News stories, press releases and updates from Merton CIL throughout 2016
The Mayor of London and London Assembly Elections – Your vote is important, use it!
1st May 2016
On May 5th 2016, Londoners will get a chance to have their say in electing the next Mayor of London and Greater London Assembly members.
There are 1.2 million Disabled people in London and the London elections are a good opportunity to get our issues on the agenda. We remain one of the most excluded groups in the city, therefore it is important that Disabled people take part in the London elections and get our voices heard.
The needs of disabled people and the issues that matter most to them are often overlooked by politicians and policy-makers. In the current climate when, for the first time in the history of social policy, things are getting worse for Disabled people, it is more important than ever that our voices are heard. No vote, no voice.
The incomes of Disabled Londoners fell by 29% over the five years from 2007/8 to 2012/13 – double the equivalent figure for non-Disabled Londoners. Meanwhile Disabled Londoners experience inequality in every area of our lives such as housing, education and transport.
The Mayor of London and Greater London Assembly have significant powers that can address disadvantage and enable Disabled Londoners to participate as active citizens in the life of the capital city. (via Inclusion London)
In this edition we're looking at the Independent Living Fund, cuts to care packages and Merton Adult Education, as well as updating you on all of the new and exciting news Merton CIL has to share, plus more!
Our new hate crime service has now launched and we are welcoming all who have experienced from disability hate crime to get in touch via email or telephone. We will have an online reporting form that will be available soon! Our new hate crime support group launches on August 1st at All Saints Day Centre from 1:30pm until 3:30pm.
Our AGM is being held on October 20th at The Holy Trinity Church in Wimbledon. We hope to see our members there! More information can be found in the newsletter below.
Liberty, Merton CIL and 39 other organisations demand inquiry after infamous security firm G4S wins discrimination and equalities helpline contract
7th Sept 2016
Merton CIL is one of over 40 signatories to have written to the Chair of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, Harriet Harman MP – as well as the chairs of the Women and Equalities Select Committee, the Public Accounts Committee and the Home Affairs Select Committee – calling for an investigation after it was reported that G4S has won the contract to run the Equality Advisory Support Service (EASS) from 1 October.
Bella Sankey, Director of Policy for Liberty, said: “The EASS provides expert advice to those who face discrimination – whether refused accommodation because of their race, or sacked from their job because of their age. “G4S has been responsible for countless human rights violations, and the mistreatment and even unlawful killing of people in their care. It’s hard to think of a company more ill-equipped to provide this vital service. “Liberty joins other equality and rights organisations in demanding that this perverse decision be halted while Parliament investigates.”
Read our letter to Leader of the Council, Stephen Alambritis, about our concerns over the recently announced Council Tax consultation planned by London Borough of Merton. We also recently responded to the Communities and Local Government Select Committee inquiry into the future of Adult Social Care, and you can read our views here.
PRESS RELEASE: Disabled people to be kicked out of community centre by Merton Council and Harris Academy…without consultation
8th Sept 16
Over 80 people with a learning difficulty and their families, as well as the local community, benefit from the High Path Community Centre. Without warning, the land the Community Centre sits on is being sold to Harris Academy.
The decision to relocate High Path Community Centre is another step in a deeply worrying trend by Merton Council of making decisions to the detriment of disabled people, and of making decisions over the heads of disabled people and frankly poor involvement of disabled people in decision-making relating to issues that affect our lives.
The paper version of the survey is in My Merton magazine, which has been distributed to all households or can be collected from libraries and the Merton Civic Centre in Morden.
We will be supporting local disabled people to fill in a consultation form at our up and coming events - Annual General Meeting, Holy Trinity Church, The Broadway Wimbledon, SW19 1SB from 11-1pm and My Voice Matters Venue TBC 11-1pm
Here is our latest action-packed newsletter. We'd especially like to invite you to our annual event My Voice Matters: My Future Matters! at The South Mitcham Community Centre, Haslemere Avenue, Mitcham, Surrey, CR4 3PR on Tuesday 6th Dec 2016 from 11:00am until 2:00pm. There will be tea and coffee provided before hand and a Pizza lunch following the meeting.
