This fortnight's news - 15th April 2019

Key MVSC and Forum meetings (click here)

  • 1st May - Wellbeing Services at the Wilson: Steering Group
  • 7th May - INVOLVE
  • 14th May - Mental Health Forum
  • 6th June - MVSC Annual Volunteering Awards
  • 1st July - Merton Voluntary Sector Conference

Merton Partnership Volunteer Awards

Now in their seventh year, the Merton Partnership Volunteer Awards are the borough’s annual celebration to acknowledge and pay thanks to the tremendous contribution that local volunteers make.  Each year, thousands of local residents dedicate more than 40,000 volunteer hours to help make the borough of Merton a pleasant place to live, work and learn.

There are eleven award categories in total this year, including several new categories such as health and wellbeing and schools volunteers.  We will also be honouring two much-loved and admired local figureheads who have been pioneers and champions of the local voluntary sector in Merton.  The two main awards will be the Cllr Maxi Martin Memorial Cup - Young Volunteer of the Year Award - and the Chris Frost Memorial Shield – Volunteer of the Year Award.

Nominations are now officially open and can be made via the nominations page.  The deadline is Monday 29th April 2019.

Next INVOLVE meeting

We are sorry that the next meeting on INVOLVE has been postponed from 16th April to 7th May, 10:00am to 12:00 noon at Vestry Hall.  Please register to attend here.

Attending the INVOLVE meeting is especially important this time because there will be elections to leadership positions.  

Health and Social Care Forum

Rob Clarke, CEO of Age UK Merton, has been elected the new Chair of the VCS Health and Social Care (HSC) Forum.  He will be the Forum’s representative to the Health and Wellbeing Board with immediate effect.

We look forward to Rob’s stewardship of the HSC Forum and productive engagement with partners.

Merton Best Business Awards

Merton Best Business Awards 2019  are now open for applications.  In their seventh year, the Awards play an integral part in recognising and promoting excellence and rewarding local businesses for their successes.

Merton Giving is delighted to be sponsoring the ‘Extra Mile’ special category.  This for businesses that demonstrate how they have gone the ‘extra mile’ in supporting their local community and like to ‘give something back’.  Has your organisation participated in initiatives that have supported you and your local community?  If so, don’t hesitate to enter, we’d love to hear your story! 

Entry is FREE and there are plenty of hints and tips to take you through the simple application process.  Follow this link to read more and apply.

Sugar Smart: local diabetes campaign

Merton’s Health & Wellbeing Board have committed to joining Merton’s ‘Sugar Smart’ campaign.  It helps local organisations to lower sugar consumption and improve diet.   

To join the campaign, organisations need to make at least one pledge to support reducing sugar consumption. 

Sign up through the campaign’s online portal.  Please use a Merton post code when creating your account so your organisation is linked in to our local campaign.  You will then receive a welcome pack to help you decide on the pledges your organisation will make.  Public Health will also be in contact and are available to support partners to develop pledges – please contact Philip Williams with any questions.

Latest Key Issues from London Councils

This edition of London Councils' newsletter has:

£1.2m for charity safeguarding training

Civil Society Minister Mims Davies has announced £1.2 million through the National Lottery Community Fund to develop new training to improve charities’ knowledge of safeguarding requirements.

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations will bring together a partnership of organisations to develop the high-quality training including NAVCA.

NCVO briefings

The National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage went up by 4.9% for all age groups on 1st April to:

  • £8.21 per hour for workers aged 25 and over (up from £7.83).
  • £7.70 per hour for workers aged 21 to 24 (up from £7.38).
  • £6.15 per hour for workers aged 18 to 20 (up from £5.90).
  • £4.35 per hour for workers aged under 18 (up from £4.20).
  • £3.90 per hour for apprentices (up from £3.70).

This was one of seven big employment changes underway, including the consultation on redundancy protection for pregnant employees closing, increases in statutory pay for maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental leave, and the pension contributions increase to 8%.  These and more are discussed in the latest NCVO Bulletin.

Take a break from social media

It’s part of our lives now, and mostly a force for good.  But Real Social Tech Free Me campaign has been launched because of concerns that technology use can increase loneliness and harm people’s mental health and wellbeing.

They recommend scheduled breaks from social media and gaming and have developed a website to track the impact on their mental health, happiness and relationships.

Getting the best board

There’s always something new round the corner.  Charity Digital News contains plenty of helpful information.  Their recent newsletter reports on a free guide from Getting on Board on a free, downloadable guide to help charities improve the diversity and skills of their trustees.

How to get a good charity trustees’ annual report

Every year your charity annual report describes your activities as a charity and the impact you’ve had.  There are certain legal requirements that you must satisfy but this is also a great opportunity to communicate widely about your work and build your reputation.

Advice from White Fuse summarises your legal requirements and offers advice, ideas and a free template that will help you to go beyond the minimum and really make an impact.  This includes what format to use including paper and online versions, and social media.

Intergenerational singing Re:Sounds across the borough

Polka Theatre, 40 this year, have teamed up with Merton Music Foundation to launch Re:Sound, a network of choirs for everyone across the borough.  There are events in venues across the borough between 30th April and 28th June.  Follow these links for more details:

Coffee mornings for families affected by autism

NAS Merton, the local branch of the National Autistic Society, support families affected by autism in the borough:

  • Signposting, support, and a fantastic forum to share advice and information
  • Increasing social support and employment opportunities for ASD adults in the community
  • Providing feedback to the Council
  • Working with public and private organisations to set up and improve services in Merton.

NAS Merton are holding coffee mornings in different parts of the borough on:

Please follow those links to flyers with more specific information on each event.

IT training for beginners

GSS are running a new course, IT for beginners.  Follow that link to the flyer.  It’s a five-day course, held in a number of locations across the borough for convenience.
To refer someone onto the course, please email Sherella or Josephine or call the GSS office on 020 8665 4297, with customer's name and contact details.  These courses are funded by Merton Council.  They are also open to and funded for residents of neighbouring boroughs.

Made of Money – two-day facilitator training - 10th and 11th July - East London (E2 9PJ)

Made of Money is an award-winning project that helps people on low income talk about money and its impact on their lives.  It is designed to improve people’s confidence, communication and control around money through interactive activities, discussions and resources.

They offer hands-on training to help front-line workers with their work with clients and the local community.  Participants in this engaging training will learn from experienced facilitators on the best way to deliver financial education workshops and one to ones.

This is not training for you to become a money or debt advisor.  But the training will give you the tools and skills to start conversations about money and ways to support your beneficiaries through specialist referrals. 

Click here for more information and to book.  Or email Mostofa Uddin at Quaker Social Action, or phone on 0208 983 5046.

Would you like an article in the eBulletin?  Or to advertise an event on our website?

We welcome news and other articles from voluntary, community and public organisations in Merton.  Please send text and images to Simon Courage at


If you wish to advertise a local event, please log into our website and add your event to the calendar.


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Next edition and copy deadline

The next edition of the eBulletin will be on 29th April 2019.  The copy deadline for this is 11.59pm on 24 April 2019.