Hello <<First Name>>
Thank you to those who came to July Green Coffee and made it an information-packed meeting. We welcomed three new members to the Green Coffee network, Jade, Serena and Louise and hope they will join us for future meetings. Our next meeting will be on Tuesday 4th August 9.30 - 11am at the YMCA. The one after will be on Sept 1st. Everyone is welcome to come along to Green Coffee to tell their news or just to listen.
Read below for news on how nature can reclaim land and bring people together, the Pope's message, the fantastic Style Junkies exhibition ... and lots more.
PLEASE NOTE: The Green Coffee Update covers whatever views are expressed by individuals at the meeting, rather than giving a consensus view. Indeed, Green Coffee members often have different views on topics. The newsletter does not verify information or web links, so it's up to you to challenge views or correct information - and you are very welcome to send in your comments for discussion at the next meeting.
July Green Coffee - news
Air Quality & Transport
1. Air Quality - news
Sustainable Merton now has an air quality monitor and we await further news on how this will be made available so that local groups can measure pollution at their chosen locations. There are concerns that the impact on air quality has not been properly taken into account at the Plough Lane development. Air quality there was found to be poor when measured a few years ago.
It was suggested that people should ask their local school if they have a Walk to School plan. Air quality improves rapidly as you move away from a busy road, so providing advice on walking routes can substantially reduce the exposure of children to pollution. Living Streets is currently asking people to lobby their local MPs to ensure that the new Walk to School target for children is properly funded. See HERE
POST MEETING NOTE: It was reported in the Wimbledon Guardian that another planning application has been submitted to build a football stadium and housing in Plough Lane. This new application is intended to respond to the concerns about the initial planning application and will mean. This will mean another opportunity to input your comments. See the article HERE
2. Traffic Congestion Consultation
Traffic congestion was raised at the recent Wimbledon Community Forum. A consultation has been launched to get better enforcement of traffic movement offences in order to reduce congestion. The consultation will allow you to highlight any particular junctions or hot spots. Find it HERE.
3. Cyclists and Pedestrians
At the last Green Coffee, it was suggested that wide pavements could be shared between cyclists and pedestrians by painting a white line down the middle thus reducing conflict. Cyclists often ride on pavements to escape the danger and pollution of the roads, so the solution should be to make it safer and cleaner on the roads. A pedestrian in London is far more likely to be killed by a vehicle mounting the pavement than by a cyclist. However, it was pointed out that some cyclists do ride irresponsibly and cause injury and fear to pedestrians, especially the elderly, putting them off walking.
4. Pavement Parking
There is currently a problem of pavement parking on Lower Downs Rd, from Toynbee to Kingston Rd. There is little enforcement of laws preventing pavement parking, which is banned in London (except where specifically allowed). This needs to be investigated, perhaps with photos being sent into the council. Pavement parking is a nuisance representing a barrier to people with mobility scooters and pushchairs.
5. A W Cycles to close
Sadly, it seems that this excellent cycle shop in South Wimbledon will close after more than 100 years of business. The owner Ted Foster is now 84 years old - so has earned his retirement.
The Built Environment
6. Wimbledon Community Showcase
Leigh hosted this very successful event to bring together ideas for Wimbledon town centre from different community groups. Lots of excellent ideas were put forward and working groups are being formed to take forward the following ones:
See Leigh's full report on the meeting HERE.
- Developing Wimbledon as a Cultural Destination including a new concert/performance venue.
- Involvement of ‘Young Wimbledon', to express feelings about their hometown, and how Wimbledon should be in the future.
- Wimbledon Village Business Association has asked for help to brainstorm ways to increase footfall between the Town Centre and the Village
7. Good news on the PassivHaus
We were delighted to hear recently that the planning inspector gave the go-ahead for the PassivHaus in Merton Park. You can read the planning inspector's decision HERE.
