March vaccine update

The NHS in Merton is currently offering the vaccine to the following groups:

  • people aged 50 and over
  • people aged 16 and over who are clinically extremely vulnerable (also referred to as high risk), or clinically vulnerable (also referred to as moderate risk) - details of who falls into these categories is available here 
  • people who live or work in care homes
  • health and social care workers
  • people who are eligible for Carer's Allowance (more info here)

If you fall into any of these groups you can book a vaccination online here, or for free by calling 119, open 7am-11pm, 7 days a week

South London listens

South London Citizens and the South London Mental Health and Community Partnership have put together a survey to understand how people are coping during the Covid-19 pandemic, and what issues are putting pressure on people's wellbeing.

It is part of the South London Listens campaign, run by local community groups, mental health trusts and local authorities, with the aim of working together to support and protect local mental health during and after the pandemic.

You can take part in the survey here - it's open until the end of March.

Enhanced coronavirus testing in Wimbledon Park

Residents who live or work in the Wimbledon Park area are being asked to get tested for coronavirus, even if they have no symptoms, as part of an enhanced testing program due to a case of the South African variant being found in the area. 

You need to get tested if you meet all of the following criteria:

If you meet all these criteria, and do not have symptoms of coronavirus there are two ways you can get a test:

  • Book a test at one of the mobile testing units. These are located at Wimbledon Park Golf Club and at the car park at the rear of Wickes on Waterside Way. These will be open daily 8am-3pm from Friday 26th February to Thursday 4th March. Slots can be booked here (pre-booking is required).
  • Use a home testing kit. These can be picked up and dropped off at Christ the King Church Hall, 9 Crescent Gardens, Wimbledon Park, SW19 8AJ. This will open daily, 8.30am-6pm, from Monday 1 until Friday 5 March. No booking is needed. If you are shielding and need help to pick up / return a home test kit contact the council on 020 8274 5332 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. 

If you have symptoms of coronavirus (high temperature, new continuous cough, or loss / change to sense of smell / taste) you should get tested in the normal way by booking a free NHS test.

More information about the enhanced testing program is available on the Merton Council website

Resilience & wellbeing event

Lib Dem Executive Team member and business / well-being coach Viv Vella recently held a members’ event centred on boosting well-being and resilience. She recommended the following resources:

Exercise & movement

  • Movement is crucial to our wellbeing, and lockdown has made exercising difficult for many people. Couch to 5k is an app to help everyone (especially complete beginners!) get running. 

Wellbeing & mental health resources

  • The 5 minute journal app (available on the App store and Google Play) is designed to increase wellbeing by focusing on positive experiences and self reflection 
  • There are a number of apps available to aid in mindfulness - some popular choices are Headspace / Calm / Insight Timer
  • Sleepio is a digital CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) program designed to help you sleep better
  • BBC Headroom is a digital `mental health toolkit' full of resources and tips to help you look after your mental health
  • Bounce Forward is a free resilience course for parents in London


Viv also has some more specific resources for people experiencing domestic abuse and eating disorders - if you would like her to send you any of these resources please send an enquiry to [email protected]

Vaccination update

The NHS in Merton has now moved on to vaccinating people who are aged 65-69, or who are aged 16-64 and have underlying health conditions. If you fall into either of these groups you should wait to be contacted by the NHS before trying to book an appointment:

  • People aged 65-69 will receive a letter from the national booking service with details of how to book a vaccination appointment
  • People aged 16-64 with underlying health conditions will be invited to appointments by their GP

Anyone over 70 years old who has not yet received their first vaccination is being urged to come forward and contact the NHS to book an appointment. This can be done via the national booking service, either at this website or by calling 119 free of charge between 7am and 11pm seven days a week. If no suitable slots are available through the national booking service you can also ring your GP practise. People over 70 years old who have not received their first vaccination do not need to wait for an invitation letter before booking an appointment.

The NHS is working with the Council to provide vaccination appointments to all front line social care workers.

If you do not fall into any of the above categories then the NHS will contact you when it is your turn to receive a vaccination. Please don't try to book an appointment until you receive an invitation letter or are contacted by your GP.

Signing up for a postal vote

It's just been confirmed that the London elections in May are due to go ahead. It's difficult to predict what the next couple of months will bring, but it is likely that there will still be some social distancing measures in place in May. So there's never been a better time to sign up for a postal vote to ensure that you don't miss out on your chance to have your voice heard.

