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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:

YMCA Wimbledon Development Breaks Ground

On Friday 23rd July, YMCA Wimbledon held an exciting celebration to mark the beginning of works to redevelop the site, which was attended by local stakeholders and Councillor Eleanor Stringer, Joint Deputy Leader of Merton Council and Cabinet Member for Children and Education.

 

In December 2020, a resolution to grant consent for the redevelopment of YMCA Wimbledon at 200 The Broadway was approved by Merton Council’s Planning Committee. The proposals put forward by YMCA St Paul’s Group and their development partner, Thornsett, will allow for the delivery of a new state-of-the-art YMCA building, alongside an adjoining development of 135 new homes and two new commercial units at ground floor.

 

Redevelopment of the site will enable YMCA St Paul’s Group to continue their work in the borough, which has been ongoing for the past 150 years, and to deliver wider benefits to the community.

 

The current building requires urgent modernisation. The scheme will provide 121 hostel rooms with en-suite bathrooms and cooking facilities, to help give residents a better quality of life and support them back into independent living.

 

YMCA residents and the Wimbledon community will also benefit from new and improved, affordable facilities, including a gym, bigger studio space for fitness classes, a children’s area and brand-new YMCA café.

 

YMCA St Paul’s Group and Thornsett have since selected Neilcott – a regional contractor with over 50 years’ experience in the construction business and a member of the Considerate Constructors Scheme – to build the new YMCA.

 

Construction of the scheme will take place in phases, with Phase 1 works for the new YMCA building beginning shortly and expected to be completed by summer 2023. Phase 2 for the new residential development will commence subsequently and will take a further 2 years.

 

In the coming weeks, preliminary works will be undertaken to prepare the site for construction. Demolition of Tower Lodge will begin in August, followed by Olympic House in September. Local residents have been notified about this upcoming activity and a dedicated Construction Working Group is being established.

 

Commenting on the commencement of construction, Councillor Stringer said:

“I am delighted to be able to mark the start of a new future for the YMCA in the borough. It is exciting to see work begin to provide enhanced accommodation for vulnerable young people locally and to offer facilities that will benefit the whole community, as well as much-needed new homes.”

 

Richard James, CEO of YMCA St Paul’s Group said:

“This is an extremely exciting moment for YMCA St Paul’s Group, our residents and the local community, as we break ground on the new YMCA Wimbledon. Our vision is to create places where young people thrive and communities flourish and this new state-of-the-art YMCA building will enable just that. We’re grateful to the local residents, Merton Council, Thornsett, Neilcott and Councillor Stringer for their support of this important development.”


Bernadette Cunningham, Director of Thornsett said:

“Having engaged closely with the local community and Merton Council to secure planning permission, we are thrilled to now be commencing construction on this important development, which will deliver a new YMCA Wimbledon that can be enjoyed by the community for generations to come. Importantly, this has been enabled by the provision of the adjoining residential development, which will help to address an under-provision of homes suitable for first time buyers in the borough. After many years of hard work, we are delighted to be working together with YMCA St Paul’s Group and Neilcott to get this underway.”


To find out more, click here.