MVSC eBulletin 5th March 2019 - this fortnight's news

Two events to put in your diary
  • Wellbeing Services at the Wilson: Steering Group Meeting on 20th March.  Click here for more information
  • MVSC's Annual Conference on 1st July.  More information to follow.

Mayor of Merton's Events

The Mayor of Merton, Councillor Mary Curtin, invites you to the following upcoming charity events in aid of the Mayor’s Charities: Friends in St Helier and Colour House Children’s Theatre.  Please contact the Mayor’s office for information on booking tickets.

Irish Night - Friday 15th March 2019
The Mayor of Merton’s Irish Night will be at the Irish Centre 140 Hartfield Road, Wimbledon, SW19 3TG.  Live Music and Traditional Dancing.  Entry Fee is £10 per person and includes food (paid bar).

Charity Ball - Saturday 27th April 2019
The Mayor of Merton’s ‘Irish inspired’ Charity Ball with lots of fun and laughter will be at the All England Lawn Tennis Club home of the world famous Wimbledon Tennis Tournament on Saturday 27th April 2019.  The evening will begin with a champagne reception at 6.30pm, followed by a three-course meal at 7.20pm, and live Ceilidh band and Irish dancing display.  Carriages at midnight.

Madam Mayor looks forward to your support.

Mayor’s Office
Sandra Folkes
London Borough of Merton
Civic Centre, London Road, Morden
T: 0208 545 3517

South West London Law Centres Thames Water and utility grants service

This project has helped clients clear over £1 million pounds over three years.

It’s been another successful year at South West London Law Centres, with the Thames Water project passing over £1 million worth of client debt cleared over the last three years, using the following grant applications:

  • Thames Water Trust Fund
  • Discretionary Council Tax Reduction (DCTR)
  • Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP)
  • Gas and Electric Trust Funds.

These can be used to either clear the outstanding balance on their accounts or to obtain the fee required to pursue bankruptcy/Debt Relied Order further.
In November 2018, a client approached the service for support and obtained £4,415.33 towards rent and Council Tax debts through DHP and DCTR applications.
If you have clients who would benefit from this support, please email their details to, or contact the Centres on 020 8772 7057 for further information.

Trust for London newsletter for February 2019

This issue of Trust for London's news contains news about funding for a citizen-led engagement programme.  Also, the Law for Life training programme and many other pieces.

Grants from Firesouls

Firesouls build digital tools that get more resources to VCSE organisations.
Every month, they award £100 in gift vouchers to, and share a write up with our networks of, a ‘local community hero’: they ask people to nominate a small organisation they think is making a big difference in their local community, and then hold a prize draw at the end of each month.
So far they've seen £500 be awarded in prizes.

A bit of extra cash and some recognition is a boost.

Here’s a good example of one of their Local Community Hero blogs.

The WCTT Young Actors Company (YAC) run three groups based on age, meeting at New Wimbledon Time & Leisure Studio every Sunday during term time.

Every March, their Young Actors take to the stage producing three professionally-directed performances.  Last year, they staged their SOCIAL MEDIA season with three plays looking at how social media affects the lives of young people today. 

In March 2019, they launch their TROUBLED WATERS season: three world premiere performances of new plays with the theme of 'finding our way in troubled times'.  The Young Actors are all particularly excited about this season because they will be performing onstage at the Royal Albert Hall as part of Merton Music Foundations 2019 Music is for Life concert.

WCTT Young Actors Company do not simply offer high quality acting training: they encourage their members to grow into responsible, caring, socially active citizens.  Their summer term is all about social engagement and they hope to be working with students from Cricket Green school on a devised performance about safe social media use and with Merton Dementia Hub on an inter-generational play inspired by the childhood experiences of people living with dementia.

They would love to see you at one of our upcoming performances.  To book for any of these shows, click here.

Digital leadership

Superhighways are offering a new, practical digital leadership programme of training and advice for leaders of charities and community organisations across London.

With digital no longer an add on or optional to the way charities and community organisations are run, board members and CEOs face some tough decisions.  Resources are tight and it’s hard to know what to prioritise.  It’s also hard to make sound strategic choices when digital isn’t your day job.

As a CEO, trustee or senior manager you can join one of the thought-provoking series of workshops or training to explore how small charity leaders can develop their organisation’s digital capability within the framework of the newly-launched Charity Digital Code of Practice.

Superhighways are partnering with London Plus, The Foundation for Social Improvement and NAVCA on the new programme, extending reach to local communities throughout London and across the UK.  The programme is funded by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Come along and support the Blue Cross at their open day

Merton Hospital

10.30am to 3.00pm on Saturday 16th March.

Click here for flyer.

GLA data surgery

On 15th March, the GLA will host its second data surgery for civil society organisations looking for support and guidance to get the most out of their data.  
If you work for a charity, social enterprise or NGO and have a project idea that involves data analysis, or you just want to better understand what you can do with the data you hold, go and pick their brains at City Hall.  Get expert data advice from a team of volunteer statisticians, data scientists and researchers who will aim to help you get the most out of your data.
You'll work with the data volunteer in a two-hour, 1-2-1 session, to learn some practical skills and/or get feedback on your approach to data.
All good data analysis projects start by defining the problem you want to solve.  Please come ready to discuss the challenges your organisation faces and the volunteer data scientists will help you think through possible solutions.
When: Friday 15th March
Where: City Hall, Conference Room 2  
Time: the GLA will allocate you a time slot to work with your data volunteer, either from 9.00am-11.00am or 11.00am-1.00pm

What to take: your problem, an open mind, and a data sample
Feel free to share with your networks and any organisations you think who might be interested in taking part.
Sign up by completing this form by the 6 March – apologies for short deadline but we think this will still be of interest to eBulletin readers.

