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Friday, 16 March 2018 13:52 PM GMT
Wimbledon Foundation champions local charities

Local charities in Merton and Wandsworth were the guests of honour at a reception on Wednesday evening organised by the Wimbledon Foundation, the charity of The All England Lawn Tennis Club and The Championships. 

Representatives from more than 55 charities and community organisations awarded funding by the Wimbledon Foundation in 2017 attended alongside Stephen Hammond MP, the Mayor of Merton Councillor Marsie Skeete and the Mayor of Wandsworth Councillor Leslie McDonnell.

Guests enjoyed moonlit tours of Centre Court, strawberries and cream, and the chance to have their photographs taken with The Championship trophies.

Young musicians from the Wandsworth Music Academy, run by Wandsworth Schools’ Music, entertained guests with live jazz while Baseless Fabric Theatre caught guests by surprise with an opera performance. The Merton-based charity brings opera and theatre to public spaces giving people an opportunity to experience art forms that they might not ordinarily be able to access.

The Wimbledon Foundation recently awarded funding to Baseless Fabric to create a street opera version of die Fledermaus which will be performed in public spaces across Merton and Wandsworth in August 2019.

There were inspiring speeches by Stem4 and Home-Start Wandsworth, two charities supported by the Wimbledon Foundation’s local grant programmes. Dr Nihara Krause, Founder and CEO of teenage mental health charity Stem4 said, “With 1 in 10 children aged between 5 and 15-years old experiencing a diagnosable mental health problem, there has never been a more important time to focus on early awareness and prevention of mental ill-health in young people. Thanks to the Wimbledon Foundation we have run two conferences for 18 local secondary schools focusing on developing support around the issue amongst students, teachers and parents.”

Home-Start Wandsworth, supported by the Wimbledon Foundation’s Health & Wellbeing Fund, provides support to families with young children who are struggling to cope. Holly Stilgoe, Vice-Chair of Home-Start Wandsworth said, “Our trained volunteers visit a family at home for approximately three hours a week for six to 12 months providing non-judgemental, practical and emotional support. We see parents’ mental health and wellbeing improve, they become more confident and resilient and much less isolated.

Home-Start’s support enables parents to give their children a healthier and more positive future.” Holly Stilgoe was joined by Lisa Whipp, a mother of four children, three of whom have a rare, life-limiting condition. Lisa said the “regular and consistent support” she received from a Home-Start volunteer enabled her family “to do regular activities that most families would take for granted such as playing in the garden, going to a park or eating tea together.”

Ian Hewitt, Chairman of the Wimbledon Foundation said, “We are proud to be associated with so many fantastic charities and community organisations. The evening is a chance for us to celebrate the achievements of those we support and to thank the charities for all their hard work. It is the passion, commitment and expertise of their staff and volunteers that is ultimately helping to change people’s lives.”

In 2017, the Wimbledon Foundation awarded grants and donations totalling £750,000, £430,000 of which was donated to charities and community groups working in the boroughs of Merton and Wandsworth.