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Community Bytes

A newsletter from your local charity focusing on community spaces across Merton, and how we use these to connect people, places and passions.
A Note From The Wimbledon Community Association (WCA)

Welcome to the October edition of Community Bytes, our monthly e-newsletter which brings you community related news alongside a range of other topics. In this edition, our monthly spotlight focuses on the Merton Giving Initiative run by Jenny O’Neil, in partnership with the Merton Chamber of Commerce. In addition, we have featured reviews of local community events such as the Eden Stell Guitar Duo which took place in Raynes Park earlier this month, and a recollection of recent experiences at the Merton Arts Space in Wimbledon Library. We also have an insight from local drama society, the Carlton Theatre Group on some of their actors' recent appearance as 'supernumeraries' in a series of sell out performances of PW Productions' take on JB Priestley's classic thriller "An Inspector Calls" at the New Wimbledon Theatre. With so much happening this Autumn, our event reviews and local stories continue on our Wimblecomm blog where you can also enjoy a write-up of Max Hastings' fascinating talk at Wimbledon Bookfest, and an account of an eventful trip to Berlin by a local Dads football group.

As well as updates to our blog, you may notice that Wimblecomm has recently undergone a facelift which will continue in the near future with updated Venue and Venue Search pages. We are also pleased to announce that we will soon be launching a brand new Venue Directory featuring basic contact details of 80+ community venues that are currently available for hire across Merton.

Whilst we are now running a Key Dates for Your Diary section in our newsletter, we would like to bring your attention to our Annual General Meeting (AGM) which is taking place on Wednesday 28th November from 6.45pm at the Mansel Road Centre in Wimbledon. All WCA members and anyone interested in Wimblecomm and the WCA are invited to attend. Further details of the event will be communicated to members by direct invitation and will be available to all on social media and Wimblecomm. 

We hope you enjoy reading this edition of Community Bytes, and encourage you to connect with us on social media to stay updated on all Wimblecomm matters! If you would like to receive future editions straight to your inbox, make sure you visit us at Wimblecomm and subscribe.

The Team at WCA

Community Updates

Key Dates for Your Diary

With the clocks having gone back, we are now in the Winter season which brings a number of wonderful events and a slow build-up to the festive season.  In this section and on our Community Noticeboard, you will find a selection of events taking place at some of our member venues. 

Below we also have a display of flyers of upcoming events that are listed on our Community Noticeboard. Be sure to check this out, and do continue to send us your events if you are already a WCA member. Alternatively, contact us if you would like to list your venue and/or event on Wimblecomm.

New Venues on Wimblecomm

We are delighted to still offer free listings for not-for-profit venues that hire out community space in Merton, so if this applies, do get in touch today. We also encourage commercial venues that are interested in advertising on Wimblecomm to contact us and find out about our competitive advertising rates.

Pictured above is the South Wimbledon Community Association's Annexe One located in the heart of South Wimbledon. The SWCA also offer various other spaces for hire including the Annexe Two, the Cambridge Room and the Wellington Room which can all be enquired about through Wimblecomm at the touch of a button.

If you are interested in registering your venue on Wimblecomm, or would like to suggest a community space for hire that we don't already have listed, we would love to hear from you. Find out more about listing a venue here.  Our membership policy for 2018/19 can be downloaded here, and our new flyer can be downloaded here.

This Month's Spotlight -
Merton Giving

Who are you?

This month, we spoke with Jenny O'Neil who runs the Merton Giving Initiative in partnership with the Merton Chamber of Commerce. She advised on the following...

Merton Giving are the newest addition to the London’s Giving network which is developing across London in individual boroughs, bringing local communities together to raise awareness and tackle local issues such as poverty, exclusion, loneliness and mental health.

Based on the notion that we can all give something – time, skills as well as monetary donations – Merton Giving develops relationships with businesses, community groups and individuals to support local charities throughout the borough. We raise the profile of giving for all charities working within the borough and encourage this on a local basis.

What do you do for the community?

We shine a light on issues in our borough making local people aware of local challenges across Merton that they may not be aware of. We fundraise to build the Merton Giving Fund which will provide an additional source of financial support for charities that work in the borough. We help generate in-kind support to help voluntary sector organisations in Merton. In-kind support could be anything ranging from helping find a trustee to finding volunteers to help support certain initiatives. 

How can I find out more and get involved?

Support our Merton Giving Week campaign – an official week of fundraising which will take part from 26th November to 2nd December. You can join the conversation by making a pledge of support for Merton Giving or, if you’re looking for support send us your request. 

Tell us your giving stories! In the run-up to Merton Giving Week we’re keen to tell your stories of giving.  Have you been involved in giving locally in 2018?  However big or small, we’d love to hear about it.

To be part of Merton Giving Week, email your pledges of support, requests for in-kind support or giving stories to  and use #hellomertongiving #mgweek to highlight it on social media.

To find out more, click here
From the Wimblecomm Blog...
On our blog, WCA Trustee Roger Drage shares his experience of Wimbledon Bookfest's sold-out event with British Journalist and renowned Author Max Hastings. In this article, Roger offers a brief synopsis of Max Hastings' talk and an insight into his new book Vietnam: An Epic Tragedy, 1945-1975.

Additionally, local Dads football group (Pelham Dads) share their story on how things played out when they visited Germany for their annual European trip and fixture against Potsdam (German Ebay team.)

P.S. If you would like to feature on our blog or see your event review featured in our next Community Bytes newsletter, get in touch.

Recent Events in Our Community

An Inspector Calls Up Carlton Theatre Group
Written by David Hall

Local drama society, Carlton Theatre Group and former user of our old community centre, is now based at the William Morris Rooms.  However, rarely can a group of its actors have the chance to play in front of eight sell out audiences of almost 1700, per performance, in the main Wimbledon Theatre.  But that is exactly what happened to a small team of Carlton performers earlier this month!

