Christmas message from Council Leader and Chief Executive

We would like to wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year from all the staff at Merton Council. 

The past year has seen us make some tough choices on how services will be delivered. This will continue next year as local authorities across the country come to terms with more reductions in public spending. We are continuing to review the way we work to meet these demands whilst still providing the same quality service to our residents.

We are grateful to the many people who continue to give up their time to help their local communities including volunteers in our award–winning libraries. With their help and our partner organisation the Merton Voluntary Service Council, we have and will continue working together to serve residents. It was also pleasing to mark the 10-year anniversary of the Merton Compact, the partnership of local organisations who work together to provide services for residents, with an award at the national ceremony for partnership working.

Earlier this year we had the official opening of our new Dementia Hub by Angela Rippon OBE. The hub will play a key role in helping people at all stages of dementia through a partnership approach to delivering services. With the Alzheimer’s Society, St George’s Mental Health Trust, and the Merton Clinical Commissioning Group working in the same building, this collaborative approach has already seen the hub shortlisted for a Health Service Journal award.

Our Merton Managed Accounts project, which gives people receiving social care the ability to use pre-paid cards to select and pay for their services, was recognised for its forward thinking winning the 2014 Local Government Chronical award for innovation. This was a great achievement for the team and an example of how we continue to strive to provide quality services for residents.

This year the nation commemorated 100 years since the start of World War One. In Merton, our event in Morden Park was a special occasion attended by residents, members of the armed forces and local schools.

We have also had a great Christmas lights switch on event in Mitcham, which saw a screening of Disney film Frozen and performances from local acts and Merton school children. Morden, Raynes Park and Wimbledon held successful events that were well attended and spread the festive spirit across the borough.

Merton was recognised this year by London Councils as the best all-round small business friendly borough. The award is given to boroughs that help local businesses. We have support services and loan funds we provide in partnership with Merton Chamber of Commerce. All of this put together show that the borough is a great place for enterprise.

Looking forward, residents have told us what they would like to see at a new leisure centre in Morden and an improved library in West Barnes. Both are important facilities for people in the borough that will be used by future generations. We will continue to keep you updated on their progress. Work has started to transform Mitcham town centre. The iconic clock tower is being restored and will be brought back to complete the regeneration project. We are also planning events next year to mark 50 years of Merton becoming a London borough.

The coming year will hold some very difficult challenges for us. Many of the savings we need to make will have an effect on some services you receive. But we have proven in the past that when faced with tough times, we have delivered efficient and quality services.

Wishing you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

Leader of Merton Council, Councillor Stephen Alambritis

Chief Executive of Merton Council, Ged Curran