Last updated: 29 May 2020
In light of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, the health and wellbeing of our residents, staff and service users is our top priority. We are working hard to respond to the spread of the virus and to provide up to date information on council services as the situation develops.
On this page
- Changes to council services
- What you need to do
- How to help your community
- Help for residents
- Help for business and self-empoyed
- Help for voluntary organisations
- Help for arts and culture
- Support for care homes – our response to Government
Changes to council services
We have made the very difficult decision to change or close some of our services in line with government advice. We are working hard to provide vital services and to ensure our most vulnerable residents are supported.
Please use our website to access services if you can, instead of phoning us, as this gives us more capacity to speak to those who cannot access online services.
|Deaf or hearing-impaired adults||Our drop in service is still open but not at the Civic Centre, please contact Mary Hicks||21 April 2020|
|Transport strategy||We have prepared an emergency transport response to the Coronavirus pandemic and to aid social distancing in the borough: see Transport Strategy||7 May 2020|
|Planning enforcement||Enforcement site visits are restricted. If you wish to report a planning breach please include as much detail and photographs if possible||16 April 2020|
|Cemeteries||We have changed the opening hours for our cemeteries.||24 April 2020|
|Funerals||Chapel services are no longer available. |
Attendees at grave side services are limited to 10 immediate family members.
|26 May 2020|
|Adult social care||Care services are running as normal.|
Leyton Road Day Centre, All Saints Day Centre and Eastway Day Centre are closed.
Home-based care is still being provided as normal.
|25 March 2020|
|Recycling and rubbish||Collections are operating as normal.|
Please put disposable paper masks in your general waste – not in your recycling – and tie the bag securely.
If you are self-isolating please see the guidance on putting out your rubbish and recycling for collection.
Visits to Garth Road reuse and recycling centre must be booked in advance.
Please do not leave items outside closed charity shops, or dispose of your household waste in bonfires or litter bins.
For further details and a PDF leaflet, see Coronavirus update: your rubbish and recycling service
|11 May 2020|
|Libraries||Library branches are closed|
We have introduced a temporary fine amnesty, automatic renewals and widened access to e-books and online resources.
Home visits library service is operating as normal to help support our vulnerable residents
|25 March 2020|
|Civic centre, Morden||Closed to the public|
Alternative arrangements are in place for residents who require face to face services and we will provide further updates with details as soon as possible.
|25 March 2020|
|Register a death||If a death occurs in Merton please telephone 020 8274 5777 for an appointment. Please do not come to the office as all registrations will be conducted over the telephone.||6 April 2020|
|Parking||Enforcement: We are doing everything possible to support NHS workers, care workers, NHS volunteers and Merton Voluntary Service Council (MVSC) volunteers who are working incredibly hard to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.|
Pay and display parking is suspended in bays near Wimbledon Common up to and including 28 April. Normal parking arrangements will be restored from 29 April.
Visitor scratchcard permits are temporarily unavailable, but visitor e-permits are still available.
|14 May 2020|
|Road maintenance||We have re-programmed our road maintenance works to minimise disruption to residential streets and focus on essential road works to keep the borough moving.||20 April 2020|
|Wimbledon town centre improvements||Public realm enhancements at Wimbledon Theatre and St Marks Place will start in the summer (pending any further changes due to Covid19).||20 April 2020|
|Parks and green spaces||Please remain at least 2 metres apart from others at all times. |
No barbecues in our parks. Please enjoy your food at home. Barbecues are temporarily banned in all of our parks until further notice.
Help us to keep everyone safe in our parks.
Please keep your dog under control at all times and on a lead if necessary. Read our guidance on using parks safely.
All car parks in parks are now open.
Playgrounds and outdoor gyms in parks are temporarily closed.
Wimbledon Park: all enclosed areas have temporary been closed off for public safety
|14 May 2020|
|Events||A number of events in our parks have been cancelled, including Rough-Runner and the Wimbledon Park Easter funfair, whilst others have been postponed. Please check with the event organiser using contact details on our events calendar.||25 March 2020|
|Consultations||Consultations about controlled parking zones, traffic and road safety schemes, and Morden regeneration have been suspended.||20 April 2020|
|Schools||Closed except to certain children as per government guidelines||25 March 2020|
|Children’s centres||Church Road, Acacia, Steers Mead, Newminster and Lower Morden are open for health and midwifery services only.||25 March 2020|
|School admissions||Operating as normal||25 March 2020|
|Adult learning courses||Face to face learning has been suspended. Online courses are still available. You can also register an expression of interest for future courses.||1 May 2020|
|Leisure centres and gyms||Closed||25 March 2020|
|Council meetings||Cancelled until the end of April||25 March 2020|
|Planning applications||We are continuing to register validate and consider planning applications which will be consulted on by letter.|
Committee meetings will be taking place virtually.