To be fair, the four Carlton actors (including myself, my wife Jil, Raoul de Bunsen and Pamela Warren) were only unpaid ‘supernumeraries’, when An Inspector Calls, written by JB Priestly came to town from 2 – 6 October.  However, the experience for anyone interested in theatre, was an invaluable one.

Carlton regularly gets contacted by touring groups or local casting companies asking for extras or actors to assist on student films and the like - and no doubt others have taken up other such opportunities.

However the chance to perform in the award-winning production was too good to miss.  In Stephen Daldry’s revival of the classic (which has been running since 1992) the ‘supers’ appear for about 15 minutes and operate akin to a silent ‘Greek chorus’ representing Eva Smith’s peers, observing and judging the disdainful and imperious Birling family who are indirectly responsible for Eva’s death.

In a dramatic finale the whole Birling façade literally and then metaphorically collapses following the Inspector’s damning condemnation.

The touring company and cast (made up of just seven actors and four understudies) were very welcoming to the Carlton team (plus three other ‘supers’ and a few local children) during a very hectic week.  Following a trip to Cheltenham the company will then be taking the show to the States to perform at Washington DC, Los Angeles, Chicago and Boston over the coming months. 

If you missed this appearance, Carlton is performing Shakespeare’s ‘The Winter’s Tale’ in the more modest surroundings of the Wimbledon Theatre Studio from 13-17 November.

Carlton is now over 90 years old and is hoping to announce its new season of plays later in the year here. Anyone interested in getting involved in any capacity (including backstage) will be very welcome to come along to one of their open events or auditions in the new year at the William Morris Rooms.  

As whilst it may be true that ‘all the world’s a stage’, why not ‘screw your courage to the sticking place’ for the ‘valiant never taste of death but once’…

Well done to anyone who spotted that these are all Shakespeare quotes! If you enjoyed this, read the full event review on our Wimblecomm blog.

Event Review - Eden Stell Guitar Duo
Written by Kathie Arundel, WCA Volunteer

It was a wet and cold Saturday evening that beckoned a full house to one of our listed venues, St Saviour’s Church Raynes Park, to attend a classical guitar concert by the internationally renowned Eden Stell Guitar Duo (Mark Eden and Christopher Stell) A Duo known for their dynamism and innovation, they are widely regarded as one of the world’s leading guitar ensembles.  As a Dutch reviewer critiqued: “they have breathed new life into the world of classical guitar” – and they did not disappoint!

Whilst the range of pieces played included European artistes Giuliani, Scarlatti, Mompou and Brahms, some of which dated back to the 18th century, the modernising of the arrangements by the Duo and the acclaimed John Williams put to bed the idea that such music was restricted to just the influence of the Catalan province. Indeed with the modern twist to the arrangements there were joyous sounds of the flamenco dance but also those of gentle breezes, lullabies and la danse au francais!

And St Saviour’s as hosts did not disappoint either. With £1 glasses of carefully chosen wines and a range of nibbles on the table, the £12 tickets were a bargain given the calibre of the charming and self-effacing Duo. The audience gave them spontaneous and rightly deserved applause and I rather think that the grand Church organ behind the guitarists chimed in too!  An evening of sheer delight.

For more event reviews, you can visit the Wimblecomm blog. Alternatively, if you have attended an event within Merton that you would like to share your experience on, we always welcome new submissions for publishing on our website, or as a feature in the next Community Bytes newsletter. Do get in contact and/or send us your ideas; we look forward to hearing from you soon.

Exploring Merton Arts Space
Written by Jackie, WCA Secretary

I’ve been to three events in Merton Arts Space in the course of ten days – all very different, demonstrating the role this space plays in the community.

Firstly, on 4 October, was the launch of Wimbledon’s 2018 Bookfest – an evening with the author Lionel Shriver. The event was managed by the Bookfest team alongside staff and volunteers from the library service. Over 200 people attended to hear the author of We Need to Talk about Kevin (plus many others) in conversation with Samira Ahmed, who conducted the interview very adeptly. Bookfest has become a key part of Wimbledon life, and it’s great that the library service has such a fantastic space to host the launch event each year.

The second event, on 12 October, was a performance of a play by the Attic Theatre Company, The Rebellious Women of Wimbledon, which tells the story of Wimbledon resident and suffragette, Rose Lamartine Yates. It was simply staged in the round, but very successfully conveyed the intelligence, wit and determination of local women to fight for their right to vote and have a voice in society. Attic Theatre is a local, professional theatre group, and has performed in Merton Arts Space each year since it opened.

The final event was part of Libraries Week which took place between the 8–13 October to celebrate the nation’s much-loved libraries. This year, with a focus on wellbeing; libraries across the country showcased how they bring communities together, helping to combat loneliness, and provide a space for reading and creativity. Wimbledon Library ended its 2018 programme with a showing of the film The Greatest Showman, using the Arts Space as a cinema. So, three very different events in this versatile space. It is very special to have a library service that can place such a key role in the cultural life of our borough.
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Copyright © 2018 Wimbledon Community Association, All rights reserved.
We are creating this local newsletter as a part of our community service to keep members of the local community up-to-date with all things happening in Merton. Alongside our website 'Wimblecomm'; we actively support not-for-profit venues in the local area who hire out space and help to connect people with places, and their passions.

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Our mailing address is:
Wimbledon Community Association Limited
c/o 66 Kings Road
London SW19 8QW


Registered Charity No 1097305
Company Number 03825493

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Wimbledon Community Association · 66 Kings Road · Wimbledon, London SW19 8QW · United Kingdom

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