July 2013

Dear friend,

Welcome to my latest newsletter about all that’s going on in Mitcham, Morden and Colliers Wood.
I hope that you’re enjoying the warm weather – it probably won’t last long! There are loads of good things to do when you live in an area like ours, from walking across the historic Morden Hall Park to splashing about in one of our paddling pools.

But I’m not here to give you the weather forecast. It might be what most journalists call ‘silly season’, but there’s plenty of news affecting us here in Mitcham and Morden. Most important is a major story that could help us protect our local hospitals St Helier and St George’s. So without further ado...
 
A&E closures – the courts have their say...
In case you didn’t notice the news, earlier this week the High Court ruled that the Government’s decision to shut the A&E at Lewisham Hospital was unlawful (see here for details).

As you probably know, the A&Es – and various other units, like maternity, renal services and paediatrics – at St Helier, Epsom and Croydon Hospitals are under threat too, and closures there will lead to even more overcrowding at our other local hospital St George’s. So what does the High Court decision mean for us?

Well, at the moment it’s hard to say, but it’s obviously a fantastic victory for campaigners who want to save the NHS. The High Court decided that the Government had acted unlawfully when it announced Lewisham would shut because GPs wanted to keep it open, and the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt had ignored them.

That just goes to show how important it is to persuade GPs to back the Save St Helier campaign. So whatever else you do this summer, please contact your GP and beg them to write to our local NHS (known as Merton CCG) opposing the closure of St Helier. Your GP is now your representative within the NHS, and if they don’t cast their vote to Save St Helier, we will probably lose – so make it your summer resolution to get in touch, and let me know what they say!

Thank you to everyone for your continuing to do all you can to Save St Helier. If the cuts go ahead, we will lose our intensive care unit, our neonatal unit, our children’s services, our renal unit and about half our 390 in-patient beds as well as our A&E and maternity unit. That sort of disruption is bound to have a devastating impact on St George’s, which is already near bursting point.

And following the news that our local 111 service is in turmoil (read about it here), the last thing we need is any further cuts to our local NHS!
 
Fight for Change
There are so many groups and clubs offering activities for young people. To check out a few, please have a look at the Directory I produced a few months ago highlighting what a wide range of things there are for them to do. You can read it on my website here.

Last week, I was lucky enough to go to the launch of a project run by Fight for Change in Phipps Bridge. Fight for Change was set up by boxing legend Richie Woodhall, and is designed to give young people at risk of getting into trouble something better to do. Thanks to funding from the Rio Ferdinand Foundation and the Evening Standard Dispossessed Fund and the support of the police, the project has now moved into Mitcham. It will offer activities and a personal development programme based around boxing, and hopefully this will lead to the young people getting employment or training opportunities in the future. Good luck to everyone involved!
 
Big thanks for a longstanding public servant
With it being the end of term, a number of long-serving teachers and school staff are reaching retirement. Good luck and thanks to you all! It seems unfair to single anyone out, but as I’ve just mentioned Phipps Bridge, Alison Henshall, the retiring Deputy Head at Haslemere Primary School, deserves a particular word of thanks. She has worked so hard to make Phipps Bridge a great place for young people to grow up.

In addition to her sterling efforts in making sure Haslemere is one of our top primary schools, her involvement in the Friends of Phipps Bridge is worthy of the highest praise. Good luck Alison, and every other retiring public servant. You’ve served our community proud!
 
Local Park one of best in country
As I mentioned at the start of this email, there are lots of great places to visit in Mitcham and Morden, especially when the weather’s nice (you can read more in my “Welcome to Mitcham and Morden booklet”, available on my website here).

Apparently, this is “Love Parks Week”, and I’m pleased to say that one of our local parks, Colliers Wood Recreation Ground, has just been granted a prestigious Green Flag award as one of the best parks in the country. You can find out more here. Having grown up in Colliers Wood, I’ve got many happy memories of the Rec, and I’m pleased that it’s going from strength to strength. Despite all the savings they are having to make, Merton Council has protected the Rec’s paddling pool, and the community has done a great job making it a lovely place to visit.
 
Good Luck Caroline!
Talking of Colliers Wood, I couldn’t go without mentioning my friend Caroline Cooper-Marbiah, who is standing for election in Colliers Wood next Thursday. I’ve said many times that we live in a strong community, and Caroline epitomises that. She helped set up a residents association in the Crusoe Road area of Colliers Wood, in order to deal with anti-social behaviour that was taking place there, and she’s got things done. She works in finance, and her degree is in accountancy, and I’m sure that’ll come in handy too, given how important it is for Councils to make their money stretch a little bit further.

Yes, I know, I’m sorry to throw a bit of politics into this little community newsletter, but if you live in the Colliers Wood area, please do remember to vote, whoever it is for. I’ve expressed strong views on the importance of registering to vote (read more here).

This election is taking place due to the death of Gam Gurung, a brave man who served this country in the armed forces as a Gurkha. Our troops are prepared to sacrifice so much for the democracy we sometimes take for granted, so if you want to honour his memory, please do vote.

In the mean time, if you want to find out more about why I’m backing Caroline, please click here. And if you want to find out more about her campaign she’s on Facebook here.

Anyway, let’s hope the sun stays out a little longer, so that we can all enjoy a relaxing summer. If you’ve got any ideas for events or stories about other local people or groups to go in my next newsletter please email me at siobhain@mmlp.org.uk.
 
My best wishes,