Green Coffee           August  2015
Hello <<First Name>>

You are invited to Green Coffee on Tues 1st Sept 9.30 - 11am at the YMCA in the cafe upstairs. The Green Coffee after that will be on Tues 6th Oct, so please put it in your diary.

August Green Coffee was an interesting and informative meeting - and welcomed three new members Alan, Cathie and Ingrid. We heard about the important ways that Healthwatch overlaps with Green Coffee member projects. The news from The Vine Project that shops will be opening in recycling centres was particularly welcome - and there were lots of other bits of interesting news too.

Finally, if you have been collecting 2 litre plastic bottles for the greenhouse, then let us know. We can put them together (I know that Charles and Alice have been collecting), and then Safia can come and pick them all up.

PLEASE NOTE: The Green Coffee Update covers whatever views are expressed by individuals at the meeting. 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.
Download the latest from:  
Sustainable Merton  HERE
EcoLocal (Sutton) HERE
Merton Tree Wardens HERE


news at August Green Coffee

Community Health

Recycling & Waste
Vine Project to Open Shops in Recycling Centres
3. Plastic Bag Charge from 5th October
4. Less Packaging from Shops Please!

5. Ink Cartridges
6. Plastic Bottle Top Collection - update

7. Meeting with Ellen Macarthur

Air Quality & Transport
Crossrail 2
9. Healthy Walks & Cycle Training

Energy & Built Environment
10. Green Deal Scrapped -  New Policy Promised
11. A PassivHaus in Putney

Gardening & Food
12. Gardener needed in Kenilworth Rd
13. Help needed at Christchurch Community Garden
14. Favourite Tree
15. Pilot: Supermarket Food to Local Charities?

16. Food Waste & Healthy Eating at the YMCA
17. How Skips can damage Street Trees

Events & Groups
18. Abundance Fruit Day - plans
19. Remembering Hiroshima
20. Update on Friends of the Earth
21. Merton Tree Wardens

22. Wimbledon Common Nature Club

Other things local
23. More on Swifts
24. Green Coffee welcomes New Members
25. Momentum Gathers before Paris Meeting
What's On?

31.8 10.30am-8pm
Environmental Fair


5.9  2.30-5pm
Tree Walk
Cannizaro Park

12.9 & 13.9


12.9 11am-4pm
Harvest Festival
Sutton Comm Farm

19.9 11am-2pm
Abundance Fruit Day
St Mark's Church garden

Find past issues of Green Coffee Update HERE

August Green Coffee - news


Community Health

1. Healthwatch

Healthwatch Merton is an independent consumer champion for health and social care, established under the Health and Social Care Act 2012. Jade Fairfax is the Information and Outreach Officer and returned to Green Coffee to give a fuller picture of what Healthwatch does and identify where its work links to environmental projects.
Healthwatch Merton helps people get the best out of their local health and social care services, by improving them today or helping to shape them for tomorrow. Jade is keen to promote social prescribing where possible and would love to find out what projects are happening in the borough. If you know of any projects (e.g. walking, gardening, healthy eating etc.) then please get in touch with Jade at She can also publicise your project or event online and through face-to-face contact.

Healthwatch and LBM's Public Health team are conducting a consultation on alcohol licensing (see HERE
). Healthwatch will be finding out what local people think a healthy high street should look like. Give your views at a pop-up café in Mitcham Town Centre (from 12.30pm on Tuesday 1st September and from 9.30am on Thursday 3rd September). Find out more about the consultation HERE

It was suggested that this initiative overlaps with Future Wimbledon plans - see HERE. Healthwatch may wish to contact Leigh who is bringing together a community perspective on what Wimbledon town centre should look like if Crossrail 2 comes to Wimbledon, accompanied by major redevelopment of the town centre. There is also overlap with Making More of Morden HERE and Connecting Colliers Wood HERE.

Healthwatch Merton works closely with the Merton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) which is located almost next door to the YMCA at 120 The Broadway. The Merton CCG is responsible for Merton's healthcare budget and buys healthcare services on behalf of residents – find out more HERE. The group felt that the MCCG would presumably want to support plans to improve our environment and access to healthy activities. If so, then the MCCG would potentially be a powerful ally in making the town centre more sustainable and improving air quality (including avoiding any detrimental effects from the incinerator).