A virtual planning committee is planned for 14 May
More applications are being decided by senior officers temporarily.
Site visits are not taking place unless essential, and we are requesting photographic evidence instead.
|21 April 2020|
|Hate crime advice surgery||Cancelled until further notice. |
Reporting services are still available.
|25 March 2020|
|Domestic abuse one-stop shop||Suspended. Other support services are still available.||25 March 2020|
|Register office||Morden Park House is only accessible by appointment.|
Weddings until the end of April have been cancelled.
We have suspended all citizenship ceremonies.
|25 March 2020|
What you need to do
Follow the guidance from the Government to protect yourself and others.
How to help your community
It’s important that we look out for the most vulnerable residents in the borough. Some of those who are most at risk will require some practical assistance so, if you are willing and able to help, here are some steps you can take to support those in need.
- Join the MVSC coronavirus volunteer taskforce – Help isolated households in Merton.
- Join the NHS England Volunteer Responders – Carry out simple, non-medical tasks to support people who are shielding themselves from coronavirus.
- Donate to the Merton Giving coronavirus fund – The fund will provide grants to local charities.
- Donate to Wimbledon Food Bank
- Find further information on COVID-19 for voluntary organisations – Read information for voluntary and community sectors groups receiving council funding.
- Connect and reach out to your neighbours – Stay in touch with neighbours to check on their physical and mental health. Share contact details and stay in touch.
- Make the most of local online groups – Keep up to date, share information and be a positive part of your local community conversations.
- Share accurate information and advice – Support anyone who may be anxious about COVID-19. Sign post them to the correct advice from Public Health England and encourage people to follow the correct hygiene practices.
Help for residents
- Merton COVID-19 Community Response Hub – Help for isolated households and those at risk from COVID-19
- Age UK Merton – support for older people
- Wimbledon Guild – Talking therapies, grief support and well being support
- Commonside Trust – Support and assistance to vulnerable individuals and families in Pollards Hill.
- Wimbledon Foodbank – Part of a nationwide network of food banks, supported by The Trussell Trust.
- Merton Mutual Aid – A grassroots community organising network established to support vulnerable Merton residents during the COVID-19 crisis.
- Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Organisation – Network of volunteers providing support to the vulnerable and those self-isolating. Linked to Bhaitul Futuh Mosque in Morden.
- South West London Law Centres – Help for local people with legal advice and casework including problems they are facing as a result of coronavirus.
- Merton Mencap – Provides support and service for children, young people and adults with a learning disability.
- Merton Centre for Independent Living – Support for disabled people in Merton
- MertonVision – Support for residents with impaired vision.
- Carers Support Merton – Providing support to unpaid carers, both adults and young people.
- Merton Dementia Hub – Providing support for people with dementia as well as their families and carers.
- Association for Polish Family – Providing advice, information and guidance including on Covid19 related issues. The service is available in Polish/English from 9am – 2pm Monday-Friday.
- Merton Community Transport – Offering food collection and transport for groups, organisations or individuals.
- Merton Growbaby – Providing good quality, new and second-hand, baby clothes and equipment.
- Disability Grants News – Self Isolation Resources – Regular newsletters and resources to support disabled people at home. The newsletter contains details about grants, support and resources available.
- Bereavement support
Employment and training
- If you’re worried about losing your job
Your employer may be able to claim 80% of your salary from the Government under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
- If you’ve been made redundant
Your employer is allowed to re-employ you and receive payment from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
If not, you can find out about other support here:
Citizens Advice benefits calculator
New Style Job Seeker’s Allowance
- If you need help to find a job
Visit our Get Help Finding a Job page
- Training and skills
Many free online courses are available to help you upskill and potentially change career.
Training and skills providers
- National Careers Service provide free support to any workers on Furlough, one-to-one redundancy support, career planning, and advice and guidance for all staff at risk of redundancy as well as matching employees to new job and learning opportunities.
- Council Tax Support – You may be eligible if your income has been affected by COVID-19.
- Local Welfare Support Scheme – We have a limited fund to support the most vulnerable Merton residents with short term severe financial difficulties.
- Turn2Us – A national charity helping people when times get tough.
Families of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)
- National Youth Agency
Resources to help you keep calm, stay connected and be safe.
