YMCA launches Winter Night Shelter

The Merton Winter Night Shelter is a project involving YMCA London South West and nearly 20 faith groups in the Merton area of London. The groups provide shelter for rough sleepers over the coldest months of December through to February, offering them warmth, food and a place to sleep. They also help to provide move-on opportunities for the guests.

Volunteers from the faith groups manage the project and are always looking for more people to help or contribute wherever possible. If you are able to assist them in any way, please email Merton Night Shelter or contact them via Twitter @mertonshelter. You can also donate directly to YMCA South West London via their website.

Wimbledon Winter Wonderland 2016

Wimbledon was treated to a magical, festive day of Christmas celebrations at Wimbledon Winter Wonderland.

Love Wimbledon’s popular ‘Wimbledon Winter Wonderland returned to Wimbledon Broadway on Sunday 27th November, which saw part of the road being closed to welcome Christmas to Wimbledon. Thousands were treated to festive performances, Christmas market stalls, street entertainment and children’s rides.

The stars from New Wimbledon Theatre’s Christmas panto appeared including Matthew Kelly to the delight of many and a giant stilt walking reindeer, penguins and a roller skating Christmas pudding brought the magic of Christmas to Wimbledon. New this year was ‘live ice carving’ which kept visitors entranced as the ice was carved into festive Christmas characters and the ‘magical marquee’ which provided a covered area for families to sit, enjoy hot food and take in all the magic was very popular.

Sally Warren, from Love Wimbledon commented ‘What a wonderful wonderland for Wimbledon this year. This event is all about families having fun. We had an array of local talent on the stage and fun rides and activities for everyone. The market was magical and many local traders enjoy being part of our Town Centre’.

With the Mayor of Merton officially opening the event at 12pm, musical acts including Borough Brass, Attic theatre and singer Emily Lee with presenter Paul Evers kept gatherers entertained with festive fun and Christmas songs. Paul Evers led the crowd to take on the ‘Mannequin challenge’ which saw visitors of all ages freezing like statues on The Piazza – a video that’s now already had over 2,000 views. Children’s rides including a carousel, rodeo reindeer and a snowboard simulator gave plenty to keep children happily entertained.

Family photos took place within a giant snow globe and market stalls sold festive presents and foods, mulled wine and roasted chestnuts, as well as a popcorn stand and candyfloss. Elys department store got into the Christmas spirit also with festive activity and Centre Court Shopping hosted a stage with fantastic performances all day.

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Christmas in Wimbledon!

‘Tis the season to be jolly so come and celebrate Christmas in Wimbledon.

Tick off your Christmas shopping list at our festive Christmas markets, every weekend on The Piazza from now until Christmas, as well as Monday 19 and Tuesday 20 December.

There’s lots of fun for kids too, including a chance to visit Father Christmas in his grotto, take part in YMCA’s Christmas fancy dress party, and enjoy free ice skating in Centre Court! Wimbledon’s theatres are fizzing with festive buzz. We have all the best pantos – oh yes we do! This season brings Dick Whittington at New Wimbledon Theatre, Babe, The Sheep Pig at Polka Theatre, Great Expectations in Merton Arts Space at Wimbledon Library, and Santa’s Polka Dot Pirate at New Wimbledon Studio. You could even win tickets to see Dick Whittington by taking part in our all new FREE Nutcracker Trail on Saturday 10 December. Come and join in a yuletide adventure and discover the giant Nutcracker Kings hiding all over Wimbledon Town Centre.

It wouldn’t be Christmas without carols and there are plenty of opportunities to attend a variety of carol services across Wimbledon throughout the festive season, as well as a number of other community events including the YMCA’s Christmas lunch, Wimbledon Guild’s Christmas lunch as well as the Guild’s Great Big Christmas Pudding Pub Quiz.

Christmas is also a time for giving and you could make a difference by taking part in the YMCA’s Big Wrap or volunteering to help with the Merton Winter Night Shelter project which runs from December through to February.

And remember, you can enjoy free parking in Merton every weekend up to and including Christmas! Come and celebrate Christmas in Wimbledon.
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Wimbledon commuters to benefit from Waterloo upgrade

The Waterloo and South West Upgrade by South West Trains will see over £800million invested in providing the biggest package of improvements for passengers travelling on the railway to and from London Waterloo for decades. The upgrade work to Waterloo station includeds extending the platforms to accept longer trains. This work has already been carried out at Wimbledon Station, and once completed Wimbledon commuters will benefit from longer trains and an improved timetable from December 2017.

Ahead of these works, South West Trains has issued advanced warning that there will be some short-term disruption to Wimbledon services between 5-28 August 2017.

As a result:

  • Passengers may be asked to queue outside the station
  • There will be timetable changes
  • Services will be much busier than usual
  • Journeys may take longer
  • Passengers may not be able to board the first train on arrival at Wimbledon Station

Passengers travelling from Wimbledon between 5-28 August are advised to:

  • Check the advice for other stations nearby which might have more frequent or less crowded trains
  • Travel slightly earlier or later than normal – the busiest trains arrive in London between 8-9am and leave London between 5.30 – 6.30pm (to facilitate travel outside of these times SW Trains will provide longer trains for extended periods)
  • Avoid travelling if possible – by working from home or planning a summer holiday over this time

Weekday services from Wimbledon will be reduced from 18 trains per hour to 12 trains per hour during this period. South West Trains has published a draft timetable relating to weekday services between 7-24 August. A full, final timetable including weekend and Bank Holiday services will be published in due course.

Please visit South West Trains for more details.


