Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year!
Can I take this opportunity to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I have thoroughly enjoyed seeing all of the lights and decorations going up across our communities, and am looking forward to enjoying the festive season with my family and friends.
However, as we are all too aware, the Christmas season is a difficult time of year for many local people, so please read on to see what services and events are happening locally for those who need a helping hand at this time of year.
Don’t Be On Your Own This Christmas…
Whilst Christmas is supposed to be a time spent with friends and family, it doesn’t always work out that way for everybody. If you would otherwise be on your own this Christmas, or if you know someone who would be, then please let them know that they don’t have to be.
Churches Together in Mitcham – a multi-denominational group of Churches in Mitcham – has teamed up with some local volunteers to offer a free Christmas Lunch for those who might not get one otherwise. It will take place between 11am and 4pm at the New Horizon Centre, South Lodge Avenue, Mitcham, CR4 1LT, and there will be a traditional three-course lunch (with a vegetarian option available), and transport can even be arranged.
All of this is by prior arrangement only, so if you would like to reserve a place then please do so by contacting Councillor Judy Saunders on firstname.lastname@example.org or by ringing her on 07720 565 454.
The Alexandra Pub in Wimbledon will also be providing a free Christmas Lunch and a beer for those who would be on their own otherwise. All you have to do is let them know you are coming by emailing email@example.com or by ringing 0208 947 7691.
Additionally, for those under financial pressure, Wimbledon Foodbank is able to offer temporary relief at what might be a difficult time. Rather than suffer in silence, why not give them a ring on 0208 544 0126.
I’m sure, like me, you will be heartened to know that at the time of good will our community can pull together to look after those in need.
Keeping the Kids Busy Over the Holidays…
We all know that it isn’t easy to keep your children occupied over the two-weeks Christmas Holiday. Fortunately, the Pollards Hill Library has put on several different events to help keep the kids out of mischief.
Thursday 22nd December – “Astrosaurs – Explore Learning Workshop”, 12.30pm-1.30pm, Pollards Hill Library, South Lodge Avenue, Mitcham, CR4 1LT. For 6-8 years. To book spaces please ring 0208 274 5741.
Do you think you know all there is to know about ‘Astrosaurs’? Why not come along and design your own alien and help your character complete his own missions!
Thursday 29th December – “How to Hide A Lion – Polka Theatre Storytelling Workshop”, 2.00pm-2.45pm, Pollards Hill Library, South Lodge Avenue, Mitcham, CR4 1LT. For 3-6 years. To book spaces please ring 0208 274 5741.
Based on the enchanting story by Helen Williams. Come along to this storytelling workshop and get FREE tickets to the Polka Theatre’s ‘World of Stories and Music’ which will be held on Saturday 7th January 2017.
Siobhain's office over Christmas
My next advice surgery will take place on Friday 6th January
- please give the office a call to book an appointment.
My Parliamentary office will be open for calls between Wednesday 28th to Friday 30th December,
from between 10am-4pm
- so do call between them to book an appointment for the 6th January.
Christmas Day Emergency? Here’s some numbers that could help:
We all know that sometimes disaster strikes at the most inconvenient of times, but if it happens to you on Christmas Day would you know who to call? I’ve listed below some of the numbers you might need in the event that something goes wrong at the worst possible time: British Gas – Emergency 24/7 Contact Number – 0800 111 999
National Grid – Report a Power Cut (London Hotline) – 0800 028 0247
Thames Water – Report a blockage, a burst pipe, or no water from your taps – 0800 316 9800
Merton Council – Out of Hours Hotline, for social care or homelessness support – 020 8770 5000
Police/Fire/Ambulance – 999 (Emergencies Only, 24/7 Hotline)
Health Scare over Christmas?
Our local A&E services are at St. George’s Hospital, Blackshaw Road, SW17 0QT, and St. Helier Hospital, Wrythe Lane, SM5 1AA (thankfully it has been saved!). Both A&E departments are open 24 hours a day/7 days a week, including over weekends and on Christmas Day. Also, if you don't feel you need A&E but still want to see a Doctor, the Wilson Hospital on Cranmer Rd, Mitcham, CR4 4TP is operating a walk-in centre every day, including Christmas Day, from 8am-8pm.
Pharmacies are often able to advise you on minor ailments like sore throats or coughing – so to see a full list of pharmacies that will be open over the holiday period, click HERE.
Please take care over Christmas, but in the event you or someone in your family does fall unwell then rest assured that our fabulous local health services are available to you all year round!
Christmas Tree Recycling and Rubbish Collection Dates
Once the festive season is over, you will be pleased to know that Merton Council is once again collecting Christmas trees for composting. This popular local service was started many years ago by Labour. The Council will collect real trees for free up until 29th January 2017. In order to have your tree collected, simply remove all decorations and place it at the front of your property no later than Sunday 8th January where it can be clearly seen from the road, but not on the pavement. If your tree has not been collected by the 29th January then you can let Merton know by completing the missed collection form or calling the refuse team on 020 8274 4902.
If you have transport and prefer to do so you can take your Christmas tree to the Garth Road Refuse and Recycling Centre, and place it in the green waste for composting.
Please also make sure you are aware of any change of collection dates for your street over the festive period. You can find out the holiday collection times but visiting Merton Council’s website by clicking HERE.You can also use the missed collection form throughout the year if your household rubbish or recycling is not collected on the day it should be.
A New Take on a Christmas Classic…
As you may know, over the past year I have been campaigning to make sure that low paid workers do not lose out as a result of the new, so-called, “National Living Wage” introduced by George Osborne in 2015. Essentially, whilst the minimum rate of pay has gone up, some companies are paying for this wage increase by cutting back on overtime pay, paid lunch breaks, special skills allowances, etc., leaving some workers up to £2,000 worse-off over a year even after an increase in basic pay.
The huge advertising and lobbying power these companies have – including some of the most well-known and respected high street brands such as M&S, John Lewis, B&Q – led to newspapers not wanting to cover my campaign very thoroughly. So to help gain publicity for my campaign, I, and several of my MP colleagues, recorded our own version of the song ‘Do They Know Its Christmas?’ with our own lyrics.
The song, titled the ‘National Living Rage’, was released last week and has since gone viral. You can watch the video on YouTube by clicking HERE
. The song has gone viral, and has already been viewed more than 40,000 times on YouTube. All in all, it was a funny (and highly embarrassing) way of raising an important issue. If you’d like to find out more about my campaign, you can do so by visiting HERE
With that, all that is left to do is for me to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a joyous and happy New Year! Speak to you again in 2016!
With warmest wishes,
Siobhain McDonagh MP