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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 December 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 our Merry Merton social campaign run by Genevieve Etienne-Farrell. In addition, we have featured reviews of local community events such as the Film Merton Launch, a show at the Polka Theatre and a review of a Bauble Making Workshop at South Park Gardens.

With the festive season in full flow and many events happening in Merton during December, this will be our last newsletter of 2018, so our WCA Chair David Hall shares a reflection on the past year below.

"By any stretch of the imagination the last 12 months has been a busy period for the WCA but as American philosopher, Henry David Thoreau once said, it’s not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: what are we busy about?

Following a report by Superhighways in January, we embarked on various changes to the website, and still have further works planned. The number of venue spaces on the site has now grown from 66 to 112 which has led to an increase in our membership. Regular visitors to the website will have noticed a significant increase in the number of local events published on our Community Noticeboard and reviewed on our Blog. With this, our social media presence has also increased, and we now produce this regular e-newsletter. This was in part due to some additional paid support for Susanne which has been provided by Genevieve, who has been working with us since April.

During Spring, we had a student report from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute which helped focus some of our thoughts.  A subsequent options exercise led to an internal review of the charity’s wider purpose and the ongoing development of a business plan for Wimblecomm. We plan to announce the results of this in March 2019.

I delivered a more expansive presentation on all of this at the Annual General Meeting on 28 November, along with my personal vision for the future of Wimblecomm.  Details of that can be found with the draft minutes here along with the subsequent discussion.

The report includes various thanks which I won’t repeat here, but suffice to say that if you are reading this, then thanks to you and everyone else who has supported us in 2018. We hope you will continue to engage with us in the coming year.  A very merry Christmas from all of us here at Wimblecomm and a happy 2019."

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 including the #MerryMerton campaign! 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

We are now fully into the festive season, so in this section and on our Community Noticeboard, you will find a selection of community events taking place within Merton. 

  • Sun 6th January 2019 - Closing date for Film Merton applications 
  • Sat 26th January 2019 - Merton Live! presented by Wimbledon Guild & the New Wimbledon Theatre
  • Wed 27th February 2019 - Mitcham Community Forum Meeting
  • Thurs 28th February 2019 - Morden Community Forum
  • Tues 26th March 2019 - Raynes Park Community Form
  • Thurs 28th March 2019 - Wimbledon Community Forum

Remember that if you are already a WCA member, you can list events taking place at your venue on our Community Noticeboard for free. Alternatively, contact us if you would like to list your venue and/or event on Wimblecomm.

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 Wimbledon Guild's Large Hall otherwise known as Drake House, located in the heart of Wimbledon. The Wimbledon Guild also offer a Training Room for hire which can also 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 -

Who are you?

With the end of the year approaching quickly, the Wimblecomm team have created a social media campaign entitled #MerryMerton which runs across the Wimblecomm and Wimbledon Community Association social media pages inclusive of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. The campaign involves the sharing of stories through a series of images, and embodies the goals of Wimblecomm by encouraging all people within the borough of Merton to come together and celebrate their 2018 highlights.

Throughout the year, there have been significant changes to the Wimblecomm website which has made it easier to navigate, and has seen the site list over 100 community spaces that are currently available for hire in Merton. With this, other aspects of Wimblecomm have grown too, seeing more blogs featured on the website, the launch of our e-newsletter Community Bytes, and more local events being submitted to the Community Noticeboard.  Having recently celebrated over 1000 views on the website in a month, we are keen to continue developing Wimblecomm into an online Community Hub, and hope to keep creating a positive space to share all things related to Merton with campaigns like this.

What do you do for the community?

On each day of December, we post a #MerryMerton picture that reflects on the great things that have been happening in Merton over the past year. Since the start of the month, we have shared images from local family fun days such as the Wimbledon Winter Wonderland on the Broadway, and Christmas in Wimbledon Village. We have supported other local charities and initiatives, highlighting the success of events such as Wimbledon Guild's Waggy Walk fundraiser. And we have celebrated the great achievements of some of our Merton Schools and Libraries!

