Merton rewards outstanding residents

This week Merton Council announced the winners of its first ever civic award scheme to recognise the outstanding achievements of its residents.

The successful candidates were given an official reception at the council’s civic centre on Wednesday 6 May and the special ceremony included the presentation of the Young Person’s Award, the Community Contribution Award, the Community Group Award and the London Borough of Merton Award for outstanding achievement.

Merton residents were called upon to nominate individuals or groups who have made a difference in the area and brought credit to the borough or enhanced the well being of a group or individual. Almost 60 applications were received and reviewed over the last few months by the panel of judges headed by the Mayor of Merton, Councillor Martin Whelton. The panel was so impressed with the quality of the applications that it decided to award more than one winner or highly commended in most categories.

The winners included Oyeronke Oyerinde a year 6 Cranmer school pupil recognised for the young person’s outstanding achievement for writing the winning song entry for the 2012 Olympics. It has already been sung by 6000 schoolchildren simultaneously and broadcast on BBC Radio London.

Friends of John Innes Park and long-term Merton and Morden Guild volunteer Peter Steiner were also among the winners. The London Borough of Merton award was collected by Jessie Waldron, Volunteer Service Coordinator, St. Raphael’s Hospice who has worked tirelessly volunteering and fundraising for the local hospice.

Typical nominees in the Civic awards were the four young Merton women in the Community group award who were ‘highly commended’ for successfully planning and obtaining funding for the KG Youth Space in King George’s playing fields. The girls are now organising workshops, life skills and role model leadership for the young.

In the Community Contribution Award Pastor Kevin Vickers received many nominations and was ‘highly commended’ for outreach activities to vulnerable groups by acting as a street pastor in Mitcham and Morden. As a member of Merton’s youth crime prevention management group, Kevin works closely with police education and youth services. He is well known for being the driving force behind ‘Street Pastors’ a community group staffed by volunteers that helps the community after nightfall.

Mayor of Merton Councillor Martin Whelton said “It was great to see so many young people represented in these awards. It is very impressive that they have taken responsibility for a project that is beneficial to the entire community by identifying an issue and proactively taking action that was needed. I am delighted with the level of enthusiasm for voluntary community work in Merton and so pleased that we can now officially award those that do so much.”

Councillor David Williams, Leader of Merton Council said:
“It has been excellent to see so many applications come in for these awards and choosing the winners was not easy. It is inspiring to see so many people giving up their time and energy to help get community projects off the ground and so we are delighted to officially recognise and celebrate their efforts.”