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Community Champions: The year so far

Hello Sustainable Merton!

It has been an exciting few months to watch the Community Champions team grow in both number and ambition! We now have a team of 19 Champions and it’s been a real privilege for me, as Project Manager, to meet the Champions as they come on board and find out more about what bothers them and where they want to get stuck in.

Here are just some of our highlights…

In March we got together as a group of Community Champions, volunteers, staff, trustees, and partners to think about, discuss and decide which direction we’d like to go in. What came out of it was 3 priority areas that we think are the most pressing issues in Merton – Air quality, Waste (plastic and food), Energy consumption – and that over the next 10 years what we’d like to see is residents breathing cleaner air, and generally consuming less and producing less waste. There is a lot of work to do! But we are confident that with the Community Champions on board, we can spread the word about these issues, persuade our friends and neighbours that this matters and make the changes to our lifestyles that we need. Watch this space for more news on our new projects.

In April, we held two sustainability training events for the Community Champions. We had the privilege of hearing from our friends at South East London Community Energy who trained us in Energy efficiency, and Naomi Martin, Commonside Community Trust, also joined our training session to talk about financial inclusion and important services available in Merton. We had our home grown Sustainable Merton team, Tom Walsh, Ruth Baber train us in Air Quality, and Waste – supported by our friends from the British Lung Foundation, speaking about the negative impact of air pollution on our health. Our very own Community Champion, and trustee, Justyna Clarke, also trained us in Climate Change. Lots of discussion, knowledge and experience was shared!

If any of you have sustainability knowledge and skills that you’d be willing to share with us, please get in touch as we’d love to organise informal sharing sessions in the coming months! e:

In May a group of us were trained by Living Wandle, in partnership with the London Wildlife Trust, on the issues of water conservation and sustainable urban drainage systems (SuDs) – ie how we can prevent flooding in cities given how much concrete and tarmac we are surrounded by. We then got our hands dirty and learned how to build our own drainage solution in the form of a ‘rain garden’. It was tons of fun!

In July, I met up with 8 Community Champions at the Alexandra Pub in Wimbledon for a Community Champions social evening – getting to know each other and sharing our stories and sustainable interests. There was some lively debate! It was not only a fun evening but what came out of it was there is a group of Champions who are very passionate about combatting the issue of plastic waste. The group got together in August to discuss ideas of how Merton residents can respond locally to the global problem of non-recyclable plastics, supermarket packaging and all the plastic that is ending up in our oceans. Watch this space as the project emerges! And for our next social coming up in the Autumn.

And finally, thanks to you all for supporting us and visiting our stall at various events over the past months, attending workshops and consultations, and for sharing the knowledge and stories back to us. We are very lucky to have such a passionate, committed and enthusiastic bunch of people journeying with us.

If you’re interested in becoming a Community Champion we’d love to hear from you!



Community Champions Project Manager


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