Community champions honoured at council awards

Members of the community who dedicate their time to supporting families and young people, improving local areas and driving continuous improvements in our schools have been honoured at Merton Council’s Excellence Awards this week.

In his role as a businessman and local Morden resident, community champion John Merriman has organised and run many events and activities for his local community including the Light Up Morden Christmas event and the Merton Refugees initiative. John’s passion for Morden and his can-do personality enables him to bring people together and work towards a common cause.

John Merriman recieving his award from Mayor of Merton Cllr Marsie Skeete

John Merriman receiving his award from Mayor of Merton Cllr Marsie Skeete

John said: “I enjoy running my business in Merton and also enjoy getting out into the community and working with businesses and residents to make Morden a place where people enjoy visiting and feel welcomed.”

Detective Chief Inspector Nicola Church from the Metropolitan Police, has been recognised for her hard work making children and young people in Merton feel safe. Chairing a number of Merton partnership groups, Nicola has made a significant contribution to the development of the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH), protection work with children at risk of sexual exploitation and missing young people and children.

Merton’s recent Ofsted inspection positively mentioned the operation of these groups, contributing to the overall Ofsted rating of ‘Good’, putting the local authority among the top performers in the country. Merton Safeguarding Board is one of just five in the country to be rated “Outstanding” by Ofsted.

Detective Chief Constable Nicola Church receiving her award from Mayor of Merton Cllr Marsie Skeete

Detective Chief Inspector Nicola Church receiving her award from Mayor of Merton Cllr Marsie Skeete

Chief Inspector Nicola Church said: “I feel extremely honoured to have received this award and proud to have played a part in the ‘Good’ Ofsted rating.”

Debbie Fawcett from Central London Community Healthcare (CLCH) supports some of the most vulnerable families, placed by other boroughs, in temporary accommodation in Merton.

Debbie Fawcett receiving her award from Mayor of Merton Cllr Marsie Skeete

Debbie Fawcett receiving her award from Mayor of Merton Cllr Marsie Skeete

Families and professionals repeatedly comment how impressed they have been with Debbie’s ability to engage and support people, whilst working with multiple agencies and multiple boroughs. On finding out about her award, she said: “I was so touched to receive an award, but also slightly shocked! I really appreciate it.”

Julia Waters has been honoured for her exceptional work as headteacher of Ursuline High School. Achieving an ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted rating has not stopped Julia striving for continued improvements at her school, ensuring both the school and the pupils are the best they can be.

Julia Waters receiving her award from Mayor of Merton Cllr Marsie Skeete

Julia Waters receiving her award from Mayor of Merton Cllr Marsie Skeete

Julia also finds time to work with a number of Merton schools, in partnership with Merton’s School Improvement Team, sharing her knowledge and supporting them on their improvement journey, most recently as Executive Headteacher of Sacred Heart Primary School. After the ceremony, she said: “I am thrilled to have been given this community award.”

Leader of the council Councillor Stephen Alambritis said: “I’d like to congratulate all our community champion winners. The dedication of Merton’s community is second to none and their tireless work helps the council make Merton a great place for families to live and visit.”

All of the award winners were honoured for their outstanding contribution to the Merton community. The Excellence Awards were held in Mitcham.