8. Supporting Swifts in Merton
On this her first visit to Green Coffee, Louise told us about her interest in wildlife and gardening - now that she has retired, she'll have more time to devote to these. She has a particular interest in swifts and has encouraged Dundonald School to include swift bricks in their new development. Louise gave the following statement which was used to update the Green Coffee Sustainability Checklist:
Inclusion of swift bricks or swift nesting boxes in appropriate locations, e.g. under eves, to counteract the loss of building-based breeding sites for these summer migrant birds. There has been a serious decline in swift populations in the UK, attributed to the loss of nest sites as a result of modern building practices. (Many councils now incorporate nest sites in new and existing buildings as a standard procedure, including Edinburgh, Brighton, Westminster, Camden, Tayside and Liverpool.)
Find further information about swift conservation HERE
9. Green Coffee's Sustainability Checklist
If you'd like to see environmental features included in a particular development, then you could send the Green Coffee Sustainability Checklist to the consultation. See the latest version (with amended information about swift boxes and bricks) HERE.
10. Training in looking after street trees
Gardening & Open Spaces
A training session has now been held to teach volunteers how to look after street trees - and further sessions are planned. So far, Merton's Tree Wardens plus several other enthusiastic individuals have attended and can now do minor pruning and removing unnecessary ties and stakes. If you'd like to get involved, then please contact Jane at firstname.lastname@example.org See the latest Tree Warden newsletter HERE.
11. Transforming tarmac into woodland
Some years ago, holes were dug in the tarmac of an abandoned tennis court at Poplar School, so that trees could be planted. Rather than attempt to remove the tarmac, brambles were left to push their way through. Some years on, this is now a mature woodland (with little evidence of the tarmac). It's a great demonstration how effectively nature can reclaim land - with a little help from Joanna and colleagues who planted the trees. There is now also a pond with lots of wildlife.
The school gardening club was begun by Joanna on an unpromising patch of land - but now the school has its own sweet pea adorned allotment from which produce is gathered and cooked in the school. Great things really can start from small beginnings!
12. Plants for events
Fatimah has a range of plant cuttings etc. which she can let you have for selling at fund-raising events. So please get in touch if you'd like some plants (by replying to this email).
13. Fieldgate Lane - an example of community building
Rubbish was cleared and trees were planted at Fieldgate Lane with the help of Juliet, Charles and others from Green Coffee, thus creating an orchard and flower beds. This project also brought many people together to create a space that is valued by the community - and is a great illustration of how making the most of our green spaces can help to transform communities. It's the reason why we should continue to support Dig Merton (led by Sustainable Merton) and other gardening initiatives. Find out more about the Fieldgate Road project HERE.
14. Favourite Tree
Do you have a favourite tree in Merton? If so, you can nominate it to Merton Tree Wardens. If you win, you'll receive a tree, planted in a park or street near you. Find out more and nominate your tree HERE
Recycling & Waste
15. Making Prosthetic Limbs from Plastic Bottle Tops!
Holy Trinity Church is collecting plastic bottle tops. These will be made into prosthetic legs for a baby boy in Poland. The child's mother has been told that she needs to collect 2 shipping containers’ worth of bottle tops. So there is no closing date on this! Apparently, The hospital will quite literally be making the prosthetic legs as he grows up, out of this plastic.
Any plastic bottle top is fine: milk, juice, shampoo, water. Take plastic tops to the parish administrator at Holy Trinity (who should be there Mon-Fri till 12.00) or just take them to the parish office.
16. Style Junkies Exhibition
There is an exhibition of the winning entries to the fantastic Style Junkies competition at Morden Hall Park in the Stable Yard - every day until 26th July. On Sundays there will be a drop-in workshop where you can draw or collage your ideas for a sustainable future with artist Rosa Nussbaum. Find more details of the exhibition below under EVENTS.
The aim is to get students to think more deeply about waste. Costumes are made of plastic, paper and fabrics. Textiles form a large proportion of waste in domestic bins, however as all fabric has a commercial value, these could be diverted to some other use. As long as textiles are clean, they can be put into clothes collection points from where they will be sorted and re-used as clothes or some other purpose e.g. to make filling for cushions, felt or insulation. Find your nearest clothes collection point HERE Some clothes can be composted, but not if they have a synthetic content.
