Boris backs local aspirations for Merton’s future

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, helped Merton residents capture and preserve their aspirations for the future today, at the site of Britain’s first purpose built intergenerational centre (IGC) in Merton.

During his visit to the borough, Boris Johnson visited the new IGC in Mitcham where he will buried a time capsule containing the ideas and aspirations of local people for intergenerational relations in Merton, alongside other local treasures to preserve them for future generations.

Merton was chosen to be the site of the country’s first purpose built state of the art intergenerational centre after a successful bid for £1.5 million capital funding from the London Development Agency, combined with money from the government’s Department for Children Schools and Families and Merton Council. 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.

In the lead-up to the opening of the centre early next year, Merton Council asked residents to submit their ideas about the benefits of positive relations between generations and the types of activities and the work that can be done to strengthen these ties in Merton.

The top 10 most creative and forward thinking ideas were chosen to be included in the capsule which will be cemented in rock and laid to rest within the walls of the pioneering, new intergenerational centre. It will be reopened again in 35 years time when those involved in the celebrations will be able to see if their ideas and aspirations were met and how relations between the generations have developed.

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: “London is yet again leading the way with this fantastic new centre, the first of it’s kind in the UK. It will give young and old a place to come not only to learn from each other but also to gain a whole host of new skills. The time capsule is a superb idea, and is a concept that still evokes boyish feelings of wonderment in me. I’m honoured to be able to contribute a small piece to what is sure to become a fascinating part of Merton’s history – and future.’

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.

“Merton’s intergenerational centre will be a place where people from all ages and backgrounds can meet, organise activities and hold events that promote family support, healthy lifestyles, mentoring and intergenerational understanding.

“It’s fantastic to have the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson visit the centre to see for himself the interest of local people from all ages and walks of life in this new and innovative project.”

For more information about intergenerational activity and Britain’s first intergenerational centre situated in the London Borough of Merton visit


The building of the intergenerational centre is due for completion in November 2009 and will be open 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 which is due to open by summer 2010.

The total capital investment for the new centre is approximately £3.5 million – funded by the London Development Agency, the Department for Children, Schools and Families (Sure Start Children’s Centres Programme and Play Pathfinder funding streams) and Merton Council.

The centre aims to provide a range of shared services and facilities under one roof for older people, children and young people across the borough. It will give Merton an opportunity to explore and demonstrate the effectiveness of intergenerational work with families, extended families and all age groups, coming together to learn play and interact.

The London Development Agency (LDA) works to improve the quality of life for all Londoners, drive sustainable economic growth and keep the capital competitive. Its role is to bring together the right people, skills and resources to deliver real results in the long term, responding to the needs and ambitions of communities and businesses. The LDA invests more than £400 million a year to create jobs and develop healthy, sustainable communities. It also supports London as a financial, educational and research centre. It tackles the barriers to employment for certain groups, encourages business and cultural activities and improves infrastructure and the environment. The LDA takes on major projects and difficult issues and is constantly looking for fresh ways of doing things and better ways of achieving sustainable growth. In this way the LDA ensures all Londoners can gain from and contribute to London’s economic success.