New Year’s message from Councillor Mark Allison

As we face new restrictions and a national lockdown, there is no doubt the pandemic is at a new height and getting it under control is of vital importance as we roll out vaccinations. For many, 2020 will have been the hardest year in memory; hundreds of people across the borough have dealt with huge personal losses, and thousands more have gone for long periods of time without seeing loved ones. 

I want to thank everyone who pulled together so much last year to help those in need, and who highlighted the incredible kindness and community spirit of Merton residents and organisations during these challenging times. You have all shown that Merton is a great place and a truly great community. 

Whether you were part of our Merton Together campaign, or supporting vulnerable people, delivering hot meals, helping at food banks, or are part of our amazing voluntary sector – such as the Merton Community Hub – we simply couldn’t have got through 2020 without your incredible dedication. 

Sadly, this virus is still with us as we begin 2021, and infection rates in Merton and across the nation are worryingly high. Due to the high infection rates, the Prime Minister announced this week that England will enter another lockdown period from now until the end of March.  

This is tough news to hear, but it’s important to remember it does not mean we are back at square one. The COVID-19 vaccines are being rolled out as fast as possible across Merton, so when you are called by the NHS, please do take the vaccine to protect yourself and others.  

We also have some Rapid 30-minute COVID-19 tests (lateral flow tests) available for all Merton residents with no symptoms and additional rapid testing for key workers, carers and volunteers with no symptoms. Simply visit our website and book yourself a lateral flow test. If you DO have symptoms you must isolate immediately and book a test as soon as possible through the GOV.UK website.  

Finally, I’d like to thank all the volunteers who have enabled us to get our community testing site at Morden Assembly Hall up and running so quickly this week, with Christmas not slowing their efforts, so that we can now offer more testing for those with no symptoms which will enable people to isolate when needed and help us supress this virus until the vaccine is widely available.  

 We remain in this fight together and I urge you all to stay at home and play your part in keeping Merton safe. I wish you a better and safer 2021.  

 Thanks and stay safe,   Mark Allison, Leader of Merton Council