residents will join us at one of the boroughs remembrance services to honour the brave individuals who are gone but certainly not forgotten.

“With this year marking 100 years since the end of World War One, I am also inviting residents to come along to the commemorative event on 11 November at the civic centre. This fitting event will play its part in the nation’s tribute and mark the day when the guns fell silent, with the lighting of a Beacon and the ringing of bells.”

For more information, visit the Merton website.


Notes to editor:

Organised by Pageantmaster Bruno Peek LVO OBE OPR, Battle’s Over takes place on Sunday November 11 2018, with events throughout the United Kingdom, Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, and at scores of locations overseas, including New Zealand, Ireland, Australia, Bermuda, France, Belgium, Canada, the United States and Germany.

Tommies are a near life-size silhouette soldier and are part of the nationwide campaign There But Not There – a poignant tribute commemorating 100 years since the end of the World War One.



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Voucher Scams

29 October, 2018 - 17:01

Merton and Richmond Trading Standards are urging everyone to be vigilant after a resident was conned out of £1,200 in a voucher scam over the telephone.

The resident fell victim when they received a voicemail from someone claiming to be from the HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). The message stated that the resident had an outstanding debt and that an arrest warrant had been issued. On calling the number left on the voicemail, the resident was advised that they could avoid court and settle the debt, by paying it off in PlayStation vouchers by 3pm that day.

The scammers convinced the resident to stay on the phone while they purchased vouchers from different stores. In this case, the resident lost £1200.

Unfortunately, such scams are becoming very common and come in all types of guises. The scammers are confident, convincing and at times ruthless. They rely on causing panic and instilling fear in their victims. In this instance, they made the victim think that they would be arrested, be sent to court or potentially go to prison, which led the resident to act quickly.

Merton Council’s member for community and culture, Councillor Nick Draper, said: “We advise residents not to trust anyone who phones out of the blue and asks for a bill payment of any sort to be settled by purchasing vouchers. Government agencies have strict guidelines and will not call you unexpectedly and ask for personal details, payments over the phone or voucher payments. If you are left a voicemail, ring the number advertised on the agency’s website to find out if the call was genuine.”

If you believe, you have been a victim of a scam or have concerns about a neighbour or a friend, please contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline: 03454 04 05 06 or Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

Merton Council’s Trading Standards team carry out regular talks in the borough to advise and warn residents about common scams. During these roadshows, tips on how to avoid being scammed and ways to protect yourself from fraud are provided. Please keep an eye out for adverts. Alternatively, you can contact the team on 0208 545 3025 to arrange a presentation. The team also visit groups or organisations that want to find out more.


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Merton foster carers honoured

25 October, 2018 - 12:33

A Merton couple were given the praise and recognition they deserve at an awards ceremony yesterday evening (Wednesday 24 October).


Hannah and Kojo Ntow receiving the award for Outstanding Contribution by a Foster Carer at The Fostering Network awards in London

Hannah Ntow, a former nurse and Kojo Ntow, a London bus driver received the award for Outstanding Contribution by a Foster Carer at The Fostering Network awards in London. The couple, who have fostered in Merton for nine years, were recognised for the dedication and remarkable care that they have given to the many children placed with them over the years. 

The awards, now in its fifth year, recognises people who make exceptional contributions to foster care, whether they are social workers, foster carers, or the children of fostering families.

 Merton Council’s cabinet member for children’s service, Kelly Braund said: “The role played by foster carers in our community is invaluable. I am very proud of Hannah and Kojo who have selflessly opened up their home to provided a secure, nurturing and loving environment to children who need it the most. Merton has some of the best foster carers in London, but we need more. If you think you could open your home to a child in need please get in touch.

 Kevin Williams, chief executive of The Fostering Network, said: ‘Hannah and Kojo are wonderful examples of sacrificial love. They are completely committed to the children in their care, even when that has a physical and emotional toll on them. Their faith is clearly important to them, as it is to many foster carers, and we need more people like them, from all faiths and none, to consider offering a loving, stable home to children and in particular to children with complex needs. We congratulate the Ntows on this thoroughly well-deserved award.’

