Capturing the present for future generations

Merton residents could have their ideas cemented into Merton’s history by Boris Johnson this October through a competition that aims to inspire young and old to think proactively about intergenerational learning.

In the lead up to the opening of Britain’s first purpose built intergenerational centre, Merton Council wants residents to share their ideas about the benefits of positive relations between younger and older people, and the types of activities and work that can be done to strengthen these relations in Merton.

Ten residents will have their ideas buried in a time capsule, along with other local treasures, by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, on 1 October at the site of Merton’s new intergenerational centre in Mitcham – set to open early next year.

The time capsule will be cemented in rock, which will be laid to rest within the walls of the centre and reopened again in 35 years time.

Merton was chosen to be the site of London’s first purpose built state of the art centre after a successful bid for £1.5 million capital funding from the London Development Agency. It is aimed at providing a range of shared services and facilities under one roof, which will bring together young and old, as individuals, groups and families.

Councillor Debbie Shears, cabinet member for children’s services said:

“Intergenerational activity helps to promote mutual respect between people of different generations and backgrounds and provides opportunities to learn and exchange experiences, knowledge, cultural traditions and many other vital skills.

“We’re transforming a once derelict site in the borough into a brand new facility which will be the first of its kind in Britain, where people from all ages and backgrounds can meet, organise activities and hold events that promote family support, healthy lifestyles, mentoring and intergenerational understanding.

“This is an opportunity for residents to have their thoughts and dreams locked into a real piece of Merton’s history which could be read by their children or grandchildren in 35 years time.”

Residents can visit to find out more about the competition and to download an entry form. Completed entries must be returned by Friday, 18 September.

Email entries to or post to: Merton’s Intergenerational Centre, c/o Simon Deakin, Merton Council Civic Centre, London Road,Morden SM45DX.

The building of the intergenerational centre is due to be completed in November 2009 and will be opened to the public in early 2010.
The centre will feature indoor and outdoor spaces for intergenerational activities, horticulture and garden areas, a children’s centre and Merton’s largest adventure playground.
For more information about Merton’s intergenerational centre visit