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Support The Community This Christmas

We continue to be proud of Wimbledon businesses and their recognition of their role locally to help those in need in the community.  Efforts have continued on from the pandemic to help those who are struggling for food, shelter, clothing or access to technology for education.

Morrisons Community Champion has donated toys to Dons Local Action Group, food to YMCA Wimbledon, plus stationary and treats to Polka Theatre. Harnham HQ have continued their annual tradition of volunteering at Wimbledon Foodbank and local pubs The Alexandra and the Prince of Wales pub recently offered a meal for two and a bottle of wine for YMCA’s annual Star Awards on 18th November, to help celebrate the team’s hard work and dedication to their role over the last year.

There are a range of ways that your business and employees can get involved to help those who may struggle this winter, including donating to local charities and organisations, who work to reach those in need. See ideas below.

Shoebox Appeal

Until 11th December, South Western Railway staff are running their annual Shoebox Appeal in Wimbledon Station, collecting donations to support Merton Faith in Action (FiA) and their homeless drop-in centre. Fill a shoebox full of items that might be useful for those who are homeless, e.g. toothbrushes, toothpaste, socks, scarves, hats and non-perishable foods, then drop off your box at Wimbledon Station ticket hall.

Toy Donation

The Entertainer are accepting donations of plastic children’s toys (must be in good condition) which will be rehomed via The Salvation Army and Morrisons Wimbledon has set up a Toy Donation Station at the front of the store where toys will be donated via Dons Local Action Group. The Community Giving Christmas Tree, beside the toy donation point, is another great way to donate.

Furniture, Food and Technology

Dons Local Action Group welcomes donations of laptops for young people who do not have access to the internet via a computer at home, as well as furniture and food items. Originally formed by fans of AFC Wimbledon during the Covid-19 pandemic, the charity continues to collect food and essential items outside Morrisons Wimbledon, to deliver to those in need in the local community.

Wimbledon Foodbank provides three days of nutritionally balanced emergency food and support to local people who are referred to them in crisis. They are encouraging the local community to purchase a supermarket gift card, which will allow a family to buy the essentials for a Christmas dinner. Check out their weekly update of the urgent items that are needed here and read more ideas about how you can help struggling families this Christmas here.

Other local organisations that could benefit donations or volunteering assistance include:

Facilitating New Partnerships: RSPCA & Centre Court

Love Wimbledon often facilitates collaboration between Wimbledon businesses and local organisations, and recently helped RSPCA Wimbledon find much-needed storage space in the town centre, so that they can continue their animal welfare work.

When Putney Animal Hospital closed last year, RSPCA Wimbledon, Wandsworth & Sutton District Branch lost their Cat/Kitten Rehoming Centre, situated on the site. The branch manager, Laura Kennedy, approached the Love Wimbledon team to see if we could help the branch to find suitable premises to store their equipment and supplies for their animal welfare work in the area. The RSPA branch also supports Wimbledon Foodbank with a Pet Foodbank, and accepts and processes donations for their two charity shops in Earlsfield and Wandsworth. It was crucial to find available space to organise these vital activities.

Kevin Gallagher, Operations Manager at Love Wimbledon, approached the Centre Director of Centre Court Shopping Centre, Simon Plumb, to see if he could help. Simon kindly agreed to supply a unit (free of charge) for an initial 6-month period to Laura, and the whole branch, who were delighted and relieved at the news. Kevin commented: “It is great that Centre Court could step in and support this local branch of a national charity. Another good example of Love Local, at this difficult time.”

“We deeply appreciate this help from the business community of Wimbledon Town Centre, which in turn will allow us to continue our work supporting animals and vulnerable pet owners in our area. We would like to think it is the start of a great partnership”

– Carmel Suthons-Saker, Branch Chair, RSPCA Wimbledon

Laura, Branch Manager at RSPCA Wimbledon, Wandsworth & Sutton also added – “many thanks to both Kevin from Love Wimbledon and Simon from Centre Court for helping us through this difficult situation, it has been a real lifesaver!”.

Love Wimbledon are a conduit of partnerships such as this, which support a great cause, build new connections for our businesses and bring further exposure to our town centre.

 

Businesses Assist the Community Through Covid

Despite the challenges presented by Covid-19, Wimbledon businesses recognised the importance of their role in the community.

2020 saw a tremendous effort from Wimbledon businesses to support local and wider initiatives during the Coronavirus pandemic, from local foodbanks to the NHS, and our key workers.

Many businesses and organisations have made heroic efforts and done incredible work, to assist those who are vulnerable or in need within our town. Such responses could be seen from as early on as April 2020, with support from businesses continuing through lockdowns, Christmas and other periods of particular difficulty. With there being an ongoing need for assistance due to the pandemic, there is no sign of support from our businesses dwindling, as 2021 begins.

Here are just a few examples:

Christmas Donations

Students and their families from Wimbledon High generously donated Christmas presents for Wimbledon Guild’s Give a Gift at Christmas campaign, to support children across Merton who would otherwise receive no gift at all. 

Supermarkets Support

To make up for their annual Christmas party being cancelled, the staff of Tesco Metro in Centre Court Shopping Centre, donated toys and food to the Dons Local Action Group, who deliver such items to those in need in the local community. Local Sainsburys and Waitrose stores also donated various items to Wimbledon Guild over the Christmas period.

Office-based Businesses Chip In

We have also seen many of our office-based businesses in Wimbledon supporting local causes such as Domestic and General, who donated money to Wimbledon Guild that would have otherwise been spent on Secret Santa gift exchanges between colleagues and raised over £200. The headquarters of CIPD donated 50 devices to the Keep Kids Connected scheme run by the Dons Local Action Group, to assist children and schools who need such equipment to support remote learning.

 

Local businesses supporting local charities, in-turn supports the community, and strengthens the bonds in our area, meaning that despite these ongoing challenges, Wimbledon will return from Covid-19 as a stronger and more resilient town for all.

If your business can help the community throughout Covid-19 by donating food, drink, clothing, technology or financial support please get in touch with Kevin Gallagher at KevinG@lovewimbledon.org. For a list of local charitable organisations click here.