Healthwatch England raises issues nationally such as people being discharged during the night to empty homes - see a recent report on this issue HERE. Another important player is South West London Collaborative Commissioning, which brings together the CCGs in Merton, Wandsworth, Kingston, Croydon, Richmond and Sutton. It is developing a five-year strategy for the NHS in south west London. One of its aims is to "do more to prevent people becoming ill" and in developing the strategy they will be "involving local community and voluntary sector groups." See HERE

Recycling & Waste

2. Vine Project to open Shops in Recycling Centres
The Vine Project collects furniture, textiles and electricals from Merton and Sutton, mends them and sells them cheaply. It has the following outlets:
  • in Mitcham: a shop on the Willow Lane industrial estate is selling sofas and electricals. Also a large shop in St Nicholas Way in Sutton.
  • the EnviroBus:  travelling around high streets, estates and summer fairs. It provides information about what people can donate and where the outlets are. There is an electrical repairs service onboard the bus, bird boxes made from recycled wood for sale and workshop for children to decorate donated glasses.
  • shops are being set up in recycling centres so that useful items can be taken out of the waste stream and sold. Potential sites include Kimpton Park Way (Sutton) and Garth Rd (Merton).
The Vine Project trains and employs socially excluded people in Sutton and Merton. If you would like the EnviroBus to visit a summer fair or event or would like any other information, please contact

3. Plastic bag charge from 5th October
The latest LoveWimbledon newsletter reminds us that larger retailers must charge at least 5p for new single use carrier bags. Find more information HERE  Similar initiatives in Northern Ireland and Scotland have significantly reduced the number of carrier bags issued.

4. Less Packaging from Shops Please!
With shops continuing to issue too much packaging, Craig suggested drawing up a notice to hand into the service desk in our local supermarkets requesting more loose produce and less plastic packaging. Or it might be more fun and effective to just leave packaging at the checkout. If you'd like to discuss the options and plan what to do, just reply to this email. Alan offered to find out what approaches have been effective in persuading supermarkets to reduce packaging.

5. Ink Cartridges
There are various places in Merton which refill cartridges, including the old post office in Wimbledon Village high Street and a shop in Morden. Ink cartridges have built-in obsolescence, so that after 100 copies have been printed, they will stop working even if there is still ink in the cartridge. It is possible to bypass this, but it's very difficult to do. Try googling a question about it, to get help on how to do it. Various charities (including Help the Aged) have asked people to send in ink cartridges for recycling, but it's difficult to work out whether these facilities continue.

6. Plastic Bottle Top Collection - update
At last Green Coffee, we heard how plastic bottle tops are being collected to make into a series of plastic prosthetic legs for a baby boy in Poland. The collection is for a Polish charity, Fundacja Dzieciom (translates as: Foundation for Children), a Not for Profit charity helping sick children all over Poland. See the website is HERE.  The website is in Polish, but you can get Google to translate it! If you are collecting, take the bottle tops to the Holy Trinity Church (next to the Polka Theatre) and hand them in at the office (open on weekdays before noon, please don't leave them anywhere else) - or else, bring them along to Green Coffee. Two skips of bottle tops are being collected, so the collection will continue for the foreseeable future.

7. Meeting with Ellen Macarthur
When Ellen Macarthur sailed around the world, she had plenty of time to thing about the world around her. She came to realise that we can't keep using resources and throwing them away (much of which ends up in the sea). So she is now devoting her time to encouraging business to join the circular economy (i.e. designing things so that they have a longer life and can be mended, re-used or recycled easily) and supporting businesses which will help make this happen.

Juliet met with Ellen on the Isle of Wight, when they were able to chat for an hour. Ellen's focus is very much on business and inspiring young people, rather than getting involved in community action groups. The Ellen Macarthur Foundation has become very well respected and has considerable funds to support its initiatives. Find out more about the Ellen Macarthur Foundation HERE


Air Quality & Transport

8. Crossrail 2
If Crossrail 2 is given the go-ahead, it is likely to come to Wimbledon. Building it will mean a big disruption, but we should be ready with ideas on what we'd like to see happen. Currently, safeguarding of proposed tunnel routes is being done. This means that owners of properties 100 metres each side of the proposed tunnel have been notified that any development needs to be consistent with the building of the tunnel. Initially safeguarding will take in a wide area, but this will shrink as there is more certainty about the route. As well as tunnels, there will be ventilation shafts - around 10-15 metres in diameter and up to 10 metres high. The Crossrail station will be underground, located south west of Wimbledon Station. The Crossrail 2 project will include comprehensive measurements of air quality.