Hannah and Kojo’s supervising social worker, Susan Harrisi, who nominated them said: ‘The Ntows have radically changed their lives for the little boy in their care, and have looked beyond his disabilities to care for the young child within.’

 A spare bedroom, patience, resilience and the ability to communicate and inspire children to form part of what’s needed to be a foster carer. More information on fostering is on the council’s website. For more information about fostering a child call: 0800 073 0874 or 020 8545 4070 or email




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Council wins order to close a brothel in Mitcham

23 October, 2018 - 16:23

Merton council and the police have won an order to shut down a brothel in Mitcham.

Merton Council’s Safer Merton team worked with the police to investigate complaints from residents about a property in Mitcham. They reported concerns about men acting suspiciously and visiting the house at odd times of the day and night. .

Further investigations revealed that the home was being used as a brothel, which led Merton Council to apply to Wimbledon Magistrates Court early last week, (Wednesday 17 October)  for a premise closure order for three  months under s.80 ASB, Crime and Policing Act 2014. The order was granted on Wednesday 17 October.

Cabinet member for community safety, engagement and equalities, Councillor Edith Macauley, said: “I’m pleased to see the council, police and residents all working together to take swift action to get this brothel closed down. I encourage residents to keep coming forward to report crime and play their role in keeping our communities safe.”



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Busy high street becomes 20 miles per hour zone

22 October, 2018 - 15:19

A busy high street has been designated as a 20 miles per hour zone to improve safety for road users and pedestrians. 

Merton Council, after consultation with Wimbledon Village Business Association and a number of local groups and societies, including Wimbledon Village Stables has reduced the speed limit in Wimbledon Village High Street from 30 miles per hour to 20 miles per hour.

Merton Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport, Councillor Martin Whelton, said: “Wimbledon Village High Street is a major route, which is used by through traffic as well as residents and visitors to the village.

“The new 20 miles per hour zone will slow down vehicles and help to make the high street calmer and safer for everyone, including cyclists, pedestrians, horses and riders. As a borough we support 20 mph zones and our aspiration is to roll it out across the borough which will make our roads safer for pedestrians.”


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Dance pop duo to perform at Merton Arts Space

18 October, 2018 - 09:42

Merton Arts Space will be hosting 80s electro duo, Spray on Monday 22 October. Performing live, Spray are inviting fans to come and party among the book shelves.

The local venue, which opened in 2016, has hosted scores of theatre productions, live music events, and arts workshops for local residents. It recently hosted free theatre events for over 700 local school children.

Spray will be visiting Wimbledon as part of their tour, and promise to bring “shimmery synthpop.”

The brother and sister team, who have been creating music together for over a decade, said: “We’re very excited by this as it’s our first date as Spray in London and the first time we’ve played live in the capital since 2000, when we were behind Peel legends the Cuban Boys.”

“We’re also very excited by the idea of playing the show in the Merton Arts Space in Wimbledon, it’s an experience we’re looking forward to!”

Tickets are available to buy now – check out Merton Arts Space on Twitter and Facebook for more details.

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Mayor of London visits Merton to launch a London-wide programme to tackle health inequalities

17 October, 2018 - 16:45

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has launched an innovative new scheme to support London’s youngest children and tackle health inequalities across the capital.

Healthy Early Years London (HEYL) helps children and families learn about healthy eating, exercise and social and emotional development.

Sadiq Khan unveiled his HEYL programme, as he met staff, young children and their parents at the Acacia Pre-School Children’s Centre, in Mitcham.

The programme forms a key part of the Mayor’s new Health Inequalities Strategy, which is designed to make the capital a healthier and fairer city by keeping people well and tackling the conditions that affect health.

