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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 Community Bytes, our quarterly e-newsletter that brings you Merton related community news, alongside a range of other topics and events happening across our borough. In this Spring 2020 edition, we reflect on how the Covid-19 outbreak has impacted Wimblecomm, the Merton communities, community venues across the borough, and the services provided by the voluntary sector and the Council.

We would also like to take this opportunity to introduce our newest Trustee, Jenny Burrett, whom you can familiarise yourself with here. In this newsletter, she shares her creativity in a poem entitled Our Space, Our Place, and has already started work on some fantastic projects that we look forward to sharing with you in the near future. At the same time, we would like to thank Sabrina Sostero for her contributions to the WCA and Wimblecomm as she steps down from her Trustee role with us due to increasing work commitments. We wish Sabrina all the best in her future endeavours, and we are now actively recruiting more Trustees to help us on our mission.

With venues being closed and events cancelled all over the world, we have seen an amazing response from individuals, groups, organisations and business to the emerging needs of those who are vulnerable and in need of support in these difficult times.  We are grateful to Merton's key workers and volunteers who are working so hard, often putting themselves and their loved ones at risk, in order to deliver critical and often life saving services to our communities. 

We feel that during this continuing period of 'physical, not social isolation' and uncertainty, filled with widespread hardship and anxiety, it is of vital importance that Wimblecomm continues to highlight and celebrate the role of community spaces and the role their people play in Merton.

In this edition of Community Bytes, we feature Wimblecomm Spotlights with Avye Couloute, the Founder of Girls into Coding, who has been putting her STEM skills to great use during this Coronavirus pandemic. As well as Anthony Hopkins, Head of Merton Libraries, Heritage and Adult Education who has been recognised by the Queen in the 2020 New Year Honours List.

All featured content continues on our blog pages, and our Coronavirus Hub which is new to the site, so be sure to visit Wimblecomm regularly as we update it on a daily basis.

We do 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 & Wimblecomm

How is Coronavirus Impacting Us?

Our focus to date has been on promoting and celebrating physical community spaces, as well as the people who work there and the services, events and activities they offer to their local communities.  In the given circumstances, Wimblecomm has been ideally placed to shift this focus onto supporting communities and venues through 'virtual' spaces, resources, and even activities, and have listed many on our hub to make it easier for the people of Merton to access these in one place.
Read on to find out how the Coronavirus pandemic has impacted Wimblecomm and how we have re-purposed the Community Hub to support people and venues in Merton during these challenging times.

You may now also watch our new Wimblecomm Vlogs where our Chair David Hall speaks on lockdown in Merton and how our communities have reacted.

Wimblecomm Coronavirus Hub

In response to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic and its impact on Merton communities, we have added a Coronavirus Hub to Wimblecomm, where we share up-to-date information and resources on a large number of related topics including;

  • The Government, NHS, Merton voluntary sector & local authority responses to the crisis
  • Volunteering opportunities and support for vulnerable people
  • Resources for families at home as well as guides to remote working, educational resources, positive thoughts and inspiration, and more
The Wimblecomm Coronavirus Hub also features a series of free physical and mental wellbeing resources including...
Coronavirus Support in Merton
Merton Voluntary Service Council (MVSC) and Merton Council are working with the voluntary sector in the borough to mobilise a volunteer taskforce to help isolated households and those at risk from COVID-19. Anyone who puts themselves forward may be asked to support people who are currently unable to leave their home.

If you or someone you know wants to volunteer, email

If you want to get help for yourself or someone who is in need, email or call 0208 685 2272.

For further information, visit our
MVSC Coronavirus Support in Merton page on the Coronavirus Hub and donate to their fund via their Just Giving Page.