To see what we have managed to cover so far, you can view the entire #MerryMerton campaign by clicking here.

How can I find out more and get involved?

By simply using the hashtag #MerryMerton on your social media posts, you can contribute your photos to the campaign and celebrate anything from community events, to wonderful community spaces, and outstanding achievements within the borough. 

We have shared everything from local events to a display of Mince Pies, so you can be as creative as you like with your #MerryMerton posts. The only real limitations are that it must be suitable for sharing across social media, and must be related to our lovely borough of Merton in some way. We look forward to seeing your contributions to #MerryMerton and hope that together we can share as many of Merton's achievements as possible. Make sure you're following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram so that you don't miss any of our posts.

Join the conversation as we celebrate everything Merton and take a look at what's been happening in our borough over the past year. Simply tag your photos with #MerryMerton on social media to get involved!
From the Wimblecomm Blog...
On our blog, we often feature articles such as event reviews or ideas of things that you can do in your local community. As this is a growing feature on Wimblecomm, we would like to remind you that our featured blogs are not limited to the above and can be anything that you feel contributes to the greater good of communities with Merton and beyond.

So if you have any ideas or articles that you would like to see featured on our blog or in the next edition of our Community Bytes newsletter, please do not hesitate to get in touch. As always, we are happy to explore any ideas with you, and can assist at any point within the writing process. We all have a voice so why not let yours be heard?

Recent Events in Our Community

Into the Winter Wood at Polka Theatre
Written by Genevieve Etienne-Farrell

Having lived in Wimbledon for over 15 years, it seemed a shame that I’d never got around to watching a show at the Polka Theatre. Although I didn’t quite fit into the suggested age bracket of 3-6 years for this particular show, on Saturday I was invited to attend with my nephew as we witnessed a brilliant performance of In the Winter Wood. If you live locally to the Polka Theatre, you will surely have seen promotional material about this show on your daily travels, and having watched it first hand this weekend, I can assure you that it is worth the visit.

From the moment that we entered the Polka Theatre, we had stepped into a new world of fun, colour and adventure. Walking into the Adventure Room where the performance was set to take place, we were encouraged to pay attention to the animal footprints on the floor, and soon found ourselves sat in a circle around the room amongst the other attendees. All phones were prohibited during the performance, so the dimly lit theatre which was staged as a Scandinavian Winter Wood remained pretty quiet as we sat snuggled up in the blankets provided and eagerly awaited the start of the show.

The performance of In the Winter Wood is quite rightly described as ‘tales full of bravery and friendship,’ and these were all lead by the amazingly talented storyteller Jan Blake. In approximately one hour, Jan managed to keep all attendees entertained with a number of tales told from the narratives of several different animals that you may find in the Winter Wood. The storyline of these tales cleverly encouraged the audience to empathise with animals ranging from a Ram-Goat, to a Pig, to a Goose, as each tale carried at least one important life lesson to be remembered.

After the show, children enjoyed some of the Polka’s on-site facilities such as the Café and the Playground, where some of the children continued singing some of the catchy melodies from the Winter Wood. Through the use of rhythm, props and sounds, In the Winter Wood was most definitely a multi-sensory performance and proved to be a great afternoon out at the theatre…and not just for the kids.

If you are interested in attending a performance of In the Winter Wood at Wimbledon's Polka Theatre, you can do so up until Sunday 17th February 2018. More information on the performances and how to purchase tickets can be found here.

Additionally, if you enjoyed this review, you can read other reviews of local events in Wimbledon on our Wimblecomm blog, and contact us directly if you are interested in publishing your own.

A Review of the Film Merton Launch
Written by David Hall

As many readers may be aware, Merton was one of the successful applicants for the London Borough of Culture – winning a budget from the Mayor of London to support projects focussing specifically on the cultural impact of film.