There is concern that cheap second hand clothes can undermine local textiles industries. However, locally made clothes are generally of good quality and so serve a different more upmarket section of the market to the second hand clothes market.
17. Keep Collecting your Plastic Bottles!
Safia got in touch to say she is still collecting 2 litre clear round plastic bottles to construct a greenhouse in St Helier. She needs a total of 1500 are needed. Please reply to this email if you have gathered some.
18. Old Tools Collected
Sutton group 'Tools for Self Reliance' will renovate your unwanted tools and send them to benefit communities in Africa. Includes tools for carpentry and joinery, plumbing, engineering, leatherwork, sewing machines (Singer round bobbin, hand and treadle, cloth remnants and haberdashery), good quality power tools. Click HERE to find out what they are looking for and how to donate tools.
19. The Green Deal - disappointing trends
Locally, the Green Deal has not really taken off and this seems to be the picture nationwide. A recent report from EcoBuild said the retrofitting industry is in decline, with 8000 fewer installation installers and a 41% fall in Green Deal assessments nationwide over the last year. The government's target of insulating just 1 million homes over the next five years is unambitious. The Energy Efficiency budget at DECC is being cut by 60%. Not only are these moves making it very difficult to achieve carbon reduction commitments, it provides no help to the 8000 or so people who die annually of breathing difficulties due to damp and cold living conditions. Find the full report HERE.
Reports, fairs, events
20. An Important Announcement!
Green Coffee was delighted when Charles announced his engagement to Alix!
Over the years, Charles has been an active member of Green Coffee, as well as Merton Cycling Campaign, The Centre for Independent Living, Abundance, Age UK Merton and numerous other groups - as well as standing at the recent general election as Green Party candidate for Wimbledon. And he somehow also managed to fit romance into all of this! We all gave Charles and Alix our very best wishes.
21. The Pope's Encyclical
Alison kindly provided a link to the online version of Pope Francis's Encyclical about the environment - see HERE. The book is 300 pages or so long, but here are two of the more memorable quotes:
'The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.'
'Who turned the wonderworld of the seas into underwater cemeteries bereft of colour and life?'
So it's powerful stuff - and hopefully will help bring the message to many who have not yet engaged with climate change and environmental destruction. The Pope's message is being taken seriously by other churches (a copy will be in the Holy Trinity Church library). It's hoped that this and other initiatives are beginning to galvanise support for action to stop climate change.
22. Update on the TTIP
Craig put together some background information on TTIP and a template letter that people could use if they wished to oppose it. See HERE.
POST MEETING NOTE: The EU vote took place on 8th July. It was in favour of progressing towards a TTIP agreement, but it claimed that amendments now make the court stage (ISDS) more transparent, with independent judges. See HERE
23. Climate Change meeting with Stephen Hammond
Several Green Coffee members met with Stephen Hammond on the morning of the large demonstration at the Houses of Parliament. Questions ranged from asking that David Cameron personally attends the important Paris climate change symposium, to concerns about fracking and the incinerator. Juliet organised the meeting and put together an excellent report on what was said - find it HERE. She has asked Mr Hammond's aid to distribute the report to the 33 others who were not included in the meeting but had asked to meet him as their local MP. Stephen said he would think again about fracking and would write to David Cameron to ask if he would attend the Paris meeting.
The morning meeting was followed by two (identical and simultaneous) ecumenical services before the main event in the afternoon, when around 9000 people from 100 organisations quizzed 250 local MPs about climate change. However, there was not much in the news (apart from a short piece in The Guardian - see HERE)
24. Abundance Fruit Day - plans
Abundance Wimbledon gathers unwanted fruit from gardens and parks and passes it on to others, including charities providing food for the needy. This year, Abundance Fruit Day (the fund-raising event) will be on Sat 19th Sept - find more details under EVENTS below.
