Green Coffee       February  2016
Hello <<First Name>>
Thanks to everyone for coming to February Green Coffee, with an especial welcome to Caitlin, Christina and baby Isabella who were there for the first time.

At the meeting, we had a look at the 'Green Coffee Sustainable Buildings List' HERE & the new 'Where to Get Things Mended List' HERE. Please send in any comments on those, as we want to update and improve those. Also, there is a useful list of 'Spaces for Hire' from the MVSC - find it HERE. And there was lots of other news about projects ranging from Crossrail and litter-picking, to a new knitting group.

The next Green Coffee will be on Tues 1st March, 9.30 - 11am at the YMCA cafe upstairs. Sue will be chairing this meeting, so please get in touch with her at to send in items of news or if you have any questions. The one after will be on Tues 5th April.

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 if you can't make it along, you are very welcome to send in your comments for discussion at the next meeting.
Latest News
  • Could you be a 'Dragon'? - and give feedback to Challenge Network volunteers on their campaign ideas. Find out more HERE.
  • Jamie persuades Asda to sell Ugly Veg boxes - see HERE

Download the latest from:  
Sustainable Merton  HERE
EcoLocal (Sutton) HERE
Transition Town Tooting HERE
Kingston Environment News HERE


news at February Green Coffee

Recycling, Repair & Waste
1. Mending List
2. Plastic Bottle Top Collection

3. Terracycle Update
4. Collecting unwanted Bras
5. Litter-picking: Ideas & Engaging Schools
6. The Plastic Bag Charge
7. Capital Clean-up grants - Apply Now!
8. Recycling Plant Pots

9. Faircatch - catch up
10. Merton - a healthy eating borough
11. Ocado now supplying Organic Veg Boxes

Gardening & Green Spaces
12. Open Garden Squares
13. Concreting of Gardens Continues
14. The May Project - update
15. Parks Maintenance - upate

Built Environment, Energy & Transport
16. Sustainable Buildings Checklist
17. Crossrail - update & importance of traditional paths

18. Ikea new plans for Solar Panels
19. Solar Panels at the Synagogue
Events, Articles & Local Groups
20. Sustainable Merton AGM  & Green Drinks
21. The Challenge Network - Could You Be a Dragon?
22. Articles: Living Sustainably & Unnatural Selection
23. A new BID for Love Wimbledon?
24. New leaders found for Wimbledon Common Nature Club!
25. Knitting Group now at Willow Tea Rooms
26. London Mayoral Candidate in Wimbledon

Other Things Local
27. Spaces for Hire
28. Whatever happened to the Pink Scarf?

29. Welcome to Cristina & Isabella
30. Ask Merton's Scrutiny Panel

What's On?
18.2   from 1pm
Webinar: Faith & Paris

18.2   7.30pm
Mayoral Candidate
TUR Church SW19

20.2   2 - 5pm
Restart Party

27.2   12 noon
Stop Trident Rally

central London

16.2 onwards
Food Growing Course


8.3 - 10.3

Excel Centre

Fairtrade Breakfast
William Morris House


Find past issues of Green Coffee Update HERE

February Green Coffee - news


Recycling, Repair & Waste

1. Mending List
The Green Coffee 'Where to Get Things Mended' list has had some publicity, being featured in the Sustainable Merton newsletter and Facebook pages, the Wimbledon Guardian and it will be in the next WEHRA newsletter too! It was emphasised that the list is of suggestions from Green Coffee members, rather than being properly tested recommendations, so we can not guarantee the quality of the various services. The latest list is HERE, including the addition of AW Cycles, as it appears to be still open for business. Thanks to Simon and Juliet for mentioning this one.

2. Plastic Bottle Top Collection
We were delighted to hear from Mary that the appeal for plastic bottle tops has now reached its target. They have been sold off to buy a prosthetic leg for Oskar, a baby boy in Poland, and Oskar's parents send a huge thank you to everyone who has contributed to the collection.

Alison W told us that the Sacred Heart Church in Edge Hill collects plastic bottle tops. They don't currently have an obvious collection point, so in the meantime please give them to Alison at Green Coffee. Or if the Sacred Heart is convenient for you, they could be left in the presbytery porch (at the back of the hall/car park area; not the church itself) clearly labelled.