We have all the best pantos in Wimbledon

Wimbledon’s theatres are fizzing this festive season with four fantastic shows for everyone to enjoy:

Babe, The Sheep Pig at Polka Theatre running now until 5 February

Great Expectations in Merton Arts Space at Wimbledon Library opens 30 November until 18 December

Santa’s Polka Dot Pirate at New Wimbledon Studio 6 – 24 December

Dick Whittington at New Wimbledon Theatre (opens 9 December until 15 January)

And don’t miss our exciting new Nutcracker Trail on Saturday 10 December – a FREE yuletide adventure around Wimbledon Town Centre. Can you discover where all the giant Nutcracker Kings are hiding? Come and join the fun and be in with a chance of winning tickest to Dick Whittington!

Doddle makes life even easier

Parcel specialists, Doddle have added a new free service to their offering: hassle-free returns of Marks & Spencer online purchases. Just bring any unwanted items into Doddle and their parcelistas will do the rest. They’ll even provide additional packaging if required, free of charge. For more details on this and all their parcel handling services, such as Doddle Neighbour please visit Doddle’s website.

Doddle is also planning extensive expansion and aims to have 1,000 stores by the end of 2017, including a presence in every branch of Morrisons. Their emphasis is on offering customers quick, convenient parcel handling with a personal touch, making a complicated process swift and simple. With the desire to locate in high footfall locations, Doddle is also in discussions with other supermarket operators, retailers and organisations such as B&Q and Cancer Research. Read more about their plans here.

Doddle Wimbledon is at 17 The Broadway, SW19 1PR.

New £1 coin comes into circulation on 28 March 2017

A new 12-sided £1 coin is due to enter circulation from 28 March 2017.

The current £1 coin is being replaced for the first time in over thirty years because of its vulnerability to sophisticated counterfeiters. Approximately one in thirty £1 coins in circulation is a counterfeit.

The Royal Mint is producing 1.5 billion new, highly secure £1 coins to reduce the costs of counterfeits to businesses and the taxpayer. All businesses which handle cash will need to prepare for the introduction of the new coin, the co-circulation period when the new and old £1 coins are both in circulation at the same time, and for demonetisation in autumn 2017 when the current £1 coin is no longer legal tender.

The advice to businesses in the run-up to March 2017 is:

  • check whether you operate equipment that handles the £1 coin
  • contact your equipment supplier to find out if you need adaptations or replacements and by when
  • make the changes to your coin handling equipment
  • train your staff on the features of the new £1 coin
  • consider any changes to your cash handling processes e.g. counting, storing and banking during the co-circulation period.

For more information please visit thenewpoundcoin.com.

New £1 coin comes into circulation in March 2017

A new 12-sided £1 coin is due to enter circulation from March 2017.

The current £1 coin is being replaced for the first time in over thirty years because of its vulnerability to sophisticated counterfeiters. Approximately one in thirty £1 coins in circulation is a counterfeit.

The Royal Mint is producing 1.5 billion new, highly secure £1 coins to reduce the costs of counterfeits to businesses and the taxpayer.

For more information please visit the thenewpoundcoin.com.

William Morris Award for Contemporary Arts & Crafts

The Management Committee of William Morris House is sponsoring this annual award to recognise the highest quality of artistic endeavour within the local community and to reflect the wide range of disciplines under the Arts and Crafts banner.

William Morris was the moving spirit of the Arts and Crafts Movement at the end of the 19th century. His beliefs, both artistic and altruistic found their highpoint at Merton Abbey Mills in Wimbledon where he produced his world famous designs for fabrics, ceramics and stained glass.

Anyone living, working or studying in the London Borough of Merton can enter for this award. The categories for entry are:

  • Painting
  • Surface Design
  • Stained Glass
  • Printmaking
  • Illustration

Applicants should email wma@vistaevents.co.uk to request an entry form, or download one from the website.

Entry forms must be submitted via email to the William Morris Awards Committee by Friday 9 December

The closing date for entries is 5pm on Friday 10 February 2017.

The judging panel is made up of local artists and people connected with the arts and comprises Simon Betts, Dean of College, Wimbledon College of Arts, Felicity Gill, award winning artist, Tony Kane, Founder, Time and Leisure, Lorraine McGinnis, Former 6th Form College Head of Art, and Steve Spence, Senior Lecturer, University of the Arts London. Awards are:

  • 1st Prize – Adults: £500, U18: £250
  • 2nd Prize – Adults: £350, U18: £150
  • 3rd Prize – Adults: £150, U18: £100

A number of Distinction Awards will also be given to schools and colleges whose work achieves a high order of merit.

The William Morris Award for Contemporary Arts & Crafts is sponsored by Wimbledon Labour Halls Co-Operative Society Ltd and by William Morris House, a community meeting room located at 267 the Broadway in the heart of Merton. Although Morris died in 1896, many of his staff were encouraged by him and his ideas to become involved in community activity.  Workers from the William Morris Works were instrumental in helping to purchase William Morris House. The building was opened on 30 September 1922 by Rt Hon Arthur Henderson MP as meeting rooms for local people and their organisations.

The Award Ceremony will take place in the Burne Jones room of William Morris House, 267 the Broadway, Wimbledon.

Christmas carols in Wimbledon

Wimbledon hosts a variety of carol services in venues across the town centre all through the festive season. Please see links for full details:

Sunday 11 December: Trinity’s Carols Among the Trees

Sunday 18 December: St Mark’s Carols by Candlelight & Holy Trinity’s Carol Service

Thursday 22 December: Bliss Coffee’s Christmas Carols

If you have a Christmas carol event you’d like us to include, please email us the details.