Courses from Public Health

Who should attend?

Frontline staff who substantially work with ‘at risk’ and vulnerable groups (these are groups who are at great risk of suicide) and include:

  • Young people aged 15-25,
  • Vulnerable young people including care leavers, young people known to mental health services, youth offending or are looked-after children
  • People with mental health issues
  • People with substance misuse issues, rough sleepers and people with chaotic lives
  • Middle-aged men on low incomes
  • People with money/debt issues.

If you work with these groups, you will benefit from the two-day intense MHFA or the half day Suicide Explained courses.  Those seeking to champion good mental health will benefit more from the strategic oversight provided by the MHFA Champion course, equipping you with the knowledge and confidence to advocate and champion good mental health awareness.  You can expect to learn:

  • An understanding of common mental health issues in addition to strategic knowledge and confidence to advocate for mental health awareness (MHFA Champion)
  • The importance of good mental health, touching on a range of disorders
  • Language, myth and facts surrounding suicide.

Programme information
Mental Health First Aid (MHFA), a 2 day programme
MHFA Champion, a one day training programme
Suicide Explained, a half day training programme

Training is free.


Follow this link.

For more information, and to register, contact Imran Mauthoor at or on 020 8545 4830.

Help to clean up the Wandle and Beverley Brook

South East Rivers Trust are offering to train volunteers to spot outfalls (misconnected pipes allowing polluted water into rivers) and to carry out pollution patrols.  Find out more and get dates in February and March for training events in Carshalton.

Speakers from the Trust have offered to give talks to community groups to raise awareness of your local river and pollution issues.  Talks are free of charge to groups within the Hogsmill, Wandle and Beverley Brook catchments.  Times are flexible and the talks can be tailored to the audience.  If you think your local residents association, walking club, angling society, WI, or any other local organisation would be interested in having a talk to about their river, please get in touch with

White Fuse speak

Sign up to receive White Fuse’s newsletter.  News on their website includes charity fundraising, a guide to trusteeship and social media training.

Reminiscence Tea Party

The Friends of the Wrythe invite you to share your memories of the Wrythe Green area, together with any photos or other memorabilia, as part of an exciting new local history project.

Join in or just drop in on Wednesday 13th March any time between 4.00pm and 6.30pm at the Salvation Army Hall, 31 Green Wrythe Lane, Carshalton SM5 2DS. (Refreshments will be provided.)

You can find out more and contact the Friends on their Facebook page.

Charity Digital News

Recent editions of Charity Digital News contain pieces about:

  • Time for social media users to talk about mental health
  • The unexpected rise in texting by charities
  • Report of Barnardo’s warning about child abuse using streaming sites.  Also reported on by YouTube last week
  • Charity IT skills falling (it’s not all positive news here)
  • Global Epilepsy Awareness Day on 26th March
  • Online giving having risen in 2018.

Free community garden days and vegan meal

Every Friday and Sunday from 12.00 noon to 4.00pm, amazing community gardener and cook, Chris, teaches gardening, food growing and cooking skills for all ages.  Bring your gardening questions, or just come relax in nature, meet likeminded people and enjoy a freshly prepared, free, vegan meal on site, at the end of each day.  It's a great way to connect with your local community, entertain kids and improve your mental wellbeing.

Details on May Project Gardens' site here.
Address: 158 Middleton Road, Morden, SM4 6RW. Just turn up!
Contact for more information.

Book before 7th March
Volunteering Conference 19th March 2019, Croydon Conference Centre
Volunteering at the Heart of Civil Society

Limited Super Discount tickets funded by the Mayor of London.  Now only £25 for organisations with an annual income of under £100,000 - must be booked before 7th March!

Join NCVO, London Plus and Young Partnership for London for:

  • Expert workshop sessions covering a range of volunteer management issues
  • Free Volunteer Development Toolkit and follow-up support session
  • An opportunity for local organisations to hear from national and regional Keynote speakers.

Click here for full agenda and to book.

Next edition and copy deadline

The next edition of the eBulletin will be on 25th February 2019.  The copy deadline for this is - 11.59pm on 13th March 2019.

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.


Text content

Short and sweet articles work best for readers.  Here is a suggested format:

  • Begin with a sentence or two summarising what you want readers to understand, feel and do as a result of reading your piece
  • Follow this with a short paragraph with information of your event, activity news and so on.  Bullet points are very useful here
  • Next, say what actions you want people to take next: such as register for an event, complete a survey, or talk to a friend
  • Finally, give a named contact

'We' in articles is MVSC: as in 'We carried out a survey of members last month.  Next month, fantastic Merton charity X will be launching an interim report on the findings'.

If you want your organisation to be the 'we', this works best as a flyer (see below).

In job advertisements and training opportunities, ‘we’ is the recruiting organisation.

Text format

Please send your article in Microsoft Word and font Arial 12

Please do not include a lot of formatting in your article.  Bullet points are good but tables, for example, are difficult to accommodate.  Please spell out hyperlinks so we can make sure that, in the final version of the eBulletin, they work as intended.


A good photo can bring your article to life.  Please use 'real' photos, not generic, stock photos wrere possible. 

Please use PNG or JPEG (or JPG) format and 300 dots per inch.  Most modern cameras will do this automatically.

Other images (eg, flyers) should also be in PNG or JPEG (or JPG) format.

If you are unsure about formats, please contact me.


We do not include PDFs in the body of the eBulletin.  If you would like to include a PDF with your article, it will appear as an attachment to the eBulletin.  Or you can put your document on your website and give us the link to the page.  We will then include the link to your document in the eBulletin.