Last year, Fruit Day included an art event organised by Clare, a teacher at Ricards Lodge. Student and adult artists drew and painted the Fruit Day scene, prizes were awarded and winning art was displayed in Elys shop window. Unfortunately, Clare has now moved out of the area and Abundance is looking for someone else to organise this or some other art event. If it's organised early enough, it will become part of Wimbledon Autumn Arts and get lots of publicity.
Other things local
25. Healthwatch Merton
Following the problems at The Stafford Hospital, the government brought in the Health & Social Care Act 2012 requiring local authorities to set up a local Healthwatch organisation. The aim of Healthwatch Merton is to ensure that issues affecting patients are sorted out, for example the problems caused by being discharged in the middle of the night.
Jade has recently joined the Healthwatch Merton team, after being with Healthwatch in Lewisham. She gave a brief overview of Healthwatch and plans to give a fuller picture at the next Green Coffee meeting. In particular, she'll give more information on aspects of Healthwatch which link into environmental projects. For example, doctors are now being encouraged to prescribe things like going for a walk or taking up gardening, especially for mental health problems. So that they can do this, doctors need to know about suitable projects, which is where we can help. Air quality is another health concern that links with environmental problems, so the health implications of the proposed incinerator is also an area of common interest.
Separately, the leading medical journal The Lancet has launched a report outlining how tackling climate change would be good for global health - see HERE.
26. YMCA - a local resource
Serena from the YMCA attended the meeting to find out more about Green Coffee and to ensure people know how the YMCA can support local groups, for example by providing space for meetings etc. Abundance has supplied the YMCA with free fruit in previous years and Serena should be contacted if there is fruit available this year. Serena is the Assistant Centre Manager at YMCA Wimbledon and can be contacted at email@example.com. The head of catering Jules Hammond has attended Green Coffee in the past.
27. Rehousing Bats
One Green Coffee member said that bats had taken residence in her garden shed. Since then, she reported that the bats had been re-housed with the help of a Wimbledon Common Ranger.
28. Free Green Job Training for Young People
The Otesha Group is once again offering free training to 16 - 25 year olds starting 14th July. This involves 5 weeks of training in Sustainable Transport (Bike Maintenance and Bike Veg Box Deliveries), Environmental Facilitation (working in schools delivering workshops) or Food & Growing (learning about horticulture, cooking and preserving). Some paid work is available too. Young people can gain an OCN Level 2 Award in Environmental Awareness and get help with their CV and finding the right job. Get further details from firstname.lastname@example.org and see the website HERE
Sun 19th July 10am - 2pm
Merton Green Parents Fun Day
Stable Yard, Morden Hall Park SM4 5JD
Join the Merton Green Parents groups for a clothes exchange, crafts for all of the family and reusable nappy demonstrations. Find out more HERE.
Wed 22nd & 29th July 6 - 7.30pm
Herb Garden Planting
Haslemere Avenue, Phipp's Bridge, Mitcham CR4 3PR
Join us at our evening planting sessions to help spruce up the herb garden.
every day to 26th July; Sun 19th & 26th July 11am - 3.30pm
Style Junkies Exhibition & Workshops
The Stable Yard, Morden Hall Park SM4 5JD
Go along any day until 26th July to see the fabulous costumes made by students at Wimbledon College of Art and schools around the borough. Also, find out how recycled materials are reprocessed, try out the fantastic chairs and upcycled children's costumes. Join a free workshop on Sunday 19th and 26th July. Find out more HERE
Sun 19th July from 12 noon
WDC/CND Garden Party & AGM
43 Wilton Grove, London SW19 3QU
Everyone is welcome to join members of Wimbledon Disarmament Coalition/CND at this enjoyable social get-together in very pleasant surroundings. (If it rains we retreat indoors and admire the garden through the french windows!). Please bring some food if you can. The WDC/CND AGM will follow at 2pm. Further information from email@example.com
Sun 19th July 2 - 4 pm
Meet by the water wheel, Morden Hall Park
We will be walking the butterfly survey route through the park to identify as many species and numbers of butterflies as possible. We welcome experts and novices alike to come and join us. The walk usually lasts about 1.5-2 hours. Find out more HERE
Mon 20th July 10.30am
John Innes Park & Recreation Ground, Kingston Rd SW19 3NW
Join one of the many walks organised by Merton Council as part of the Walk4Life programme. For all ages and levels. 50mins - 1hr. Meet opposite the Leather Bottle pub. More info HERE.
