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Green Shoots in Wimbledon

2020 was a year like no other. The challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic impacted several aspects of our own lives, from the way we work, socialise, shop and more, as well as the lives of our businesses and our town centre. Despite this, there were several positive things which happened in 2020, which showed that community spirit, innovation and resilience, are just some of the reasons which make Wimbledon a great town!

New Businesses and Exciting Pop-Up Experiences Landed in Wimbledon

Over the last few months, Wimbledon has seen several small and independent businesses join the town centre, bringing unique product offerings, modern concepts and pop-up experiences, with them.

Centre Court Shopping Centre was brimming with activity, from a new pop-up market exclusively for the festive season, new businesses Heyland & Whittle, Sense Aroma and Wimbledon’s first zero-waste store Zero, as well as a free art exhibition from The Wimbledon Group, showcasing the brilliant work of local artists.

Plus a trendy cocktail bar, a home decor store and a new toy shop have arrived in Wimbledon, providing even more options to shop, eat, experience and love local!

   

For the full story on new businesses in Wimbledon, click here.

Local Events Continued in a Covid-Safe Way

With our thinking caps placed on firmly, our team here at Love Wimbledon, came up with some brilliant ideas to deliver fun FREE events and activities for locals to enjoy, throughout various levels of restrictions. The cancellation of our Big Screen Tennis and Winter Wonderland events, drove us even further to provide the community with some joyous and safe fun for all!

  • Family Events:
    Our ultimate Halloween Pumpkin Hunt saw families/friends hunting down our hidden pumpkins across town and answering questions along the way for a chance to win some brilliant prizes offered by our businesses! Our much-loved outdoor Monthly Markets also returned in a smaller format (to allow for social distancing), having been adapted for Covid-19 and customers being reminded to use contactless payment were possible.
  • Christmas in Wimbledon: 
    The festive spirit could be felt in Wimbledon, as early as mid-November, with our sparkling 25ft Christmas Tree lighting up the entrance to Wimbledon Station. Adapted to serve food only during periods of tighter restrictions, our Christmas Markets on The Piazza continued to be an outdoor shopping destination and an opportunity to feel the magic of Christmas, whilst Wimbledon got it’s first Reindeer Trail experience with integrated Augmented Reality, leading a virtual Santa’s Grotto.
  • Other activities:
    Bringing our favourite childhood characters back into town, a large Wombles mural with a strong environmental message, came to life along the railway tracks into Wimbledon in October. Boards in the foyer of Wimbledon Station were also replaced by the Wombles encouraging us to travel smart, reduce/reuse/recycle, go green and love everything local! 

We thank those of you who took part in our various events or showed your support in other ways. If you missed some of the above then don’t worry – check back to our website for more news and events in 2021!

 


The Community & Business Pull Through Together

If there was ever a time to demonstrate the strength of a community, that time was definitely in 2020.

We saw a tremendous effort from businesses supporting local organisations and wider initiatives (e.g. NHS and key workers), whilst the community showed an overwhelming response to help feed those in need and support the vulnerable. There are so many heroic examples of this such as Wimbledon Guild receiving overwhelming support from the local community and Francis Grove donating space to a Wimbledon-based hospice.

Such a response could be seen from as early on as April 2020, and there seems to be no signs of it dwindling!

 

 

Many new developments are taking place in Wimbledon this year. Click here for more exciting details.

Businesses Building Strong Bonds to the Community

If there was ever a time to demonstrate the strength of a community, that time would be now. 

 

We’ve seen a tremendous effort from businesses supporting local and wider initiatives, recognising the importance of their role in the community. Their resilience and ability to quickly transform in the face of uncertainty has contributed to building stronger bonds to Wimbledon Town Centre.

We know there are many heroes and we’ve highlighted just a few examples of Wimbledon-based businesses doing incredible work to make a difference in our community and beyond.

 

Repurposing Facilities to Combat Covid-19

With a global shortage of hand sanitiser, Coty, one of the largest global beauty companies, repurposed their factories in the UK, USA and Monaco to produce hand sanitising gel, distributing products free of charge to medical and emergency staff. Donations are expected to reach tens of thousands each week.

Firecracker Works, an event production company, adapted their facilities to manufacture PPE for the NHS, Healthcare and Frontline workers, with a target of producing 30,000 face visors.

Leading food packaging manufacturer, RAP, turned over its production line to manufacture disposable face shields, with an ambitious goal of delivering between seven and ten million a week.

 

Supporting the NHS and Other Organisations

Domestic & General partnered with Salute the NHS, a group of leading businesses including Tesco, Yodel, Absolute Taste, Leeways and British Army, Team Rubicon UK, to serve 1 million nutritious meals to key frontline NHS workers over the next three months.

Icon Solutions, a payment and enterprise solutions provider in the finance sector, generously contributed to Wimbledon Guild’s Covid-19 fund to enable them to continue to support the most vulnerable people in our community.

The Alexandra Pub alone has made over 4,000 meals for the NHS, whilst Lush donated bath bombs to NHS staff working on the frontline,  Elys supplied Easter Eggs to NHS workers and textiles to Ricards Lodge to be made into kit washing bags whilst Wilko donated toiletries and cleaning products to the Dons Local Action Group.

