Local charities in Merton and Wandsworth were the guests of honour last week at a reception organised by the Wimbledon Foundation, the charity of The All England Lawn Tennis Club.
Representatives from over 30 Merton and Wandsworth-based charities and community organisations awarded funding by the Wimbledon Foundation in 2015 attended alongside Stephen Hammond MP, the Mayor of Merton Councillor David Chung and the Mayor of Wandsworth Councillor Nicola Nardelli.
Guests enjoyed live jazz by young musicians from the Merton Music Foundation together with the chance to have their photographs taken with The Championship trophies. The highlight of the evening for many was a visit to a magical looking and eerily silent Centre Court.
There were speeches by Annie McDowall, chief executive of Share Community which provides training and employment support for disabled adults, including those with learning disabilities and mental health needs. Two of their trainees joined the All England Club waiting staff for the evening and spoke movingly about the impact Share Community has had on their self-confidence. Nicola Buitrago of Merton-based charity Friends In St Helier, described how the lunch clubs they run are helping to prevent loneliness and isolation amongst older members of the community.
Ian Hewitt, Chairman of the Wimbledon Foundation said, “Supporting our local communities of Merton and Wandsworth is at the very heart of what the Wimbledon Foundation does. The evening was a chance for us to celebrate the achievements of those we support and thank them for all the hard work they do to better our communities.”
The Wimbledon Foundation aims to use the heritage and resources of Wimbledon to help change people’s lives. One of its principal objectives is to make a significant contribution to meeting social needs in Merton and Wandsworth. In 2015 over £300,000 was awarded to charities and community organisations in the two boroughs.
The Wimbledon Foundation, established in 2013, is the charity of The All England Lawn Tennis Club. The Foundation builds on the success of an extensive programme of community and charitable activities over a number of years.