Following the successful announcement in February, an independent advisory group from Merton Culture has subsequently been working hard with various organisations across the community to develop the programme of events for Film Merton.

The team at Wimblecomm were therefore delighted to be invited to the Red Carpet launch of Film Merton on 26 November at Wimbledon Theatre to find out more about the programme and what is promised for the next couple of years.

The evening was an intriguing mix of interviews with various people involved in the advisory panel and local film artists, plus short snippets from classic favourite films. It also included a variety of entertainers ranging from community poets to Morris dancers (Greensleeves) to a selection of local beat box artists to a chamber music quartet (Jigsaw Players) – a more eclectic mix would be difficult to find!

Interviews included the new Programme Manager, Maureen McKarkiel and the Chair of Merton Culture, John Merriman.  John thanked the various evening sponsors and explained some of the concepts behind the programme, which includes 100 films popping up in secret locations across the borough and four short film commissions. 

The assessment panel are looking for ideas for films that reflect the vibrancy, passions and diversity of people living in Merton. The film commissions are for: 
·       Two Established Filmmakers: with a budget of £7,000 each to make a short film (duration up to 10 minutes)
·       Two Young Merton Filmmakers (aged 18-25): £500 each plus up to 5 sessions of mentoring to make a short film (duration up to 5 minutes)

The closing date for applications is 6th January 2019 and shortlisted filmmaker interviews will be in the week commencing 21st January 2019.  Commissions will be announced in February 2019 and films should be completed by 21st September 2019 and will be premiered in 2020. 
Further information on the programme and the commission application process can be found here.

It certainly got me thinking about my favourite film – It’s A Wonderful Life probably - a special gem at this time of year!  We look forward to hearing more about Film Merton as it develops.

Beaded Bauble Workshop at South Park Gardens
Written by Jil Hall

I was lucky enough to take part in a beaded bauble workshop at the lovely garden pavilion in South Park Gardens on Sunday 18th November. It was run by Eileen Harle who makes beautiful baubles and is a very patient teacher. There were seven of us there and in two hours we had each created a fabulous bauble for our respective Christmas trees. I don’t know about the other participants, but mine will certainly take pride of place on ours.

Eileen had on display a wide range of baubles as well as hanging angel decorations, jewelled bracelets, necklaces and earrings and there was something to suit everyone. She also showed us a prototype pair of gloves decorated with a beaded snowflake – absolutely gorgeous. These would all make super Christmas gifts.

We enjoyed our two-hour workshop in the garden pavilion – it’s such a pleasant outlook onto South Park Gardens and we were sustained by delicious hot drinks provided by Bliss in the Park, the kiosk in the pavilion. What a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

The Garden Pavilion hosts a range of crafting events, such as calligraphy classes, paint pot parties and Little Picassos (children’s art classes) as well as a weekly art class on a Thursday morning with Nicholas Wyatt. The paintings produced there are up on display and most are for sale.

The good news is that Eileen’s beautiful baubles and other gifts will be available to buy from Fayre & Square in Centre Court in December.

Friends of South Park Gardens - Fireworks & Bonfire Party
Written by Friends of South Park Gardens

Friends of South Park Gardens is a registered charity which works to restore, protect and improve South Park Gardens (a beautiful Victorian Gardens in the heart of Wimbledon).

Every year they organise a very popular Fireworks and Bonfire Party on the Saturday closest to the 5th of November. The display is unique in that they use low noise fireworks, making it suitable for young children. The event is run by volunteers who work tirelessly in the weeks running up to the event to make it safe and enjoyable for everyone.

This popular event sells out quickly every year, as so many local people appreciate the small-scale nature of the event and the reasonable prices charged for food, drink and glowsticks. This year it was made members only (previously members had priority for buying tickets) and this didn’t dampen the enthusiasm for obtaining tickets. They sold out within a day...

Continue reading this piece on our Wimblecomm blog

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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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