Council working with London Sport to create ambitious sporting strategy for Merton

Merton Council is working with London Sport to further develop its ambitious plans to put Merton on the map as a Borough of Sport. Cabinet members were updated on progress across the Borough in a Cabinet meeting on 5th December.

The work with London Sport, which aims to be completed by Spring 2023, will develop a blueprint for a Sport and Physical Activity Strategy to increase physical and sporting activity among residents, particularly focussing on those groups facing barriers to participation.

The strategy aims to give all 4–16-year-olds and over 65s the opportunity to participate in at least one free sporting activity each week, bringing together public bodies, voluntary groups, local businesses and grassroots organisations to deliver the ambition.

As well as work on a strategy for the future, Cabinet was also updated about initiatives already happening across Merton to promote sport and physical exercise.  

With over 450 events already taking each month (including yoga and exercise classes), Health and Wellbeing zones being launched, and footballs available on loan, in partnership with the Premier League and Sport England, Merton’s libraries are already great places to get active.

Work is also going on to raise awareness of green prescribing, the Live Longer Better programme for older people, and encouraging children and young people to cycle and walk around local areas by making them fun places to be.

The multi-use sports area (MUSA) at Haydons Road is almost complete, with Colliers Wood and Merton MUSAs also set to be renovated in spring 2023; walking tennis for the over 60s is now available at the Canons; and the Ethnic Minority Centre at Vestry Hall already has lots of non-swimmers signed up to get swimming for 30 weeks.

The Council is also working with the Youth Charter on a tour by their founder (and former world Karate Champion) Professor Geoff Thompson, who will be accompanied by Merton resident and double Olympian 100-metre hurdler Lorna Boothe MBE. The Youth Charter helps to tackle educational, health and social inequalities faced by young people by applying the ethics of sporting excellence.

Councillor Caroline Cooper-Marbiah, Cabinet Member for Sport and Heritage, and the first-ever Cabinet member with a role dedicated to improving sports development, said:

“I’m delighted London Sport has agreed to work with us to develop a strategy for the future of sport in Merton.

“By addressing barriers to access, and focussing on making initiatives sustainable by developing them in partnership with others, this is a big step towards achieving our ambition of making Merton a Borough of Sport.”