Saturday 25th July 10am -1 pm
Keeping chickens workshop
Benhill Allotments, Benhill Road, Sutton SM1 3SA
Learn the basics for keeping your own chickens, including: where and how to house them, daily maintenance and what to feed them. Also get the chance to see and handle a range of breeds. Very popular workshop! Find more information and book HERE
Sun 26th July 2 - 3pm
Watermeads Nature Reserve Walk
Meet by the London Road entrance next door to Hub Sports Centre
Join us for a guided walk through this beautiful reserve and find out more about its history and wildlife. Walks to be held monthly up to and including September. Find out more HERE
Sat 1st & Sun 2nd Aug
FreeCycle & RideLondon
On Saturday 1st, central London streets will be closed to traffic to allow you to see the sites of London by bike. It's not too late to register for this. Find out more HERE.
On Sunday 2nd, thousands of cyclists will ride through Raynes Park and Wimbledon on this 100 mile charity fund-raising event. Look out for Sir Bradley Wiggins! Find out more HERE.
Thurs 6th Aug, from 8pm
Rushmere Pond, Wimbledon Common (near the War Memorial)
At this beautiful and moving annual ceremony, candles are floated on Rushmere Pond to commemorate the 200,000 people killed by the world's first atomic bomb and to vow 'never again'. You are welcome to come and take part. Further information about Wimbledon WDC/CND HERE
On Fri 8th Aug at 6-7pm, outside of Wimbledon Library. There will be a vigil for peace. On display will be an embroidered panel from The Peace Ribbon and people will be invited to say what they would miss if the world were destroyed.
Mon 31st Aug
Carshalton Park , Ruskin Road, Carshalton, SM5 3DD
Volunteers sought! Things are hotting up with plans for this year’s fair. The bands are being selected and most stall pitches are booked - still space for a solar power company or other eco businesses. Could you lend a hand at the Fair - either stewarding or helping set up /pack away? See a full list of fair volunteering opportunities or email firstname.lastname@example.org Find out more HERE
Sat 12th & Sun 13th Sept
Tooting's festival of local food. Local food used by local cooks to make something delicious. Awards categories for top dishes from groups, restaurants, schools and individuals. Find out more soon.
Sat 19th Sept 11am - 2pm
Abundance Fruit Day
St Mark's Church garden & hall (behind Wimbledon Library)
Lots of jams, chutneys, fruit sweets & cakes, lovely fresh juice from the fruit press, ‘Longest Peel’ and other games for children and adults. Featuring the International Ukelele Orchestra. We need lots of help - such as help on a stall at Fruit Day or by donating jam, cake or plants. Please contact email@example.com. For more details see the website - HERE.
Sun 11th Oct probably from 2pm
Morden Hall Park
This is part of a worldwide initiative to bring attention to the Paris Climate Change meeting in November. Some are walking to Paris, many are walking in their local area. Everyone, religious and non-religious, is invited to join the walk. This is still being organised, so more details to follow. Find out about People's Pilgrimage HERE
first Mondays 7.30pm
Wimbledon Beekeepers' Association
The Snuff Mill, Morden Hall Park, Morden Hall Road, Morden SM4 5JD
The Wimbledon Division of the Surrey Beekeepers' Association is an organisation of Beekeepers, who operate in the London Borough of Merton and its surrounding areas. Each year, they organise beginners’ courses and a variety of educational and social events for members.