3. Terracycle Update
The YMCA is now collecting coffee packaging - the bags which ground coffee comes in + Tassimo pods. Juliet has been in discussions with Sarah, the catering manager, and the YMCA will be receiving the collection box from Terracycle soon.

Following a request from a customer, Angela at the Gooseberry Bush has now applied to become a Terracycle collection point for coffee packaging and baby food pouches (baby wipe packaging is no longer collected by Terracycle). For more information about Terracycle, see HERE.
POST MEETING NEWS: unfortunately, Terracycle now says they are not adding any more collection points at present - so the YMCA can not collect coffee bags and maybe the Gooseberry Bush will have the same reply.

4. Collecting unwanted Bras
Not many charities will take bras, but the AfreeBra initiative collects them to distribute to women in South Africa who can't afford to buy them. These women are generally in distress for some reason or are tribal. To donate, please contact Find out more at the website HERE or see the Facebook page HERE. Another organisation that collects bras for charity is Naked Health, the private clinic at 261-263 Coombe Lane.

5. Litter-picking: Ideas & Engaging Schools 
Tom K would like to hear ideas for how to get litter-picking groups started and about places where litter-picking would make a big impact. It was suggested that the area around Rushmere Pond (near the Wimbledon Village War Memorial on Wimbledon Common) would be a good place, as it is used by many people. Send your ideas to Tom at

Tom recalled picking up lots of cans along with other litter in a local park, but not having enough time to separate out the cans - so everything went into the general waste stream. He would particularly like to organise a litter pick where cans and other recyclables could be separated out.

Eliminating litter is a great campaign for involving school children. Once children see how beautiful an area is without litter, this encourages them to keep it clean as they always love the natural environment. We should be adopting a zero tolerance approach to littering, as a little litter attracts more.

There are many individuals and groups interested in litter-picking but they are not coordinated. It was suggested that we need a 'Jane Plant' figure to coordinate and champion this, just as she has done for trees around Merton. Giles made an excellent suggestion for a slogan for an anti-littering campaign - Keep It Clean, Keep It Tidy i.e. KicKit.

When reporting fly-tipping to the council, it helps to let them know if there is a health and safety issue or if there are rats - the council generally responds quickly to this. The council has
employed specialist environmental services to deter littering in the streets, but the problem persists. It is cheaper to deter people from dropping litter than to pay for cleaning it up. There are not enough bins or they are not being emptied often enough.

6. The Plastic Bag Charge
The plastic bag charge has made a big change to attitudes. Most people now seem to carry a bag with them. There are lots of attractive bags available that take up little space in a pocket or handbag. It would be good to see more designs in 'male colours' to encourage more men to carry them. It was noted that handbags sold at M&S sometimes now contain an Onya type bag.

7. Capital Clean-up grants – Apply Now!
The Mayor's partnership campaign offers grants from £500-£1,500 and/or clean-up kits if you have a plan to spruce up your area.  Turn a neglected green space into an attractive community garden, remove litter from a beauty spot, clear up a waterway or paint vibrant murals on a graffiti covered wall. Application period is from 11th January to 14th March 2016. You can find more details on the Capital Clean Up cluster page. HERE

8. Recycling Plant Pots
Plastic plant pots can not be recycled under Merton Council's scheme. However, there is a website that can direct you to places that do take them - see HERE. It suggests the nearest are RHS Wisley and Woodcote Green Garden Centre in Wallington. Thank you Susanna for sending in this link. Another collection point for plastic plant pots is the Lower Morden Garden Centre in Lower Morden Ln SM4 4SJ - people can then help themselves to the deposited plant pots.



9. Faircatch - catch up
At January Green Coffee, Guy told us about Faircatch, a new box scheme for supplying sustainably sourced fish to the neighbourhood. Green Coffee members suggested the YMCA and the Gooseberry Bush as potential collection points in the area, and these have now been set up. Find out more about Faircatch and order your fresh fish HERE

10. Merton - a healthy eating borough
Following the launch of the Merton Food Charter, it has been ranked in the top 6 London boroughs for healthy and sustainable eating, by Good Food for London. See the Merton Food Charter HERE

11. Ocado now supplying Organic Veg Boxes
It was reported that you can now get an organic veg box delivered to your door by Ocado - and the veg come in a variety of shapes and sizes. See HERE.

