First published by the SLRA June 2016
THIS EVENT HAS PASSED
TRIBUTE TO JO COX | Join the Centenary Refugee Rally
Featuring keynote speaker Lord Alf Dubs, child refugee campaigner and himself a wartime refugee.
When: 6:30pm, Friday 24 June
Where: Rushmere Pond, Wimbledon Common
Just over 100 years ago, on 17 October 1914, hundreds of residents attended a meeting on Wimbledon Common called by the Wimbledon and Merton Refugee Fund.
Its purpose was to help Belgian refugees fleeing their country at the start of World War 1.
Without passionate campaigners like Jo Cox,
Come and show how much Merton residents still care about refugees 100 years on from the original rally!
LET US KNOW YOU’RE COMING HERE
100 years later we want to repeat this rally in order to call for support for refugees today. We have invited Lord Dubs to address us. He was a child refugee himself whose life was saved by the Kindertransport initiative. He will be able to tell us about his amendment that will compel our government to accept unaccompanied children.Bring picnic, a blanket and your friends and neighbours
DETAILED INFO FOR EVENT:
A letter published in the Wimbledon Guardian this week took a look back at the compassion shown by residents in Wimbledon. Here’s the letter in full. PLEASE LET US KNOW IF YOU CAN HELP IN ANY WAY, AS WE ARE PUTTING ON AN EVENT 24th JUNE – MORE INFO HERE
Jackie Schneider went to Calais this half term. “I wasn’t entirely sure if the songs and games I had planned would be of any use so I was prepared to work in the warehouse rather then teach if need be. I had been told that the children were not ready for formal lessons and that concentration was a problem. They were entirely ready for singing however.”… Continue reading at her blog.
Merton Residents Welcome Refugees
In September 2015, as the refugee crisis across Europe was intensifying, local residents Jackie Schneider and John Merriman observed a desperate need to connect local people’s compassion, with needs locally, in Calais, and across the world.
Within 5 days, they contacted (via social media, the local press and word of mouth) almost 100 residents to begin a conversation with Merton Council and various refugee organisations already at work locally.
During the open meeting, many residents spoke up displaying their passionate desire to get involved, and as a result, an ever-growing online database has been set up, where residents can offer their time, skills or finances.
We are intentionally not set up as a trust or charity, since there are fantastic organisations already at work who we are forming strong relationships with across the borough, and further afield.
Safely arrived at Merton Council’s storage room, our donations of toiletries for refugees.
Thank you to the schools, churches and individuals who collected toothbrushes, cleaning products and sanitary products. They are now safely stored and ready for distribution.
Thank you to for the responses to the various requests on our Facebook page. For example, this delivery was only possible because someone volunteered their car to make the delivery. To see the latest requests for help – please visit the Merton Welcomes Refugees Facebook page.
A practical way to make a huge difference
Can you give a couple of hours a week? Merton Home Tutoring Service was set up six years ago, and now has about 40 trained volunteers. We provide English language tuition in the homes of adults in the London Borough of Merton for whom English is an additional language and for whom it is difficult to attend formal classes.
People learn the English they need immediately. They usually want to communicate better with teachers, doctors, health visitors and others. They may want social English, so they can chat to neighbours or make new friends. They may want to gain confidence after a period at home; aim for employment; a qualification; or to play a part in local activities with English speaking people. Clearly, English is the key to participation in these things and to
We will be running a tutor training course in November 2016, and we would like to have volunteers from a wide range of backgrounds who speak English fluently. Our training will take place at The Wimbledon Guild for Social Welfare. The course is for 19 hours spread over several weeks (Thursday evenings and Saturdays during the day). If you would like to volunteer we ask that you can commit to giving one hour a week for teaching and at least one hour for preparation, for at least six months following the training.
It will give you as a volunteer a chance to get to know about other people living in Merton and their ways of doing things. You will learn a lot about the English language. You will join a group doing the same thing, meeting up regularly. It is fun and very worthwhile. If you have any questions about the programme, please get in touch with me, Sophie Johnstone at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07580 765118. Our website is www.mhts.org.uk
Locals providing Oyster Cards for refugees
You can now buy an oyster card and put some money on it. We know that asylum seekers and refugees live on very small amounts of money and they struggle with cost of transport transport. We have been told stories of people unable to attend medical appointments or being forced to walk miles to attend meetings with officials. South London Refugee Association will distribute the cards for us.
You can either pop the oyster card in the post to South London Refugee Association Merton, Vestry Hall, London Road, Mitcham CR4 3UD or drop it into Londis, 34 Crown Lane, Morden (opposite civic centre). Anil and Rashpal Patel, in Londis, are happy to collect them for us. Please stick a post-it note on the card telling us how much money is on it.
Cross party statement on the refugee crisis from the Leader of the Council at the London Borough of Merton to the council meeting on Wednesday 09 September 2015
I would like to make a cross party statement as Leader of the Council on behalf of all the party leaders and all councillors. I know that I have the support of the whole chamber for this statement.
You would need to have a heart of stone not to be moved by the scenes that we have witnessed recently across Europe. Men, women, children and whole families in desperate plight are being uprooted from their homes by war and turmoil. The horror of the situation has been brought home to us all by tragic pictures beamed throughout the world of poor Aylan Kurdi, the little boy whose body was washed up on a beach.
We have all been contacted by residents keen to provide whatever help they can. Merton Council, which has been working with refugees for many years, is helping to co-ordinate these efforts. We have been speaking with Merton’s faith communities and voluntary sector agencies and they are working with us to assist.
Merton is on standby and ready to help. We will take our fair allocation of refugees by working with London Councils. The recent announcement by the Government has indicated that financial support and additional powers are to be made available to councils. We welcome that and look forward to receiving more detailed information in the coming days.
Merton has a proud tradition of helping those in need. With the support of all sides of the chamber we must, can and will fulfil the trust our residents place in us to do the right thing in a time of crisis.
Thank you Mr Mayor