Latest Community News
Thank you once again to everyone who is staying home, protecting the NHS and saving lives. We are all making sacrifices right now, but it is worth it.
This week we welcome the Prime Minister back to Number 10. His recent hospitalisation shows that this virus can strike anyone and must be taken seriously.
Top of the Prime Minister's inbox will be reviewing the lockdown arrangements ahead of next week. I completely agree with the Prime Minister's assessment that we are beginning to see the effect of the lockdown and our sacrifices on this virus.

However, we cannot throw away this sacrifice and it is likely that the relaxation of measures will be in stages. Any decision will need to balance safety and preventing risking a large second wave of infections against getting people back to their jobs and allowing more of our economy to re-start .

I know people are getting impatient, but the stakes are high.


As the situation with Coronavirus (COVID-19) is rapidly developing the information provided here may be superseded very quickly so please do check the Government’s website for the latest guidance:

If you use social media, please follow the Department for Health on  Facebook  or  Twitter  and the UK Government on  Twitter  and  Facebook .

I will also share all the most important local and national information on my  Facebook  and  Twitter  accounts.
Giving Tuesday
This year, #GivingTuesday will be brought forward to Tuesday 5th May, to recognise the fantastic work charities are doing during the coronavirus crisis.

I want to highlight the work and fundraising of as many local charities as possible, and I need your help. If you volunteer locally, or have been helped by a local charity, I want to hear from you by replying to this email, so I can help spread the word about their fantastic work.
Expanding Tests for Coronavirus
The Government have widened access to Coronavirus testing. Testing now covers:

  • all essential workers including NHS and social care workers with symptoms (see the full list of essential workers)
  • anyone over 65 with symptoms
  • anyone with symptoms whose work cannot be done from home (for example, construction workers, shop workers, emergency plumbers and delivery drivers)

Testing is also available for anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus living with those identified above.

In addition, there are also tests for:

  • social care workers and residents in care homes (with or without symptoms) both to investigate outbreaks and, following successful pilots, as part of a rolling programme to test all care homes
  • NHS workers and patients without symptoms where there is a clinical need, in line with NHS England guidance

If you wish to book at test, please go to:  
Help for the vulnerable and self-isolating in Merton
Merton Voluntary Service Council are mobilising a volunteer taskforce to assist those in isolation with Merton's voluntary sector. They are building a list of volunteers to help households in isolation and those most at risk. If you would like to help, please email:

If you are in isolation and you think you might need help, email or call 020 8685 2272 between 10am–4pm, Mon–Fri.

Centre Court Shopping Centre  is working with the  Dons Local Action  Group to put together small parcels to deliver to the people in the Wimbledon area who are most in need. For more information and to apply for a parcel, please click here .

Finally, if you know of anyone who would like a bit of cheering up with a piece of art work or a card please let me know, as the children of Ricards Lodge School will be very glad to help.
Small Business Bounce Back Loans
Over the last month I have been helping a number of local businesses with their applications for loans.

I am very pleased that the Chancellor has announced a new lending scheme, whereby small businesses will benefit from fast-track loans up to a maximum of £50,000, or 25% of turnover, with the government paying the interest for the first 12 months. From my experience helping businesses locally, I know this will be very welcome.

The scheme has been designed to ensure that small firms who need vital cash injections to keep operating can get finance in a matter of days, and comes alongside the £6 billion awarded in business grants, supporting 4 million jobs through the job retention scheme and generous tax deferrals supporting hundreds of thousands of firms.

The loans will be easy to apply for through a short, standardised online application. The loan should reach businesses within days - providing immediate support to those that need it as quickly as possible.
Stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives
We must significantly reduce our day-to-day contact with other people, which will reduce the spread of the infection. You should only leave the house for very limited purposes:
  • shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible
  • one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of your household
  • any medical need, including to donate blood, avoid or escape risk of injury or harm, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
  • travelling for work purposes, but only where you cannot work from home

Please be considerate of others when you are outside, and remember to keep a 2m gap between yourself and others. This is particularly important for those who are jogging, please make sure you move out of the way of those walking who may not have seen you coming.  

The Government have put together answers to the most frequently asked questions about these measures here:
Coronavirus symptoms
Continue to stay at home if you have either:
  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Use the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.

Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.
Advice for those at high risk
If you're at high risk of getting seriously ill from coronavirus, there are extra things you should do to avoid catching it. These include:
  • not leaving your home – you should not go out to do shopping, visit friends or family, or attend any gatherings
  • avoiding close contact with other people in your home as much as possible.

You may be at high risk from coronavirus if you:
  • have had an organ transplant
  • are having certain types of cancer treatment
  • have blood or bone marrow cancer, such as leukaemia
  • have a severe lung condition, such as cystic fibrosis or severe asthma
  • have a condition that makes you much more likely to get infections
  • are taking medicine that weakens your immune system
  • are pregnant and have a serious heart condition

If you fall into these categories you should have heard from your GP.

If you have a  medical condition which makes you extremely vulnerable to coronavirus (COVID-19) , you can register to tell the Government whether or not you need support. You can do this here:

Job Retention Scheme
The Government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is now live, where employers can claim up to 80% of their employees wages, plus any employer National Insurance and pension contributions, if you have put them on furlough.

Over 4 million jobs have now been protected through the Job Retention Scheme and payments are now arriving.

Details of the full range of business support measures, as well as information on who is eligible, when the schemes open and how to apply can be found here
Wimbledon Common Parking Restrictions to be Lifted
Following my representations, I am very pleased that the restrictions on parking near Wimbledon Common will be lifted on 29th April when pay and display parking will be reintroduced.