Gardening & Green Spaces

12. Open Garden Squares
Sue is now the coordinator for Open Garden Squares in SW London. During Open Garden Squares Weekend on 18-19th June 2016, for only £10 you can visit any number of gardens not normally open to the public.

Last year there were only 7 gardens in SW London and Sue would like to hear about more. Gardens need to be in a public place. Possibilities are the garden at Springfield Hospital in Wandsworth, Southside House in Wimbledon, convents, schools etc. Open Garden Squares is an initiative by the London Parks and Gardens Trust - find out more HERE. If you know of a nice garden that could be part of Open Garden Squares weekend, please contact Sue at

13. Concreting of Gardens Continues
The concreting over of front gardens continues. Merton Council has a policy in place to stop this happening and developers have signed up to SUDS (sustainable drainage). However, people seem to go ahead and do it anyway and do not seem to be penalised. (Maybe the council doesn't have the resources to police this.) Not only does this make streets less attractive, concreted front gardens reduce wildlife and drains can not cope with all the water running off because it can no longer soak into the ground. According to a report HERE from Wild London, an area 21 times the size of Hyde Park was lost in the 10 years to 2008 and the concreting over of gardens has continued rapidly since then. LWT also has some interesting figures for this.

14. The May Project - update
There is a new highly experienced gardener joining the team at this South Morden community garden. All are welcome to visit the site and help in the day to day maintaining of the garden. Come along and reconnect with nature, learn practical skills in food growing and be part of the May Project family. Gardening sessions are starting for this year - see details below under REGULAR EVENTS.

15. Parks Maintenance - update
A recent Friends of Parks meeting reported on how moves to outsource the maintenance of parks were proceeding. However, it was reported that, due to legal advice to the council, community groups were not able to see the details of proposed deals with contractors and many of their questions remain unanswered. The aim is to choose a preferred bidder in June 2016 after which the finer details of agreement will be negotiated, with a view to a contractor starting work in early 2017.


Built Environment, Energy & Transport

16. Sustainable Buildings Checklist
Last year, Green Coffee members put together a list of sustainable features people could ask for, when commenting on a planning application. Find it HERE. It would be really helpful if people could look through the list and let us know if anything should be added or changed. Send in your comments by replying to this email.

17. Crossrail 2 - update & the importance of traditional paths
During the meetings with Crossrail, people said there was not enough information and it was unclear whether submitted ideas were being taken on board. However, it seems that Crossrail executives have been happy to enter into communications with many people and have genuinely been prepared to revisit their plans. The pre-consultation is now closed and Crossrail will be looking at all the comments and ideas, and will publish a response in April. Please do take every further opportunity to engage with Crossrail 2.

Merton Council has produced a cross-party response to the Crossrail plans - find it HERE - and they are against the plans if they go ahead as they are. There is now a campaign to stop the proposed development called Friends of Wimbledon Town Centre and headed up by ex-councillor Krystal Miller - see their website HERE. Find out what happened when 400 people tried to get into this meeting  HERE. Conservative councillors who represent the town centre area have set up their own website to keep people informed - find it HERE.

Christine made the important point that if we want to protect the pedestrian cut-throughs (many of which are quite ancient), then we should ensure that we say so in the consultations. The new bridge from Alexandra Rd to Queens Rd is now to carry cars as well as cyclists and pedestrians. Therefore, pedestrians should get a separate route over the roof of the station. Also a tunnel was found connecting the centre of Wimbledon Park with the Wandle. Although unsafe and so no longer used, routes such as these should be recognised, protected and improved.

Different options which have much less impact on Wimbledon Town Centre should be considered. The current plans would mean that the whole area alongside the railway from Wimbledon to Southfields would become TfL land. This land could be used for a Crossrail station at Weir Rd, which would be convenient for the football ground and would take the pressure off Wimbledon town centre. The focus has been on the impact on businesses in the town centre. With the value of houses in Wimbledon estimated at £28bn, the impact on residents should be a major consideration. A big increase in housing will put even more pressure on nurseries and schools.

