MVSC eBulletin 1st April 2019

This fortnight's news

Upcoming MVSC events

  • 9th April - Health and Social Care Forum
  • 16th April - INVOLVE meeting
  • 14th May - Mental Health Forum
  • 6th June - MVSC Annual Volunteering Awards
  • 1st July - Merton Voluntary Sector Conference

Merton Voluntary Sector Conference 2019 – save the date!

Please save this date in your calendar:

  • 1st July 2019, 9.30am – 4.00pm
  • Merton Voluntary Sector Conference 2019
  • The Everyday Church Conference Centre

This event will focus on health, social care and wellbeing.

It will bring together the voluntary, public and private sectors to share ideas and learning.  It will showcase Merton’s voluntary sector and feature workshops and stalls from businesses providing products and services to the voluntary sector.

The keynote address will be given by John Tizard, Chair of the National Association for Voluntary and Community Action (NAVCA).  This year’s address will be the inaugural Chris Frost Memorial Lecture, in honour of MVSC’s founding Chief Executive who gave dedicated and exemplary service to the Merton community for over 28 years until her passing in 2013.

Confirmed speakers include Rachael Wardell, Director of Children, Schools and Families, Merton Council, and James Blythe, Managing Director, Merton and Wandsworth Clinical Commissioning Group.

The Merton Partnership Volunteer Awards 2019

Nominations are now open.

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.

There are eleven award categories:

  • Volunteer Manager of the Year
  • Volunteer-involving Organisation of the Year
  • Volunteer Team Award
  • Young Volunteer Team Award
  • Cllr Maxi Martin Memorial Cup - Young Volunteer of the Year
  • Chris Frost Memorial Shield - Volunteer of the Year
  • Employee Volunteering of the Year
  • Outstanding Contribution Award
  • Merton Schools Volunteer of the Year
  • Sports Club Volunteer of the Year
  • Health Services Volunteer of the Year.

All volunteers and organisations shortlisted for awards will be invited to the Merton Partnership Volunteer Awards 2019 ceremony on Thursday 6th June 2019.

For more information, please email

New improved mental health services across Merton

NHS Merton Clinical Commissioning Group announced on 20th March 2019 that they were investing in expanding and improving mental health services to give local patients greater support, with a focus on wellbeing.
South West London and St. George’s Mental Health NHS Trust have been commissioned by the CCG to provide a new primary care mental health service, called Merton Uplift, which will be available from 1st April 2019.
Merton Uplift will offer a broad range of support for people in Merton who are experiencing mental health conditions such as anxiety, stress and depression.  The service will include talking therapies as well as support with practical skills to help maintain a feeling of wellness.

Tooting and Mitcham United Race Night

MVSC’s Funding Update

The latest edition of MVSC’s Funding Update provides an excellent overview of current funding opportunities.  It’s recommended reading for all Merton charities looking for funding – and who isn’t?!

More funding – from Santander

Santander Bank has is offering financial help to SMEs and small charities that wish to take on a student intern, as well as to university students looking to secure internships.

L&Q Foundation small grants

L&Q small grants available up to £10,000 through the Place Makers Local Fund.

Charity Commission Chair’s speech to Annual Public Meeting

In her speech at the Commission APM in Manchester the Commission Chair, Baroness Stowell called on charities to meet public expectations, and help bridge divides in society.

NCVO charity impact update

The Outcomes Star is used by hundreds of organisations with frontline services in the UK.  As a practical way of delivering person-centred, strength-based, outcome-driven support, the Star can be used by organisations of all shapes and sizes, from individual practitioners and local charities through to local government departments and NHS Trusts.

Triangle, the social enterprise behind the Outcomes Star, has developed case studies that show how the Star has been effective in different projects, services and organisations.

Charity Digital News

Some of the latest from Charity Digistal News.

How to introduce 21st Century tech to an established charity

It's never easy to introduce new technology into an organisation with set ways of working.  But while there is no shortage of guidance out there, you can't underestimate the value of learning from direct experience.

Tune in to Vince Gatrick, Head of IT at Mencap as he talks charities through his experiences getting new tech into old charities at the Charity Digital Tech Conference.

How small charities can succeed at Facebook and Instagram

Last month's Charity Digital Tech Conference heard from Cara Lewin, Global Program manager at Blueprint Live - Facebook's educational training arm for advertisers.  Watch her full session on 'Social media best practices for small charities'.