Although there is a statutory obligation to notify people properly about large developments, this sometimes does not happen. Ingrid has found communication on Crossrail 2 to be poor, with the wrong contact telephone number being given out twice. Although there are lots of policies on the environment, these are often not put into practice. For example, street trees are chopped down and not replaced. Also not enough attention is paid to the impact of development on air quality. So holding government to account is really important.

9. Healthy Walks & Cycle Training
Charmaine organises Road Safety and Educational training at Merton Council. Part of this involves setting up healthy walks 'Merton Walk for Life' and cycle training, often working with the NHS locally. Charmaine will see that Healthwatch knows about these initiatives, so that doctors can direct their patients to them.


Energy & the Built Environment

10. Green Deal Scrapped -  New Policy Promised
Last month, the new government scrapped the Green Deal. This provoked a backlash from the building industry, as over 2000 firms had qualified as Green Deal installers, 4,000 individuals had qualified as Green Deal assessors and 179 companies had become authorised as Green Deal providers (to provide the finance). The government has responded by saying they aim to put in place a new framework of energy efficiency policies by the autumn. The industry is understandably concerned that a new structure will mean starting again with training etc. Find out more HERE.

11. A PassivHaus in Putney

Articles in Time & Leisure and the Evening Standard highlight a PassivHaus - see HERE and HERE. Like the proposed Merton Park Passivhaus, this was built by local architects keen to push the boundaries of low carbon construction.


Gardening & Food

12. Gardener needed in Kenilworth Rd
Do you know someone who would like to garden, but no-where to do it? A resident in Kenilworth Rd is no longer able to look after his garden and so is offering use of it, in return for getting the lawn cut. Please get in touch if you know someone who might be interested.

13. Help needed at Christchurch Community Garden
This has been an excellent community garden over the years, but now help is needed to run it. Auriel and Tom are overseeing work at present and it is currently meeting on Friday mornings 10-12am. If you'd like to get involved, please contact Tom Walsh at

14. Favourite Tree
Nominations are still being taken for favourite trees in Merton.  If you win, you'll receive a tree, planted in a park or street near you. Find out more and nominate your tree HERE

15. Pilot: Supermarket Food to Local Charities?
Following the April Environment Sub Group meeting and the Food Forum, talks are underway to link a local charity with a supermarket. The hope is that a pilot scheme can be set up to work out how unwanted food can be given to local charities. If you can help to make this happen or have ideas to contribute, then please contact Fiona at Find out more HERE. There has already been some diversion of food from supermarkets to local charities, with Sainsbury's donating netted oranges to Making Colliers Wood Happy.

16. Food Waste & Healthy Eating at the YMCA
Sustainability is moving forward at the YMCA. Waste food is now collected by the council contractor and is recycled. The YMCA will be putting calories onto the menus and is cutting out chips in sandwiches. There is a Healthy Eating training course currently for parents and children and hopefully for seniors too. The YMCA receives food from FareShare and from the local Foodbank, if they have received too much of something. The YMCA will look at whether they can host collection of coffee bags or other difficult to recycle items collected by TerraCycle.

17. How Skips can damage Street Trees

If there is an empty space for a tree in your street, you can report it to the council online. Also, if a skip company is not careful, when a skip is lifted into or out of a space, any tree close by is often badly damaged. This can be avoided if the skip is first pullled into the middle of the road and then lifted. Ingrid was successful in getting a skip company to change its behaviour by complaining to the council. There should be a policy in place to require all skip companies to do this.


Events & Groups

18. Abundance Fruit Day - plans
The fruit picking has started and Abundance needs some help.

1. If you can pick fruit in your street and nearby, please get in touch. Abundance will put you in touch with people who have too much fruit in their garden, then lend you fruit picking poles and tubs. If you collect more than you need, Abundance will pass it on to others including charities.

2. Fruit Day is the annual fund-raiser for Abundance and showcases what people can do with free fruit. If you can help on one of the stalls or make jam or puddings for Abundance to sell, we'd be very grateful.

Please contact  Find more about Abundance Fruit Day under EVENTS below. Or look at the website HERE.