- Merton Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAHMS) offers a crisis duty line on 0800 292 2505 / 020 8254 8061 from 9am to 5pm Monday – Friday.
- SLP CAMHS Crisis Line information support line is available out of hours on 020 3228 5980 for young people who need urgent support.
- Off the Record provides online and telephone counselling services.
- SWLSTG Mental Health Support Line 0800 028 8000
Monday – Friday: 10.00 pm – 9am
Weekends and Bank Holidays: 9.00 pm – 9am
British Sign Language (BSL) users
Help for businesses and self-employed
Business Rates discounts
- Business Rates holiday for retail, leisure and hospitality businesses, including pubs
- Business Rates holiday for nurseries
- Other businesses having trouble paying their Business Rates should contact us: they may be eligible for a 3-month deferral
Grants and funding
- Coronavirus grants for small businesses in receipt of small business rate relief
- Coronavirus grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses
- Coronavirus discretionary business grants
- Crowdfunder UK – Pay it Forward are offering 100% free crowd-funding for businesses, sports and social clubs throughout the crisis (i.e. you won’t pay any fees). They’ve also partnered up with Enterprise Nation, who will be providing access to free training and support for business with online sales, marketing and finance
- Sport England – Community Emergency Fund is targeted at organisations, including those not currently supported by Sport England, who have a role in supporting the nation to be active. Grants of between £300 and £10,000 are available.
- Arts Council England has announced a cash injection to help artists, venues and freelancers in the cultural sector, including individuals and organisations.
- Spotify is working on a tool that will allow artists to fundraise on their Spotify artist profile pages. Artists can sign up to receive more info when it’s available.
- Help Musicians has created a £5m Coronavirus Hardship Fund to alleviate some of the immediate financial pressures that many professional musicians (individuals) may be facing.
- The Society of Authors – Authors Emergency Fund – Applications are open to all types of writers, illustrators, literary translators, scriptwriters, poets, journalists and others for whom author-related activities make up a substantial amount of their annual income.
- Newable is offering free business support to small businesses in Merton.
Advice, information, guidance and support
- Job Centre Plus – Employer Help – Offers a range of advice to help businesses overcome challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Not Fur’ Long – A group of advertising professionals – from some of the best agencies in London – who’ve been furloughed are offering strategic and creative support, for a time-limeted period, to help keep small businesses alive and thriving.
- Tutti – A portal for the creative industries including a list of free resources for freelancers.
- Music-making services SoundBetter, Soundtrap and Anchor’s Listener Support are offering discounts at the moment.
- Culture at Risk – Businesses in the cultural sector, creative industries or night-time economy in London, can register their details for support, guidance and resources.
- Information from central government
- National Careers Service run Skills Health checks of existing workforce, provide recommendations and support to Employers for future recruitment or training, including the provision of online learning.
- The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) is working with Merton DWP partner Reed in Partnership – as well as other national agencies – to connect community recruitment support that will enable employers access the local candidates to quickly fill vacancies.
More local business support
- We are deferring commercial rents for 3 months.
- Street trading licence fees have been suspended.
- Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) will receive their levy payments from the council for their first quarter in advance.
- More support services for local businesses
If you are a Merton-based business and you have an issue relating to coronavirus, please contact us via our Coronavirus Business Support form and we will be in touch with you as soon as possible.
Financial support from central government
The Government Business Support website lists the full range of business support measures available to UK businesses and employees, including:
- Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
- Self-Employment Income Support Scheme
- deferring VAT and Income Tax payments
- Statutory Sick Pay relief for small and medium sized businesses
- Business Rates holiday for retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses
- Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
- HMRC Time To Pay scheme
Other information from central government
- GOV.UK coronavirus business support hub
- Apply for a coronavirus Bounce Back Loan
- Find coronavirus financial support for your business
- Protection from eviction
- Pubs and restaurants can operate as takeaways
- How to keep your employees safe
- Businesses and community spaces that must be closed
- How to clean workplaces safely
- Check what you need to do about Statutory Sick Pay
- Find out what to do for different businesses and organisations
- UK businesses trading internationally
- What the government is doing to support businesses
- How to close holiday accommodation to temporary residents
Help for voluntary organisations
Support is available for civil society groups affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
Help for arts and culture
If you are an arts organisation, business or individual working in the cultural sector, creative industries or night-time economy in London, please visit the Mayor of London’s Culture at Risk page to register your details for support, guidance and resources.
Support for care homes – our response to Government
On 29 May 2020, in response to a request from the Government’s Minister for Care, the Council was asked to publish a full outline of the support provided to care homes during the pandemic. The outline response to the Government is below.