Feeding the Community

There’s been an overwhelming response to help feed the community. From donations to the Wimbledon Foodbank to feeding frontline healthcare workers and residents in need, we’ve seen stellar collaborations between businesses and organisations like the Dons Local Action GroupThe Old Rutlishians’ and The Old Wimbledonians’ Associations, The Little Community That Could (created by Centre Court) and the Wimbledon Guild.

Although culture may be on hold, Polka Theatre and the New Wimbledon Theatre have a presence through community outreach and establishments like The Antoinette Hotel, The Old Frizzle, Wibbas Down, Wahaca and Leon have each contributed through various initiatives, like providing food for meals at Merton’s Winter Night Shelter,  Wimbledon Foodbank and Merton Covid Mutual Aid and other organisations.

A big thank you to the Town Centre’s supermarkets, Morrisons, Tesco, Little Waitrose, Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury’s who have all made significant contributions and the countless cafes, restaurants and food shops who have provided discounts or priority shopping hours to NHS staff and vulnerable people.

 

 

All of these efforts signify hope and community spirit and a testament that together we will weather the storm and come out stronger on the other side.

#StrongerTogether

 

 

Wimbledon Guild Overwhelmed by Support from Local Community

Wimbledon Guild has praised Merton’s community spirit in helping them to support the most vulnerable in our community.

The impact of the coronavirus outbreak on our community is unprecedented. Wimbledon Guild is providing practical and emotional support to the most vulnerable in Merton. The charity has seen a huge increase in people needing help and it is currently supporting more people than ever before.

Wimbledon Guild is a local charity with the aims of reducing social isolation and loneliness, helping people through difficult times and enabling older people to be active and healthy. During the coronavirus pandemic the charity is supporting over 600 existing customers as well as providing assistance to over 400 vulnerable people in Merton who have been referred to the charity through the Covid-19 Community Response Helpline.

Wimbledon Guild has required additional volunteers to deal with the increase in demand. The charity has issued several asks for support from the local community and have received an outpouring of help in return. It now wants to say thank you to the people of Merton for their support.

Wendy Pridmore, CEO at Wimbledon Guild comments; “We have needed additional volunteers and funds to cope with the extra demand the outbreak has put on our services. The response has been greater than we could ever have hoped for and we are hugely grateful to local people for their support and generosity.

Every time we’ve put out a request for help, we’ve been overwhelmed by the positive response from our community. We wanted to take this opportunity to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has volunteered, donated, raised money for us or got involved in other ways.”

So far, over £30,000 has been donated to the Wimbledon Guild Covid-19 Relief Fund Appeal. The money is going towards delivering food, medicine and other essential supplies to those unable to leave their home and giving supermarket vouchers to those with no other source of funds.

The charity’s corporate partners have made financial donations and supplied volunteers to help support its work. Waitrose Wimbledon and Marks and Spencer have provided fresh produce for Wimbledon Guild to distribute to families most in need.

 

“During this time when our customers are unable to visit us, we’re taking Wimbledon Guild to them. By partnering with a local catering business, we’re able to cook nutritious meals for us to deliver to our HomeFood Café customers. Our army of dedicated staff and volunteers have been contacting every customer, many of whom have been advised by the Government not to leave the house, to make sure they have what they need and give them a connection to life outside their homes. Every day we’re inspired by our volunteers sharing their time and talents with us, and by the positivity and resilience of our customers.”

Wendy Pridmore, CEO at Wimbledon Guild

 

Volunteers have been telling Wimbledon Guild how good it feels to be making a difference and doing something useful during the outbreak. Directly seeing the impact of their acts of kindness on the lives of others is very rewarding.

Volunteers like Mark from Wimbledon, who helps Wimbledon Guild alongside his day job:

“I really enjoy volunteering. It’s a great chance to meet interesting people in the local community and hear some of their stories as well as making a real difference to their lives. During the current situation

I feel it’s even more important to help out, and the work gives me a fantastic sense of doing something worthwhile.”

The charity has also been hearing from its customers on how they are keeping their spirits up.

Wimbledon Guild regulars Helen (89) and Laurie (91) shared their story in the hope of inspiring others during lockdown.

They are both regulars at Wimbledon Guild, with Helen usually visiting every day to take part in one of many scheduled activities.

During lockdown they’re making sure they keep physically fit thanks to activities set by one of the charity’s class instructors. “We both do weights and then incorporate some of Chris’ exercises from the usual Wednesday morning class!”

They’re also keeping mentally active with Brain Games sent to them from another of Wimbledon Guild’s instructors; “Thanks for the great Brain Games – up till now we have been doing online word games and Sudoku”.

Most importantly, the couple are staying positive and looking forward to better days ahead; “We’ll see you back at Wimbledon Guild when we’re able to!”

Wimbledon Guild wouldn’t be able to achieve what it has, and will continue to in future, without the kindness and generous help of local people. The charity says it’s heartening that in this time of crisis our community spirit is shining through.

Wendy Pridmore, CEO, leaves us with the comment that; “Life will return to normal, but a new normal – one where our sense of community and togetherness is stronger. Through it all Wimbledon Guild will continue to be here for Merton, as we have been for the past 111 years. Thank you.”

For more information about how Wimbledon Guild are supporting the people of Merton during the coronavirus pandemic visit www.wimbledonguild.co.uk.