18. Ikea new plans for Solar Panels
Ikea is putting together a new offer on solar panels - and it should be ready early in the year. See HERE

19. Solar Panels at the Synagogue
150 people attended a ceremony to celebrate installation of 100 square metres of solar panels at the Wimbledon Synagogue in Queensmere  Rd. See the story in Wim Guardian HERE


 Events, Articles, Local Groups

20. Sustainable Merton AGM  & Green Drinks
The Sustainable Merton AGM will start at 7.30pm with the AGM, but this will only last 20 minutes. After this, we'll hear from a series of speakers including the following:
  • David Cotton - author - Energy effects of the Paris climate summit
  • Leroy Straker - Sustainable development by Circle Housing Merton Priory
  • Aga Otero - Repowering London - Community energy and other grassroots action after the  Paris climate summit
  • Damian Hemmings and Jon Buick - LBM - Climate Change: Effects felt locally
  • Tom Walsh - SM - What is the future for community groups in Merton following the Paris climate summit?
  • Mike Morris - SM - The effect of Crossrail2 on Wimbledon
Green Drinks has not been very well attended since moving to the Charles Holden pub in Colliers Wood. Therefore at the next meeting on 9th Feb there will be a discussion about finding a better venue.

21. The Challenge Network - Could You be a Dragon? 
This was the first Green Coffee for Caitlin, who manages programmes for young people at The Challenge Network in south west London. During the summer, thousands of 15-17 year olds will be given the opportunity to join The Challenge Network to help out local charities. A special effort is made to involve 'hard to reach' children, with a team going into schools to tell them about The Challenge.

In the third week of the programme, the young people partner with a charity and devise a campaign on their behalf. They then present their ideas to a panel of "dragons" (like the TV show). The Dragons then give feedback on the presentations and campaigns e.g. 'you presented really clearly, but you could save money by not buying business cards'. It's a lot of fun and gives the young people a sense of really wanting to do well, plus it would only take a few hours in the summer! If you'd like to be a dragon, please contact Caitlin at

In previous years, groups of Challenge volunteers have helped local groups by digging allotments, raising money, generating publicity and lots of other ways. This year, Caitlin has been looking at potential projects at the May Project, Sustainable Merton, Merton Music Foundation and other groups. If you have a project which some young volunteers could help with, please get in touch with Caitlin.

It was suggested that a possible project is to tidy up the garden areas outside of the YMCA. So Caitlin will contact Michael, the Volunteer Coordinator at the YMCA, who attended Green Coffee a few months ago.

22. Articles: Living Sustainably & Unnatural Selection
You can see an excellent list of what you can do to live sustainably in the Health Zone magazine (Health Zone is at the foot of Wimbledon Hill.)

BBC Radio 4 programme 'Unnatural Selection' is a interesting programme looking at how fishing is changing the fish in our seas. Listen again HERE

23. A new BID for Love Wimbledon?
Five years ago, Love Wimbledon was formed when businesses in the town centre agreed to pay 1% more on their business rate to fund a BID - a Business Improvement District. With the BID ending in 2017, Love Wimbledon is hoping to strike a new BID deal and will be discussing the priorities for businesses over the next 5 years, at the Love Wimbledon AGM on Tuesday 9th - see EVENTS below. This meeting is open to
community groups and residents, as well as business.

24. New leaders found for Wimbledon Common Nature Club!
We were delighted to hear that Wimbledon Common Nature Club now has three new co-leaders, so this excellent children's club will continue. The next planned session is 'Making Bird Feeders and a Bird Walk' on 7th Feb. Thanks to Auriel for this great news.

25. Knitting Group now at Willow Tea Rooms
A knitting group has been started at the Willow Tea Room, opposite the Nelson Medical Centre in The Rush, just off Kingston Rd. You are invited to enjoy a relaxing morning of knitting, conversation, tea and cake. Find out more at or tel. 8540 8080 or see Streetlife conversation HERE

26. London Mayoral Candidate in Wimbledon
Tom K is organising the visit of Sian Berry, Green Party candidate for London Mayor. She will be speaking in Wimbledon on 18th Feb - see details under EVENTS below. Sian is also number one on the list of potential London Assembly members and so is likely to be elected to the London Assembly in the May elections.