Londoners currently face stark disparities in health depending on their incomes and where they live, and this can begin at the youngest of ages. In Tower Hamlets, babies are more than two-and-a-half times more likely to be born at a low birth weight than those in Richmond upon Thames, while across London the development of five year olds on free school meals is almost three months behind their peers.

Across England, obesity in children in reception classes living in the most deprived areas is more than double that of those living in the least deprived areas. In London, currently almost one in five children in reception year are overweight or obese, while one in four five year olds has tooth decay.

The Mayor is committed to reducing these inequalities and through his new awards programme, nurseries, children’s centres, playgroups and childminders will be given support to help infants and pre-school children learn about the importance of healthy eating and exercise, as well as a range of social and emotional development.

The programme encourages children and families to eat healthy food, drink water, play outside, walk or cycle, sleep well, sing and read, and learn skills including brushing their teeth properly, as they develop behaviours that will prepare them for school and outside the home.

Nurseries, children’s centres, playgroups and childminders are also encouraged to work closely with parents and carers as they progress through each level of the programme to improve the health, wellbeing and development of the capital’s youngest children.

The programme has been successfully piloted at 60 early years’ childcare providers across six boroughs and is now being expanded across the capital allowing any of the 13,000 providers to sign up. It will be evaluated with support by Bloomberg Philanthropies Partnership for Healthy Cities and has been highlighted by the World Health Organisation and Partnership for Healthy Cities as an example of good work across the globe.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Our capital faces huge health inequalities and it’s shocking that, even from the youngest of ages, children’s health suffers because of the circumstances into which they are born. We know that giving children the best start in life is the most effective way to address health inequalities in the longer term, and we all have a role to play in ensuring that every London child can enjoy the best possible start to life. That’s why through our new Healthy Early Years London programme we’re looking at every aspect of a child’s life so that we can help them grow and develop in the healthiest possible way.”

Kelly Braund, Merton Council cabinet member for children’s services, said: “We are delighted that Healthy Early Years London is being launched in Merton. It highlights the great work that is being done at centres like the Acacia, to improve the health, wellbeing and development of our youngest residents. We will be engaging with parents, carers and the community to help children learn about healthy eating and lifestyle habits from a young age to lay down the foundations for them to lead healthier, more active lives. We hope to continue on the good work that is already being done to bridge the gap to reduce health inequalities and welcome the support from the Mayor of London.”



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Merton libraries praised by Minister for Service Excellence

16 October, 2018 - 15:21

The Culture Minister Michael Ellis MP, who includes public libraries in his portfolio, applauded Merton’s award-winning libraries during his visit last week (Thursday 11 October).


Culture Minister Michael Ellis MP, with families during story time at Wimbledon Library

As part of National Libraries Week, Wimbledon Library, the busiest and oldest of the borough’s libraries hosted Michael Ellis MP. He was welcomed by Councillor Nick Draper, Cabinet Member for Community and Culture, Chief Executive of Merton Council Ged Curran, and local ward Councillors.

During the visit, Mr Ellis MP was shown how the library has been transformed into a hub that works in partnership with a range of providers to deliver on its priorities of improving resident’s health, social and economic outcomes whilst being an invaluable service for residents to engage with reading, cultural, digital, information and wellbeing services. It is a model that is being successfully delivered across all of Merton’s libraries.

He was introduced to the Artistic Director of Attic Theatre Company, Jonathan Humphreys, whose production of ‘The Rebellious Women of Wimbledon’ is currently showing at the Merton Arts Space. Mr Ellis was inspired by the Arts Space and how the renovation of a space in the library now meets many different needs for the borough and hosts excellent cultural activities. The Minister also took part in ‘The Paper Traveller’, written and directed by Marie Klimis, an immersive theatre project explicitly made for libraries.

Culture Minister Michael Ellis MP listening to ‘The Paper Traveller’, written and directed by Marie Klimis.

Mr Ellis MP led part of one the library’s very popular morning story times for children and noted the exceptional work being done by volunteers across all of Merton’s libraries. He noted the great work being done and how this should be a blueprint for libraries across the country.