These restrictions were unnecessary, and were not requested by the Conservators or the Police.
A Thank You from Deen City Farm
Dear Stephen
Further to your inclusion of our fundraising appeal one of your recent community e-bulletins, I hope I am able to include a short note in your next update to thank our wonderful local community.
Since we launched our fundraising appeal to keep the over 100 animals that call Deen City Farm and Riding School ‘home’ fed and watered during the period of the COVID19 lockdown, we have been overwhelmed by the amazing response of our local community and businesses. 

Our JustGiving campaign alone ( ) has already raised over £36,000 and, whilst none of us are yet certain of what the ‘new normal’ will look like and our fundraising very much remains ongoing, the support of the community has made us even more determined to make sure we can get through this difficult time and welcome everyone back to the farm as soon as we can. 

Thank you to everyone who has been so supportive and sent us the kind and motivating messages, we really do appreciate it.
Henry Nelless
Chair of Trustees, Deen City Farm and Riding School
Save Wimbledon Police Station
Last week I wrote to the Deputy Mayor for Policing to request an update on the future of Wimbledon Police Station and the estates review.

I made the point that with Mayoral elections being delayed by a year the future of Wimbledon Police Station must be resolved.

I reiterated that with increased police numbers and the operational requirements for response vehicles means there is a powerful case for Wimbledon to remain open. 
Increased funding for Merton Council
I have been lobbying the Government for further funding for local councils to tackle the coronavirus crisis.

Both Cllr Nick McLean and I are very pleased Merton Council will receive a £49m support package to help manage the impact of Coronavirus on our Borough. This shows a real commitment to doing “whatever it takes” to protect our local economy and keep people safe.

There are several key elements to this:

  • £29m for the council to pay out to small businesses in our borough, with small businesses receiving cash grants of £10,000, and £25,000 for shops, pubs and restaurants in the retail and hospitality sectors;
  • £1.5m in Council Tax support to pay out to residents on benefits or on low income;
  • £11m of additional funding to help the council pay for emergency spending on social care, extra care beds, help for incapacitated families and school openings for key workers during the Easter holidays
  • Deferral of £7.5m of business rates income that would otherwise be payable to the Treasury. This is in addition to the £3.5m of business rates relief that the government had already provided to small businesses in Merton in January, and also on top of the full relief from business rates for the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors confirmed by the government for the financial year 2020-2021.
Old Wimbledonians Association
This weekend I visited the  Old Wimbledonians Association  to thank them for all their work in providing meals for NHS workers.

They are working with  The Alexandra Rose and Crown Hotel Arty Tarty Foods  and the  Dons Local Action , and delivered their 5000th meal at the weekend.

St George's Hospital Charity
St George's Hospital Charity has already distributed over 4,000 care packs to our amazing NHS staff here at St George's and Queen Mary's Hospitals. The staff are so incredibly grateful for the snacks, fruit, drinks and gifts of toiletries which help sustain them through their long shifts. 

Please show your support and love for the many thousands of NHS staff by donating to or messaging if you would like to donate snacks, fruit, drinks and toiletries. 
A Message from Home Start Merton
Home-Start Merton is a charity who has continued to offer a service of support to families of Merton for 26 years. Never more so than now do we need your support.
Becoming a parent is a joyful but sometimes overwhelming time and it becomes even harder when you are facing additional challenges such as mental illness, financial pressures, isolation, disabilities, perinatal mental ill health, bereavement and Covid-19.

These issues are very real and happening across our communities. For example, in the UK there are more than 1.6 million children, including 470,000 children under the age of 5, living with a parent who has mental health issues. To give you an idea of the lives we’ve touched:

  • The child of 8 providing care to her mother, who has a brain injury. This little girl had cared for her mother since the age of 4. The situation only came to light when the child was struggling at school.
  • A visually impaired mother with two small children, so desperately wanting to do all the things we take for granted.
  • The father, whose wife passed away leaving three children of 18, 15 and 6 all living in one room. The eldest child has a neurological condition.
  • The parent, who is beaten on a daily basis, but too scared to report the abuse, with four children who are scared to go home.
  • The child who whispers to the volunteer on her first visit to the family “take me home with you”
Our carefully trained volunteers offer weekly 1:1 support in the family's home. Sometimes the volunteer is the only adult the parent sees each week.
It costs £1500.00 a year to support one family and there's never been a greater need or a better time to support families struggling with a variety of issues, so please become a Friend/supporter with a small monthly donation. Please visit our website
SW Fruit and Veg
Two local brothers have set up SW Fruit and Veg in reaction to the Covid-19 crisis and the difficulties some people hace in accessing fresh produce and essential food items.

Their website sets out their aims:

"Our mission is simple, to help the most vulnerable in our community during the current crisis, allowing you to stay home, and beat your isolation blues with fresh & locally sourced produce.

Not only do our boxes reduce the need for you to venture to the shops, they also provide ongoing support for traders at New Covent Garden Market, whose main clients are usually restaurants and hotels across London.

Whether you're  ordering a box for yourself  or someone in your community, please tell us your fruit & veg favourites at check out and we'll do the work for you! You can also  donate a box  to those in need.

Stay Safe. Stay Home. Stay Healthy. Delivery can be made to any SW postcode.”
Promoted by David Jones on behalf of Stephen Hammond MP, both of 3 Summerstown, London, SW17 0BQ