Other things local

27. Spaces for Hire
MVSC has produced a very useful list of places that can be hired locally for holding a meeting or event. See the list and look at the map of venues HERE

28. Whatever happened to the Pink Scarf?

Joanna updated us. Volunteers took the scarf apart and sewed them back together to make blankets, many of which were taken to Calais for migrants in the camp. Some of the most artistic sections were kept and auctioned off to raise money for WDC/CND. February's WDC/CND newsletter has an excellent article by Dr Philip Webber, which clearly lays out the arguments against Trident.

29. Welcome to Cristina & Isabella
Green Coffee welcomed Cristina and baby Isabella to their first Green Coffee. Whilst on maternity leave, Cristina has been learning about sustainability. A current concern is the pressure on nurseries and schools from the rising population in Wimbledon. Also, given the noise on the main roads, especially from emergency vehicles, it would be good to have quieter walking routes. Cristina and Isabella were told about Green Parents and are planning to go along.

29. Ask Merton's Scrutiny Panel
Merton's Scrutiny panels review issues and services to see how they can be made to work better. Past reviews have looked at things like improving immunisation rates and adult skills. If you have an idea about what they should look at next, then send it to the council through the online suggestion form HERE or download a paper form HERE and hand it into your local library. The scrutiny teams do not look at individual complaints, but at where an issue is not properly dealt with or a service could be improved.

In the past, Green Coffee members have asked scrutiny to examine the decision by environmental health to poison wasps nests just because they are near a walkway, as these are valuable creatures. Another was to ask that traffic wardens are given the power to penalise pavement parking (which is currently the responsibility of council officers, who can not respond quickly enough to stop it.)



Thurs 18th Feb from 1pm
WEBINAR: Faith & Climate after Paris
This is an opportunity to participate in a Web-based seminar (Webinar) to help faith communities turn the Paris Agreement into genuine action to protect our planet and our future. Join Daniele Violettie, the Chief of Staff of the United Nations Framework on Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), as well as representatives of major faith communities. Register and find out more

Thurs 18th Feb from 7.30pm
Mansel Rd Centre, Mansel Road, Wimbledon SW19 4AA

Sian Berry the Green Party Mayoral Candidate will be speaking. All are welcome to hear her speak and ask questions. For more information contact Tom Killick Or see the websites for Merton Greens HERE & Sian HERE

Sat 20th Feb  2-5pm
Restart Party
Mushkil Aasaan, 220 - 222 Upper Tooting Road, SW17 7EW (next to Nando’s)

Are you good at fixing or mending stuff or would like to learn how?  Come to the Restart Party!
Arrive during the first two hours to allow time for fixing. More info about Restart including details of regular skillshares at

Sat 27th Feb 12 noon
Stop Trident Rally
Assemble at Marble Arch, march to Trafalgar Square

Join CND, Compass, War on Want, The Methodist Church and many other groups to say No to government plans to replace Trident. Find out more HERE

Tues 8th - Thurs 10th March
Excel Centre, east London

Find out the latest technology for building more sustainably.
See some of the most innovative projects and products that are pushing boundaries. Hundreds of stalls, interesting talks on the issues and innovations. Register and find out more HERE

Wed 9th March  8.30 - 9.30am

Local Fairtrade Breakfast
William Morris House, 267 The Broadway SW19 1SD
This is being held as part of Fairtrade Fortnight. Organised by the Labour Party. If you'd like to go along, please contact Tom Searle at or tel. 07975 756 189.

Sat 16th April
The Big Dig

The Big Dig Day is all about getting people involved in their local community gardens. Events will be happening across the UK and your event will get wide publicity. To register your project and find out more about The Big Dig, see HERE

starting Sat 16th April for 6 weeks  10.30am - 12.30pm
Food Growing Course
Carshalton Community Allotment (Access between 33-35 Colston Avenue) SM5 2PW

Over the six weeks you will get hands on experience as well as theoretical knowledge and the support of an experienced tutor. This course is AQA level 1. Cost is £75. Find our more and book 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.

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. No meeting in August. Please contact Charles, Borough Coordinator Merton Cycling Campaign tel. 8949 0708 or email  or see website
HERE 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 Friday & Sunday  11am - 4pm
May Project Gardens
159 Middleton Rd, Morden  SM4 6RW

Join Ian and the team. Very friendly gardening group, music, training and lots of other activities too. To volunteer or find out more, 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.