Mr Ellis MP also spent time with Wimbletech, a collaboration between local entrepreneur David Fletcher and the council. Wimbletech started from humble beginnings to be a group of 200 business start-ups generating significant investment into the borough and all based in Wimbledon Library. Wimbletech is an important part of the borough’s Inward Investment Strategy.

Merton Council’s member for community and culture, Councillor Nick Draper, said: “Mr Ellis’s visit to Wimbledon library was his high point in Library Week.  As minister with responsibility for libraries, he wanted to visit the best library service in London, and he did.  He was so happy reading to the children that I suggested he cancel the rest of his appointments for the day so he could carry on!  He was clearly impressed with everything he saw and everyone he met.  We should all be very proud of our libraries.”





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Exceptional achievements of Merton schools recognised by Mayor of London

16 October, 2018 - 09:30

The exceptional achievements of Merton’s outstanding schools were recognised by the Mayor of London.

The remarkable performance of Ricards Lodge High School and Rutlish School were honoured by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, at the Schools for Success awards ceremony, held at City Hall on Friday 5 October. The event celebrated their achievements in supporting pupils needing extra help to fulfil their potential.

The Mayor’s Schools for Success programme aims to improve expectations and raise standards for London’s schoolchildren, regardless of their background.

Now in its second year, the programme has created a network through which schools can share experiences and best practice with others across London.

More than 100 eligible schools were invited to join the programme, and every local authority in the capital now has a school it can look to as an example. This group, refreshed annually, represents approximately six per cent of the capital’s schools.

The ceremony was hosted by Deputy Mayor for Education and Childcare, Joanne McCartney.

Rutlish has been recognised by the Schools for Success programme because over the last ten years it has improved from the bottom 15% of schools nationally, to become an Ofsted rated ‘Outstanding’ school in the top 5% last year. The school has been able to achieve exceptional results by honing and tailoring their teaching and curriculum so that they are inclusive, active and engaging for all pupils.

Ricards Lodge High School was also recognised by the Schools for Success programme as a result of the hard work they put into improving pupil performance across a range of areas. This enabled their students to make above average progress in their KS4 results last year (P8 0.71) The school demonstrated this when it achieved its Outstanding rating from Ofsted in November 2017.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I’d like to congratulate Ricards Lodge High school and Rutlish School for the fantastic work of their staff and pupils in the last year. Our Schools for Success programme shows the significant difference that a supportive and inclusive teaching environment can make for all pupils. London has some of the best schools in the country in the capital, and by working together, we can make sure that every young Londoner is given the opportunity to reach their full potential.”

Merton Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, Councillor Caroline Cooper-Marbiah said: “We are making Merton a great place for families, and I am incredibly proud of Ricards Lodge High and Rutlish School for this achievement. It is wonderful to see the hard work of the teaching staff and pupils recognised. I applaud them on their achievements, which are being held up as an example to other schools across London and am inspired by how they have put pupil engagement at the core of their work.”

Of the schools recognised this year, more than a third are participating for the second year running. All participating schools are encouraged to share their expertise with others through seminars and visits so that their success can be replicated across London.



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Silent auction launched for first plunge in new Morden Leisure Centre pool

11 October, 2018 - 20:40

Merton Council is auctioning the first swim in the new Morden Leisure Centre swimming pool.

The silent auction opens tomorrow (Friday 12 October) at 12noon and residents can submit their bid using the online form. Bidding will close at noon on Tuesday 30 October, terms and conditions are online. The winning bidder(s) will enjoy exclusive access in Morden Leisure Centre at 3.30pm on the afternoon of Tuesday 6 November in advance of  opening to the public at 4pm. The auction is raising funds for the Mayors Charities.

The new leisure centre for all the family to enjoy boasts a 25m x 13m main pool and smaller secondary pool, whose moveable floor accommodates everything from shallow toddler sessions to diving. There’s a studio, a fitness suite and a much-requested café with outside seating to welcome Morden Park dog walkers.

