Wimbledon College and Merton Citizens lobbying with success

Wimbledon College students address the Council at the civic centre
Wimbledon College students address the Council

Sponsoring refugees

A delegation of boys and staff from Wimbledon College celebrated Refugee Week with a landmark event at Merton Civic Centre on Friday where they made public commitment to sponsoring a refugee family.  The event was organised by Merton Citizens – part of the Citizens UK community organizing movement.

Following the example of a number of churches around the borough, including Sacred Heart in Wimbledon, a consortium of Merton faith schools agreed to work together to raise the £9,000 sponsorship needed.

Wimbledon College is working with St Mark’s Church of England Academy in Mitcham and Sacred Heart primary in New Malden to raise the money in order to sustain a refugee family within the local community.

College students joined St Mark’s students in making presentations to Merton Councillors and the Council committed to promoting a Refugee Welcome event next year. 

Cllr Alambritis and James PotterSchool chaplain James Potter presented Leader of the Council Cllr Stephen Alambritis with a Paddington Bear toy , in recognition of his commitment to supporting 50 school places for refugee children.

Mental Health Charter

Earlier in the month Wimbledon College had been active with Merton Citizens in lobbying for another important project to support mental health in schools.  Again working with St Mark’s Academy, Wimbledon College has been lobbying the Council and the South West London St George’s  Mental Health Trust for two years to develop a mental health charter for schools.

The proposed charter was co-created by students from a wide network of local schools, both primary and secondary. Six of these schools attended a symposium last month attended by the Director of the local Mental Health Trust along with her staff.  Ten Wimbledon College students attended.

“All schools have the same problems with students experiencing isolation; they need better sharing between them and better connections direct to NHS staff to ensure action is taken quickly before problems escalate”, chaplain James Potter explained.  “The scheme started as a little local initiative, but we were encouraged by the interest evidenced at the symposium from the MHT and their continued interest in dialogue with the schools.  They are now in process of developing a concrete plan to roll out in schools which will destigmatise mental health problems, and build the partnership between  students, staff and local services to help young people at a point when it is still possible to make a difference.”