Merton’s Community Forums help lead to change

Local people across Merton are using their local community forums to make a difference, by having their say on the issues that matter most to them and seeing things change as a result.

Merton Council’s new Community Forums launched back in June, with residents meeting in Colliers Wood, Mitcham, Morden, Raynes Park and Wimbledon to share their views and opinions. The next round of Community Forums begins this week, with issues raised at the meetings being taken back to the responsible organisations to follow up and report back on how problems are solved.

There are many ways that local people are making a difference and finding out more about their communities. Residents in Morden wanted to find out more about future plans for the regeneration of Morden town centre, which has led to this issue being the main focus of the Community Forum meeting on 30 September. At the Mitcham Community Forum residents talked about street sweeping and since the meeting contact has been made with the MOAT housing association who run that service, and maintenance of the affected area had been improved.

Other concerns raised included lack of footpaths in a particular area of Colliers Wood which is now being investigated by Transport For London, and Raynes Park residents flagging up concerns that they are being kept out of the loop on local issues because the local Guardian is not delivered to their homes. Residents have now been put in touch with the local paper to get this sorted.

Councillor Tariq Ahmad, cabinet member for community safety and engagement, is encouraged by the way local people have embraced the Community Forums and said:

‘It is great to see that local people are taking up the opportunities that Community Forums offer to make a change to their local area. The new forums give residents a chance to share their views on the issues that matter to them, and help the council and other organisations take action where necessary.

“It is only by listening to our residents that we are able to put their needs first and offer the best value services, and so we would urge people who live, work or spend time in Merton to come forward and make sure that their views are heard and concerns are put forward for discussion and resolution.”

Each Community Forum welcomes anyone with an interest in the local area to come and share their views, and the next round of Community Forum meetings takes place in October, in the week building up to the annual ‘Local Democracy Week’.

For more information about the Community Forums, telephone 020 8545 4400, e-mail community.forums@merton.gov.uk or visit http://www.merton.gov.uk/communityforums.

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The Local Democracy Week campaign is about making young people aware of their local council and getting them more involved in politics.

Local Democracy Week will take place between Monday 13 and Sunday 19 October and we will be running a series of events during this week to highlight the ways that local people can get involved in democracy and politics.

The next round of Community Forum meetings will be as follows:

* Morden Community Forum – 30 September – Merton Civic Centre, Morden
* Wimbledon Community Forum – 2 October – Mansel Road Centre, Wimbledon
* Raynes Park Community Forum – 7 October – Raynes Park Library
* Colliers Wood Community Forum – 8 October – Colliers Wood Community Centre
* Mitcham Community Forum – 9 October – Mitcham Library Hall

* All meetings begin at 7.15