For disabled users the centre has a Changing Places facility with accessible toilet, shower, changing bed and hoist. There are plenty of additional accessible toilets and showers and a pool pod for access in and out of the water.

Merton Council’s cabinet member for community and culture, Councillor Nick Draper said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for someone to mark their place in the new leisure centre’s history, whilst raising money for the Mayor’s charities. This centre is a wonderful facility for everyone to have fun and keep fit, and I can’t wait to see it being used by the community that helped shape its design.”

Notes to editor:

  • The silent auction will take place between Friday 12 October and Tuesday 30 October 2018.
  • The highest bid will have exclusive access for two people to swim in the main pool.
  • In the event of a tied bid, all people submitting the top amount will have access to the main pool. Winners will be contacted in the week following Tuesday 30 October 2018.


Categories: News from elsewhere

National Hate Crime Awareness Week

11 October, 2018 - 11:40

We are here to support you – report hate crime. This is the message Merton Council and Merton Police are giving to residents throughout this year’s National Hate Crime Awareness Week.

Merton is one of the safest London boroughs, and the council has a strong working relationship with the police and other partner agencies to promote community cohesion and encourage victims to come forward.

A series of engagement events are taking place from 13 to 20 October to raise awareness of hate crime and how to report it. Hate crime can take many forms – big and small and can include; Spitting, verbal abuse and harassment, attacks or violence, name calling, threats, intimidation and emotional violence.

Cabinet member for community safety, engagement and equalities, Councillor Edith Macauley, said: “We are delighted to be working closely with our partners Merton Police, to ensure Merton continues to be one of the safest London boroughs. Hate crime is a continual concern for our residents and has no place in our borough. I would urge anyone who thinks they have experienced or witnessed hate crime to report it to the police immediately. The hate crime engagement events are also a great opportunity to speak to the council and police about your concerns.”

Here are the events being planned in your area:

  • Monday 15 October Victim Support and Safer Merton will be at Wimbledon Town Centre Piazza from 1pm to 3pm.
  • Tuesday 16 October Safer Merton will be at St Helier Station in Morden opposite Green Lane shop parade from 7am to 9am.
  • Tuesday 16 October Safer Merton and MCIL will be at South Thames College from 11.30am to 2pm.
  • Wednesday 17 October Safer Merton and MCIL will be next to Mitcham Town Centre Clock Tower opposite Green Lane shop parade from 11am to 3pm.
  • Thursday 18 October Safer Merton will be outside Morden Tube Station from 7.30am to 8.30am.
  • Thursday 18 October Safer Merton and MCIL will be at New Horizon Centre in Pollards Hill from 11am to 3pm.
  • Friday 19 October Association for the Polish Family will be at Colliers Wood Community Centre from 10am to 2pm .
  • Friday 19 October Safer Merton, MCIL, Sutton Community Safety will be at Baitul Futuh Mosque from 12.30pm to 3pm.

For more information visit the council website.


Categories: News from elsewhere

New collection service will help the environment by providing more opportunities for recycling

26 September, 2018 - 16:30

Residents will be able to start recycling even more materials from their homes this national Recycle Week, as Merton Council prepares to start a new recycling and rubbish collection service to boost the borough’s recycling rate.

From 1 October, textiles and household batteries will be included in the Council’s household collection service, as well as paper and card, plastics, cans, cartons, glass and food waste.

The new collection service will see most households using wheelie bins, which have recently been delivered. Residents can start using their new wheelie bins after their recycling and rubbish collection this week.

More than 64,000 households have each received their two new wheelie bins in preparation for the new recycling and refuse collection service that starts on 1 October. The change affects about three quarters of Merton residents. The blue-lidded wheelie bin is specifically for recycling paper and cardboard and the black bin is for non-recyclable rubbish. Houses will continue to use their green and purple boxes for recycling plastics, cartons, cans and glass and their food waste caddies for unavoidable food waste.