19. Remembering Hiroshima
It's now 70 years since the Hiroshima bomb was dropped. A commemoration was planned at Rushmere Pond on Thursday 6th Aug, when candles will be floated out onto the water to remember the dead and try to understand man's inhumanity to man. Find more information about WDC/CND HERE

20. Update on Friends of the Earth
Auriel is coordinator of Merton Friends of the Earth. Current campaigns are on fracking and TTIP. If you'd like to get involved, please contact

21. Merton Tree Wardens
More people are being sought to take care of trees in their streets. Training is given and people are free to do minor pruning and other work, within guidelines agreed with the council. Auriel has taken this training and was pleased to be able to free a sapling from a tight rubber band that had been distorting its growth. To get involved, please contact lead Tree Warden Jane Plant at

22. Wimbledon Common Nature Club
This is a wonderful club for 6 - 18 year olds on the first Sunday of every month 10am-12noon and it has run for many years. The club is looking for someone to help coordinate this group. Responsibility would be shared and you'd have the opportunity to take children searching for butterflies, pond-dipping and lots of other activities. Find out more from


Other things local

23. More on Swifts
LBM's Core Strategy includes statements about protecting and enhancing habitats e.g. requiring "development to integrate new or enhanced habitat" See HERE. If this obligation were to be put into practice for swifts, then nesting should be provided whenever possible in new buildings. However, this is not happening.

Louise is keen to get like-minded people together to encourage the council to provide nesting sites for swifts in new buildings. If you would like to help, then please reply to this email and you will be put in touch with Louise. Find out more about swifts and providing nesting sites for them HERE

24. Green Coffee welcomes New Members
Alan and Cathie made their first visit to Green Coffee. Alan is semi-retired from being an environmental materials technologist, interested in construction. He sits on the Institute of Materials Sustainable Development Group and has been involved with the UK Packaging Society as well as the Crossrail 2 project. Alan drew our attention to an excellent recent report by Sir David King and other world authorities, arguing that the risks associated with climate change need to be quantified and given the highest priority. See HERE

Ingrid also came to Green Coffee for the first time. She has a range of concerns including street trees being damaged or cut down and not being replaced. She has long campaigned on the dangers of smart meters, mobile phone masts, contrails and electro-magenetic radiation. Recently, there have been reports about fires being caused by smart meters in the US. Also, there is evidence that bills go up after a smart meter is installed. The Stop Smart Meter campaign highlights serious concerns about radiation as well as these other concerns - see HERE. On lighting, we should be moving to LEDs, which are safer. Find background information HERE

25. Momentum Gathers before Paris Meeting
Twenty three UK-based learned societies and professional bodies, including the Royal Astronomical Society, have signed a joint communique urging world leaders to act on climate change at the forthcoming UN Climate Change conference in Paris, this November and December. See the excellent communique HERE.



Mon 31st Aug  10.30am - 8pm
Environmental Fair
Carshalton Park , Ruskin Road, Carshalton, SM5 3DD

Things are hotting up with plans for this year’s fair. 3 solar powered stages are booked with local talent. Over 150 stalls – and new for this year, a cinema! If you could help put posters up in shop windows in Worcester Park or Morden do let us know. Find out more and see a full list of fair volunteering opportunities HERE. Or email

Sat 5th Sept Tree Walk 2.30-5pm
Tree Walk
In Cannizaro Park

Organised by the South London Botanical Institute. It's being led by the very knowledgeable Letta Jones and it's suitable however much you know (or don't know) about trees. It's £8, or £6 if you happen to be an SLBI member. Book via or tel 020 8674 5787.
 There's also a Tree walk in Battersea Park on Sat 29 August.

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 12th Sept 11am -  4pm
Harvest Festival
Sutton Community Farm, Carshalton

Annual open day where we celebrate the growing season. Family-friendly activities, farm tours, music and of course, delicious food! Meet the farm team and all the wonderful volunteers that make the farm happen. If you'd like to go, you must register. Do it  HERE.

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 For more details see the website - HERE.

Mon 5th Oct
PLAY: Baked Alaska
Holy Trinity Church, 234 The Broadway, Wimbledon SW19 1SB

This is a vivid, sharp and deliciously entertaining production by Riding Lights. Baked Alaska serves up the realities of climate change  in a high energy, seriously funny style. Space is limited so book early. Find other tour dates, more information and book tickets HERE.

Sun 11th Oct  probably from 2pm
People's Pilgrimage
Morden Hall Park

To beat climate change, every step counts. 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. All are welcome to join the walk. Enquiries to Find out about People's Pilgrimage HERE


Regular events

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
Green Drinks

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 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:

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 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

every Friday 10-12am
Colliers Wood Community Garden
at the back of Christ Church Hall, in Colliers Wood
Join Auriel and Tom for some gardening at this friendly group. For more information, contact Tom at

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 

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


first Sundays
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.

third Sundays
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.

fourth Sundays
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 or Glyn Williams 0777 5773400