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Merton Best Business Award-Winners 2021

After a one-year break, over 200 local business people gathered yesterday evening, 1st December, for the Merton Best Business Awards (MBBA) at the prestigious All England Tennis Club.

The MBBAs were redesigned for 2021 to recognise the challenges faced by businesses during the pandemic. A range of new categories and an easier application process attracted the highest ever number of applications in the Awards’ nine-year history – testament to the resilience and determination of Merton’s businesses in the face of such difficult operating conditions.

Helen Clark Bell, CEO of Love Wimbledon, said:

‘It was a brilliant evening and great to see businesses recognised for their resilience and celebrating together in person after a tough couple of years.’

 

Lu-Ma Café

Love Wimbledon BID business, Lu-Ma Café, scored a hat trick, coming away with category awards for ‘Star of the Year’ and ‘In the Face of Adversity’, and were crowned Overall Winner while Wimbledon Bookfest took home the ‘Arts & Culture’ award.

Wimbledon Bookfest

The Polka Theatre, The Wimbledon Group and Finling Associates Ltd were runners up for the ‘In the Face of Adversity’, ‘Arts & Culture’ and ‘Best Innovation and Customer Focus’ awards respectively.

A full list of winners and runners-up can be found on the Merton Best website here.

Love Wimbledon were proud to be gold sponsors of this event and sponsored the ‘In the Face of Adversity Award’, recognising business resilience over the last 18 months.

Wimbledon’s First Breathe Café Joins Lu-Ma

Local café Lu-Ma have collaborated with mental health charity, Shawmind, to open the first ‘Breathe Café’ in Wimbledon Town Centre.

The concept of a Breathe Café, was created by mental health charity Shawmind, and is a safe space where the public can go and read books in the wellbeing library, connect with a volunteer and find resources to help support them.

Mayor of Merton, Councillor Michael Brunt, attended the launch party stating:

“It is such a great idea to provide this type of help in this way and I am delighted to add my support”.

Breathe Cafés are not clinics or therapy sessions, and volunteers provide signposting and active listening support only – nothing offered by the Breathe Café replaces the advice of a mental health professional. Shawmind strongly believe that early intervention in this way, can help head off more serious mental health challenges in individuals in the future. It aims to partner with coffee shops and restaurants around the country to roll out Breathe Cafés in every community. Lu-Ma represents the first such partnership.

“When I met Maria I realised that we have an ideal partner to set up our first Breathe Café in Wimbledon. Her passion for better mental health and better physical wellbeing, through healthy eating, seemed like a natural fit with Shawmind and we are delighted to be launching the first Breathe Café at Lu-Ma.”

– James Espey, President of Shawmind

Maria Jessiman, co-owner of the family-run café added:

“We look forward to opening a space where people can feel seen, heard and valued without judgement.”

The plant-based healthy food café Lu-Ma, was born out of a desire to provide a hub in the heart of Wimbledon to help support the community’s physical and mental well-being. Mental health has always been something close to Maria and her families’ heart. This new initiative adds another dimension to the café which has previously held well-being events, meditations and courses, and looks to continue to do more in the future.

Employees in Wimbledon can access helpful mental health resources in Lu-Ma café, which is located at 43 Worple Road, Wimbledon, SW19 4JZ. Simply scan the QR code which is visible throughout the venue. To find out more click here.