Food waste, textiles and household batteries will be collected every week. Recycling will be collected on an alternate weekly basis – paper and cardboard in the blue lidded wheelie bin one week and plastics, cans, cartons and glass the other week. The black lidded wheelie bin for waste that cannot be recycled will be collected on the same day as the paper and card wheelie bin.

Most recycling and rubbish collection days are changing from 1 October. Residents can check their collection day by referring to the information pack delivered with their new wheelie bins or looking on the Council’s website:

The new recycling and rubbish collection service aims to increase recycling from 37% to 45% within 12 months. It will save £1.6million a year, which will be used to protect vital services. It will also keep the borough’s streets cleaner and is better for the environment as the new rounds are more efficient, reducing the amount of time that the collection vehicles are on the road.

Merton Council’s Cabinet Member for the Environment, Councillor Mike Brunt said: “This Recycle Week marks the end of the old collection system – no more split black bin bags littering our streets.  Instead residents can start using their new wheelie bins for the new recycling and rubbish collection service.  The new service will save us all money and increase opportunities to recycle so that together we can increase Merton’s recycling rate from the current level of 37% to 45% in the next 12 months. Our aim is to become “one of the best recycling boroughs in London”.

For more information, visit

Categories: News from elsewhere

Merton Libraries celebrate National Libraries Week

25 September, 2018 - 09:52

Merton’s award-winning libraries will once again be celebrating National Libraries Week, from 8-13 October, by offering the community a variety of events and activities to suit all ages.

To coincide with National Libraries Week, the ‘London Libraries Festival – World of Possibilities’ will be running on 13 October, and events will be hosted all across the capital. All of Merton’s Libraries will be running special events in their library to celebrate. Wimbledon library will host its first ‘library lates’ event on Saturday 13 October, an evening with free talks on health and wellbeing and a free film screening. Doors open at 5.45pm.

Each library will be holding a range of events throughout the week with sessions to suit everyone. An event not to be missed takes place at Wimbledon Library on 11 and 12 October. The Paper Traveller, written and directed by Marie Klimis, is an immersive theatre project made specifically for libraries. The production brings a unique storytelling experience to audiences across London. Made up of a series of sound installations, pop-up books, and live performance, The Paper Traveller uses multidisciplinary practice to explore the event of becoming lost inside a book.

Merton Council’s cabinet member for community and culture, Councillor Nick Draper said: “All of Merton is very proud of its libraries.  National Libraries week gives us an opportunity to celebrate the great staff and volunteers that work hard to support our library service. As well as being the lowest cost per capita of any libraries in London, ours are amongst the highest regarded, which I believe is why we have more library members per capita than any other London borough. Our team has planned a range of events that everyone can take part in and tickets are now available.”

For more information about the events planned for National Libraries Week, visit:


Notes to editor:

The Paper Traveller will be coming to Wimbledon library on Thursday 11 October (4pm-7pm), Friday 12 October (4pm-7pm) and Saturday 13 October (2pm-5pm). Tickets cost £3 and can be booked via Suitable for those aged 14 and over.

For more information about the events planned for National Libraries Week, visit:


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Stub it out this Stoptober

24 September, 2018 - 15:22

Stoptober, the biggest mass attempt to quit smoking is back and Merton is calling on all smokers to take part.

The 28-day campaign from Public Health England, which starts on 1 October, encourages and supports smokers across the country to quit smoking for good. Research shows that if you can stop smoking for 28 days, you are five times more likely to stay smoke free for good. Stopping smoking is the best thing people can do for their health and for those around them.

The life-changing journey to quitting is difficult, but with Stoptober you will not be on your own. An app, daily emails, Facebook messenger and lots of encouragement from the Stoptober online community will help and support you to live a smoke free life.

This year Stoptober are providing an online Personal Quit Plan, which helps smokers find and decide what is right for them whether that be face-to-face support, e-cigarettes or nicotine replacement therapies such as patches inhalers or lozenges.