The Merton Giving Coronavirus Fund provides grants to organisations working locally to deliver Covid-19 frontline services, or those that have been impacted by COVID-19. Further details including grant guidance, how to apply, and how the fund has grown can be found here

Other groups and great resources for information on how to help our community during this time also include the Covid-19 Mutual Aid Group
As a response to Coronavirus, AFC Wimbledon Fans drew up an action plan to help individuals and families who have been left stranded in self-isolation. Better recognised as the Dons Local Action Group, they started their works on the 20th March and already have a strong base of 400+ volunteers. So far they have delivered over 3000 food parcels to Merton residents, and have delivered food for 5000 meals to the NHS.
Their latest initiative to keep kids connected and able to do their school work from home asks people to donate their old laptops and tablets. Donated devices will be wiped of all personal data and refurbished, before being distributed to the children in need. So far, 100 laptops and tablets have been donated/delivered, but if you have one to donate, click here to fill out the short form today. For more information on other ways that you can support this group, visit our page updating you on their activity here.

Wimblecomm Spotlight 
Anthony Hopkins

Before the country went into lockdown, Genevieve sat down with Anthony Hopkins, Head of Merton Libraries, Heritage and Adult Education, to discuss everything Merton Libraries and beyond.

As a great leader and a driving force behind Merton’s Library services, Anthony is a much-loved individual within our Merton community, and has been recognised by none other than the Queen in the 2020 New Year Honours list. Click here to learn more about Anthony's Merton roots, his contribution to London Libraries, his motivations, and how Merton Libraries continue to grow from strength to strength.

Wimblecomm Spotlight 
Avye Couloute

Introducing Avye Couloute, a 12 year old girl from Merton who started coding at just 7 years of age, and has gone on to launch her own Girls Into Coding workshops and events which introduces young girls to the world of STEMIn light of Covid-19, she is currently collaborating with Helpful Engineering UK and printing batches of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) which are being delivered to NHS frontline workers.

Avye sees no limits in what she can achieve and has already started to gain both national and international recognition for her works. Click here to read more about when Genevieve met with Avye and her Mother Helene back in January.
Upcoming Online Events in Merton

Introducing Polka Online (#PolkaOnline): a new digital resource for family creativity during lockdown.

Polka Theatre, the UK’s No.1 children’s theatre based in South West London, has moved its output online during the lockdown period. Content created around the theme of Lions, Gorillas and Everywhere Bears explores some of the much-loved children’s books that the theatre has adapted for stage, providing online story time, workshops and activities to help families stay creative.

Although the physical sites of the Merton Library and Heritage service have been closed since the 20 March, their online services have remained open and they are still offering a number of online events.

We will be updating events as often as we can, so keep visiting our Wimblecomm What's On page for more online events to keep you and your loved ones happy during lockdown. If there are any community events that you would like to submit or think we have missed, don't hesitate to get in touch.
Our Space, Our Place

Quarantine, never seen

Quite as we know now before.

Inside! where have you been?

Come in and close the door!

Streets once loud are now still,

Skies richer blue overhead

Worry, worry, feel ill,

Or take your chance instead!

Make the most of what you’ve got,

Full, filling every day

How can this become a lot?

What can’t be taken away?

Spread your heart in any way, 

Let your spirit fill the space

Love and messages every day,

Spread a smile from your face.

Be practical, it is an art,

Keep a structure in your time

Make your steps small and smart,

And somehow you’ll be fine.

Believe we will find a way,

To solve this all together,

Be mindful in what you say,

Help to bring brighter weather.

Very soon, we will meet again,

Back in our community space,

Knowing more about ourselves then,

Of the value of space and place.

A Poem by Jenny Burrett
Trustee, Wimbledon Community Association/Wimblecomm 

How has Lockdown and Covid-19 Affected You?
On our blog, we often feature articles such as event reviews or ideas of things that you can do in your local community. During this uncertain time, we want to find out how you are coping with the lockdown and daily life in Merton.

We have begun by sharing the above poem from our newest Trustee, Jenny Burrett, to inspire you to share your stories and experiences with us. 

Join us as we start using the #ConnectingMerton hashtag on social media to share positive news stories, no matter how big or small, about how Merton is dealing with this virus.
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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.

Click here to subscribe to our newsletter

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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