Apply for a postal vote today with these easy steps:

  1. Complete and print the form at
  2. Sign the form and send it to Merton council at: Electoral Registration Officer, Merton Civic Centre, London Road, SM4 5DX


    Sign Up for a Postal Vote

We're calling for action now

Merton Liberal Democrats are extremely concerned about Merton’s low vaccination rates. Even before the pandemic came along, our borough had one of the country’s worst records for childhood vaccine levels. And Merton's record is similarly poor for vaccinations recommended for adults.  

As we move forward with COVID-19, this is a tragedy. 

The low level of vaccination in the borough must impact negatively on the NHS in the winter months. And when a vaccine for coronavirus does become available, it's unlikely that the overall poor level of take-up will improve without urgent action.

Merton Council must get to grips with tackling this issue.

That's why we called for urgent action at the November council meeting.

The Coronavirus pandemic means that our usual ways of staying in touch with people are difficult. So if you'd like to receive our monthly email newsletters, or for someone to call you to chat about local issues, please let us know by filling in this form.

Pubs in urgent “Keep the lights on” protest at 10pm curfew

Ahead of a crunch vote in the House of Commons next week, the Liberal Democrats have teamed up with pubs, restaurants and community clubs across the country to launch a “Keep the lights on” campaign in protest at the 10pm curfew.

Liberal Democrat Parliamentary spokesperson, Cllr Paul Kohler said:
"As a small business owner I know first hand the disastrous impact that the curfew is having on responsible hospitality venues in Wimbledon and across London. 
"The government has not provided any evidence that the curfew is good for public health, and nor have they provided any financial assistance to support businesses that have been affected. 

"It is time for Ministers to either come forward with the evidence, or rethink the curfew. Stephen Hammond should stand up for local pubs and refuse to back Boris Johnson’s curfew.”

Venues across the country, including Cllr Kohler's bar, flashed their lights in an 'SOS' Morse Code pattern in the minutes after the enforced shutdown on Friday and Saturday. The campaign is supported by both the Campaign for Real Ale and the Night Time Industry Association.

The Liberal Democrats want to see a return to staggered leaving times instead of a 10pm closure that has seen mass crowds on the streets and public transport.

With rates on the rise in some parts of the country, Liberal Democrats are also calling on the Government to guarantee that furlough remains available to businesses that are put into lockdown while not penalising those that can open with the arbitrary 10pm curfew. 

Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats Daisy Cooper, who launched the campaign, said:


Read more

Merton COVID-19 Community Response Hub

The Merton COVID-19 Community Response Hub is a partnership between Age UK Merton, Merton Voluntary Service Council and Wimbledon Guild, supported by the Merton Council. It was set up in March 2020 to help isolated households and those at risk from COVID-19 in Merton. 

Are you isolated, at risk from COVID-19, and in need of help with any of the following?

  • Support with shopping and basic supplies
  • Access to prescription and medication
  • Telephone befriending
  • Advice and practical help to stay active.
  • support to stay independent at home

If you, or someone you know, needs help please email [email protected] or call 020 8685 2272, between 10am and 4pm, Monday to Friday. 

Information about the hub is available in a range of different languages on the MVSC website.

Fears that vulnerable children are being left behind during lockdown

As new research reveals the impact of lockdown on childrens’ education we’re calling on the Council to lay out its plans to support
vulnerable children and help schools reopen safely.

Research out last week suggests that as many as 20% of pupils are doing less than an hour of school work a day during lockdown, with some children doing none at all. 

Here in Merton, Lib Dem councillors have discovered that in May the Council identified 666 children and young people as not having suitable computer equipment or internet access available to learn from home. On 22 June, 107 devices were distributed to children in year 10 but it is unclear when the rest of the needed equipment will arrive from the Government.

Liberal Democrat Cllr Hina Bokhari said:

“As a parent, school governor, and former teacher I am profoundly concerned by the deepening educational inequality that lockdown is causing.

“Local charities have been doing incredible work securing laptops and other equipment to allow children to access school work from home. And I know that schools and teachers are doing everything they can to support students.

“But the Government and local authorities need to sit down with teachers, and work out a strategy to enable children to catch up on the education they’ve missed. Otherwise we’re risking the educational development of a generation of children.

“As part of this we’re calling on Merton Council to consider using local public spaces to ease pressure on schools by allowing them to make more space for socially distanced learning.”