Merton’s Cabinet Member for adult social care and health, Councillor Tobin Byers said: “Quitting smoking is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your health, and the health of everyone around you. We are encouraging all our residents who have wanted to give up smoking to take up the Stoptober challenge, and find a Personal Quit Plan that works for them. One You Merton will be in various locations across the borough to offer support and advice on quitting and if you are unable to make those, why not take advantage of the free online resources and support such as the Stoptober App and Facebook chat to help you quit.”

One You Merton will be present at the following locations promoting Stoptober so come along to find out more!

Date Location Time Sunday 7 October 2018 Fun Palace event

Morden Hall Park, Morden Hall Road, SM4 5JD 12-4pm Monday 8 October 2018 Raynes Park Library, 21 Approach Road, London, SW20 8BA 2.30-5.30pm Tuesday 9 October 2018 Colliers Wood Library, 105-109 High Street, Colliers Wood, SW19 2HR 9.30am-1.30pm Tuesday 9 October 2018 Morden Library, Merton Civic Centre, London Road, Morden, SM4 5DX 2.30-5.30pm Thursday 11 October 2018 Pollards Hill Library, S Lodge Ave, Mitcham,
CR4 1LT 9.30am-1.30pm Friday 12 October 2018 Mitcham Library, 157 London Road, Mitcham, CR4 2YR 9.30am-1.30pm

For more information or to register for FREE one-to-one support from a One You Merton health advisor please email, call 020 8973 3545 or visit Follow @OneYouMerton on Twitter and Facebook for news and information.



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Vote for your favourite Merton Green Flag park!

24 September, 2018 - 09:31

A record number of Merton parks have been awarded prestigious Green Flags and throughout September residents can take part in a national vote for their favourite.

In July, Abbey Recreation Ground gained its very first Green Flag award, whilst South Park Gardens, John Innes Park, Dundonald Recreation Ground, Sir Joseph Hood Memorial Playing Field, Colliers Wood Recreation Ground all retained their status as being amongst the country’s finest parks.

Green Flag Awards recognise and reward the best parks in the country. New award winner Abbey Recreation Ground stood out to the judges for the impressive commitment and involvement of the community in its development and management.

Pictured at Abbey Recreation Ground: Patrick Phillips from Idverde, Cabinet member for community and culture Councillor Nick Draper, Doug Napier from Merton Council, Wilmore End Residents’ Association, Jim Congrave and Keith Hunter with Councillors Eleanor Stringer and Nigel Benbow.

Following on from the summer awards, the Green Flag scheme is asking residents to have their say and decide which of this year’s winners should receive the People’s Choice Awards for being the UK’s and the world’s favourite. To vote for the People’s Choice Award, find your favourite Merton park on the Green Flag winners map, open the park description and click the voting button on the right. When you have voted why not encourage others to get involved too through social media using #PeopleChoice. Voting closes on 30 September, with the top 10 sites in the UK and top ten internationally being announced on 16 October.

Councillor Nick Draper, Merton’s cabinet member for community and culture said: “This year we picked up six Green Flag awards, compared to five in 2017. These awards are testament to the hard work of everyone who looks after them, including the council’s parks and open spaces contractor, idverde. We are immensely proud of our Green Flag parks, which continue to be hugely popular and reinforce why Merton is a great place to live, work and visit. I would encourage everyone to vote in the People’s Choice Awards to show the rest of the country just how great our parks are”.


Notes to Editors

Idverde is the council’s parks and green spaces contractor.

The Green Flag Awards Scheme is run by the environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, under licence from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, in partnership with Keep Scotland Beautiful, Keep Wales Tidy and Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful.

Any green space that is accessible to the public is eligible to enter for a Green Flag Award.  Awards are given on an annual basis and winners must apply each year to renew their Green Flag Award status.  A Green Flag Community Award recognises quality sites managed by voluntary and community groups. Green Heritage Site accreditation is judged on the treatment of the site’s historic features and the standard of conservation.




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