How small charities can design a winning website

Content is king, and having a winning website can make you stand out from the rest.

At the Charity Digital Tech Conference, Harry Hurd of Clear Honest Design explains how charities of all sizes can really up their game with website design.

EMC employment

For the past eight years, the only work that Mitcham resident Meena Siddiqui knew was being her husband's full time carer. But the 54-year-old was determined to get back into the workforce. That is when she was given a volunteering opportunity with the ‘Creative Maths’ programme run by the Ethnic Minority Centre.

The programme gave her a chance to learn new maths techniques, improve her communication skills, knowledge and gain more self-confidence.

Now that hard work has paid off. ‘I was unemployed for a long time, so I was really glad to have the opportunity to volunteer for the EMC Creative Maths programme’, Mrs Siddiqui said.  ‘Now I have found employment at a pharmacy in Colliers Wood and everything I have learned is all thanks to EMC and Clarion Futures.’

Sabitri Ray, project director at EMC added that she hoped more people could benefit from this initiative.  ‘I am really pleased that the partnership with Clarion Futures has helped us to present maths in an engaging way,’ she said.

‘Employing a unique tutor like Rita Ball from Roots2Grow has also enhanced the teaching techniques of maths which brings benefits to so many local residents.’

Do you have what it takes?

Age UK Merton, the leading agency in Merton for older people, is looking for dynamic people to join its Board.  Its aim is for all older people to be able to love later life, whatever their circumstances.

This is not just about attending five Board meetings a year.  They are looking for people who will champion Age UK Merton in the community and share what they do.  If you have skills in finance, legal issues or marketing, that would be even better!

If you are interested in learning more about becoming a trustee of Age UK Merton download the information pack.  Contact

ESF community grants in south London

London Learning Consortium has been awarded the contract to make ESF Community Grants available in London South.  These are small grants (from £5,000 up to £20,000) for third sector and other small organisations for the purpose of mobilising disadvantaged or excluded unemployed and inactive people to enable their progress towards employment. 

Organisations that access grants need to be well placed to reach excluded individuals facing barriers, which hinder their access to mainstream provision.  Grants will:

  • Engage with marginalised individuals and support them to re-engage with education, training, or employment;
  • Support a range of activities aimed at assisting the disadvantaged or excluded to move closer to the labour market by improving their access to mainstream ESF and domestic employment and skills provision
  • Provide support to the hardest to reach communities and individuals, especially those from deprived communities, to access employment or further learning and training.

LLC’s strategy is to fund projects across the South London Region that focus on initiatives and schemes that impact directly on the lives of disadvantaged Londoners and the communities in which they live.
If you think your organisation or others you work with could be eligible to apply for an ESF Community Grant Award then please use the LLC website.  The deadline for submission is 12th April 2019.

Global Solution Services – more training opportunities

GSS are delighted with referrals from the sector in the borough and with the progress of learners.  They have now booked the following course dates, so please start referring customers who would be interested:

These courses are fully-funded for any adult, aged 19 or more who is looking to build his or her skills and knowledge in either the health and social care or retail sectors.  

In order to refer a customer, please email or or call the office on 020 8665 4297, with the customer’s name and contact details.  GSS will get in touch with them to schedule them on a course.  These courses are funded by Merton Council.  However, they are also open and funded to residents of neighbouring Boroughs.

Hold on Change is Coming

In July 2018, Ruth Merriman was training to be an advocate for teenagers in Merton and Sutton with Jigsaw4U when she was diagnosed with Stage 4 Non Hodgkin Lymphoma.  Unfortunately, when treatments no longer worked, on 9th March 2019, she sadly passed away.  

One of Ruth's favourite songs, ‘Hold On Change is Coming’, sums up her relentlessly positive outlook.  Hillcross Primary (which the boys attend), along with Ruth and husband John Merriman's workplace, Crown Lane Studio, Inner Harmony choir, Sutton Dance Academy and some very kind singers have put together a new version of the song

It is stunning.  You can't fail to be moved and uplifted by its message and the joy in the voices.  

With the help of the song, John has so far raised £30,655.47 including online donations of £30,555.47.  Every penny goes to Jigsaw4U who are doing such vital work with so many children in this part of London.

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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