Acacia Intergenerational Centre wins public vote

Britain’s first ever purpose built intergenerational centre, based in Merton, has officially been named by local residents. The “Acacia Intergenerational Centre” won the hearts of Merton’s public in a recent vote that was open to all who wanted to have a say.

The Acacia Intergenerational Centre, a £3.5million investment for Merton, opens its doors to the public on 19 February 2010. The centre will be Merton’s hub for intergenerational activities with the aim of breaking down barriers and fostering mutual understanding between young and old.

A community open day will take place on Friday 19 February between 11am and 3pm to celebrate the opening and naming of the centre. The Mayor of Merton will be in attendance to mark the occasion, which will give residents an opportunity to have a taste of what the centre will offer them in the months and years to come. The community open day will offer a whole host of activities to the public including art sessions, health and local information, healthy snacks, story telling, drama and lots more.

By this summer the Acacia Intergenerational Centre’s activities will be further boosted when Merton’s largest adventure playground and horticultural garden spaces open to the public. The playground is set for completion by June 2010 and represents an investment of around £600,000. An official opening celebration with the community will take place in the summer once the adventure playground and outdoor spaces are complete.

Cabinet member for children’s services, Councillor Debbie Shears says:
“We’re thrilled that this great, new, pioneering facility – named by the Merton public will soon be opening its doors. Residents clearly believe the name Acacia Intergenerational Centre aptly reflects the centre’s location in the borough, particularly with Acacia Road being one of the centre’s key access roads.

“The modern and innovative facilities on offer at the Acacia Intergenerational Centre will serve to provide residents of all ages with a host of memorable and, in some cases life-changing, experiences all under the one roof.”

Merton was chosen to be the site of the country’s first purpose built state of the art intergenerational centre following support from the London Development Agency, combined with money from the government’s Department for Children Schools and Families SureStart Children’s Centres Programme and funding from Merton Council. Its aim is to provide a range of shared services and facilities under one roof, which will bring together young and old, as individuals, groups and families.

Denise Burke, Head of Youth and Childcare at the London Development Agency says: “Acacia Intergenerational Centre is not only a one stop shop for services and facilities for all ages in the community but the shared site model also provides other local authorities with a blue print for future children’s centres. The London Development Agency is delighted to support this innovative centre which is a part of our priority to support London’s people and its places.”

Three lucky residents who voted for one of the names shortlisted for the centre will be presented with certificates and prizes for their participation in the vote at the next Full Council meeting in March. They take home a range of prizes including Wimbledon Theatre tickets, Polka Theatre tickets and love2shop vouchers.

For more information about the Acacia Intergenerational Centre visit

– The Acacia Intergenerational 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 centre was funded by the London Development Agency, the government’s Department for Children Schools and Families’ SureStart Children’s Centres and Playbuilder programmes, and Merton Council.

– 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.