second Tuesdays from 8pm
At the Charles Holden Pub (opp Colliers Wood tube station) 198 High Street, Colliers Wood SW19 2BH
The perfect social event for those interested in sustainability issues and wanting to meet other like-minded people is back! The new venue is a lovely pub at the entrance to Wandle Park. Easy to get to from Wimbledon via the 200 bus - and Colliers Wood tube station is just across the road.
every Wednesday morning 10am - early afternoon
Phipp’s Bridge Community Allotment
Join Gillian and her friendly group to grow fruit and vegetables. Disused land has been turned into a productive garden through people working together. You are welcome to join in, regardless of your gardening expertise - and you'll have the opportunity to take home some lovely fresh produce. If you would like to come and have a look or get involved, then please contact Gillian at firstname.lastname@example.org Find out more HERE
every Wednesday at 10.30 am
Merton Green Parents
Coffee in the Wood, 99 High Street, Colliers Wood
How do you balance the demands of being a parent and leading a more sustainable life? It can sometimes be difficult. Merton Green Parents provides a place to swap sustainable parenting tips and meet other like-minded parents. To join the group and for information about meet up times, visit the Merton Green Parents Facebook page or follow them on twitter @MGreenParents.
Coffee in the Wood has cakes from local bakers, nice coffee and sometimes live music! It is also a Recycling Point for baby wipes and baby food packets.
third Wednesdays 8 - 10pm
Merton Friends of the Earth - Monthly Meet Up
William Morris House, 267 The Broadway, Wimbledon SW19 1SD
All are welcome at this new group to discuss issues including climate change. You'll hear more about the ongoing local Bee Campaign and how you can help with general maintenance in Wandle Park. Enquiries: email@example.com
first Thursday of the month at 8.00pm
Merton Cycling Campaign meeting
All Saints Centre, All Saints Road, SW19 1BX
Meet other cyclists, find out about rides and other events and the latest on campaigns. Please contact Charles, Borough Coordinator Merton Cycling Campaign tel. 8949 0708 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
third Thursdays from 7pm
Morden Hall Park Nature Group
Snuff Mill Education Centre, Morden Hall Park
Find out more about the animals, vegetables and minerals found in Morden Hall Park. Or else share your knowledge with other like-minded people? The meeting is open to anyone interested in the work of the Nature Group. Find out more HERE or email NatureGroupMHP@gmail.com
every Friday 10-12am
Colliers Wood Community Garden
at the back of Christ Church Hall, in Colliers Wood
Join Keith, Nick and friends for some gardening. Also workshops on cookery and healthy living. For more information, contact email@example.com or call Keith at 07982 721 496
second Fridays from 9.30 - 11am
John Innes Gardening Group
JI Gardening Group is currently meeting every second Friday. Meet up by the mulberry tree. Bring secateurs and a trowel. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
every Saturday, 9am-1pm
Wimbledon Farmers’ Market
Wimbledon Park Primary School, Havana Road, SW19 8EJ
A chance to get your groceries direct from local farmers. Find out more HERE
Friends of Ravensbury Park - Workday
meet at the bridge over the Wandle in the middle of the park at 10am
Help is needed to give your local park a general cleanup. Tools and refreshments provided. Sessions usually last about 3 hours, but please just come for as long as you like. For more information, call Jane tel. 07773 406 105.
Friends of the Canons - Workday
The Canons Recreation Ground (meet at the pond) at 10am
Come along and help maintain this beautiful area. Including clearing trees and beds of invasive species and surveying important parts of the site. Tools and refreshments provided. Please wear stout shoes and bring gardening gloves. Sessions usually last about 3 hours, but please just come for as long as you like. For more information, contact John Davis: 020 8640 4578 / 07739 513948.
Fish Pond Wood & Beverley Meads - Workday
meet in Beverley Meads car park, Barham Rd at 9.30am
Maintenance work. Organised by the London Wildlife Trust Merton Group. For more info, contact Steve Parish 07949 400298 or email email@example.com or Glyn Williams 0777 5773400 firstname.lastname@example.org