Merton Council builds a cohesive borough

Merton Council is pulling out all the stops to create a borough in which everyone feels they belong, whatever their race, age, sexual orientation or gender.

As part of its work to forge positive and dynamic relationships between local communities and people of different religions or beliefs, cultures and backgrounds, the council is encouraging organisations to host their own events promoting mutual understanding, and is supporting them to do so via the launch of a Community Cohesion Event Toolkit.

The toolkit lists over 50 different themes groups can use when holding their own coffee mornings, fetes or celebrations, such as Refugee Week, which is held in June or the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on 25 November.

Dozens of representatives from local community and faith groups turned out for the launch of the toolkit at the Register Officer in Morden Park. Young musicians from Haslemere Primary School entertained guests with a taste of African drumming while the Merton Borough Commander, Chief Superintendent Chris Bourlet, and Saleem Sheikh of Wimbledon Mosque both spoke about the importance of community cohesion.

Merton Council cabinet member for Community Safety and Engagement Tariq Ahmad said: “We make sure that we put improving our residents’ quality of life and safety first. Merton is already consistently among the safest boroughs in London but we are not complacent and are working hard to build a common vision and a sense of belonging for all our communities.

“Our recent Mission for Merton consultation showed that residents want us to build a Safer Merton, a place where everyone feels at ease and is able to respect and value the diversity of each other’s backgrounds and circumstances, and where everyone feels able to pursue their ambitions in peace, free from the threat of violence, crime or intrusion. This Toolkit is just one step along that important path.”