Come along to this years My Voice Matters where we will prioritise issues raised and decide what we need to focus on at Merton CIL. BSL interpreters are available and there will be a pizza lunch provided. You can RSVP on our Eventbrite page or just give us a call on 0203 397 3119 https://www.eventbrite.com/e/my-voice-matters-2016-tickets-28528499510
We look forward to seeing you there, and hope you enjoy the rest of the newsletter too!
PRESS RELEASE: 500 Disabled People a Year in Merton Experiencing Hate Crime
12th Dec 16
A new report by Merton Centre for Independent Living and Stay Safe East has identified a potential 500 disabled people a year experiencing hate crime in Merton alone, with only 2% of people making a report to the police.
Merton's Vulnerable Adults Need Your Vote via Merton
14th Dec 16
Merton Council is consulting residents on cuts to council services. The big question is whether to increase Council Tax by 3.99% to raise £3million to protect council services against the worst of up to £20million cuts that are coming down the line. Half of this £3million would be spent solely on Adult Social Care, providing critical services for the most vulnerable members of our community.
As a member of one of Merton's community organisations, more than most, you understand the need for quality council services. Cuts affect everyone, the more vulnerable members of our community most of all. The Leader of the Council, Cllr Stephen Alambritis, has committed himself to implementing the outcome of the consultation. But unless we tell him what we want, it will not happen.
This is Britain in 2016. We are not an impoverished country. We can afford to spend a little more to protect essential services, for our elderly, for the infirm, for those with physical or mental disability, for our chlldren, for everyone. A 3.99% increase in council tax costs the equivalent of half a pizza, once a month. It will raise £3million for essential services. If you have already registered your vote, then thank you. If not, just click on the "Vote Now" button and with one minute of your time you can tell Merton's Councillors that you care.
The "Vote Now" button takes you to Merton's online voting. Once you click on it, if you are short of time, scroll down to Next, skip to the Post Code screen and enter it, then skip through to the 'Increase my Council Tax' screen, check the box, click on Next, and you are done. Then please forward this email to your friends and family living in Merton.
Merton CIL raise significant concerns over Council spending plans
14th Dec 2017
Merton CIL have sent an in-depth response to Merton Council's 'Council Tax and Council Spending Consultation'. In summary, our findings are that disabled people in Merton are finding it extremely difficult to live independently due to cuts to Adult Social Care, particularly when combined with cuts in other areas of their lives too. Council plans for the year ahead, including further cuts, risk tipping disabled people into crisis. In addition, the consultation process has been divisive and undermines the relationship between disabled people and the Council.
One of our volunteers has written a thoughtful piece for us on recent events...
"The torture is over, the US Presidential Election which has lasted for an eternity it seems, has ended. Donald Trump has unexpectedly won the Presidential Election. Now that the campaign and all the rhetoric that has come along with have come to a close, we’ll look at what it might mean for disabled people in the US."
Press Release: Merton Communities Support Local Disabled People and Older People
Over 80 per cent of Merton residents have called for Merton Council to make Adult Social Care their number one spending priority following a recent consultation. After last year’s devastating cuts to services for disabled people and older people in Merton, this result is testament to local people’s desire to see the Council live up to its “July Principles”.
The people have spoken, it is now up to the Council to implement the outcome of the Borough’s biggest consultation in recent years, said Merton Centre for Independent Living (Merton CIL).
The publication of the consultation results shows that residents have chosen to overwhelmingly support services for disabled people and older people, and for an increase in Council Tax to provide these services.
“We welcome this outcome. At times it can feel very lonely when talking to the local authority about the crisis facing local disabled people. However, this consultation shows that our local communities listen to and understand our concerns. We hope that Merton Council will now listen to the voice of the people and feel empowered to prioritise spending on essential services for disabled people and older people in Merton” said Lyla Adwan-Kamara, CEO of Merton CIL
Traditionally, local councillors have felt that top priority issues are street cleanliness and waste collection, but local residents have clearly said that actually, social care services for older people and disabled people, as well as services for children, are more important. In fact, over three quarters of residents have supported the need to increase Council Tax in order to keep local services, especially social care, viable. Nearly half of residents supported a maximum increase of 3.99%, which is equivalent to about 12 pence a day for the average household.
These results are particularly important because Merton is one of only a handful of local authorities who didn’t increase Council Tax this year to support Adult Social Care services, despite an emerging nation-wide crisis in social care. The results are also important because at times the messaging around the consultation, and the emergence of a rival consultation, was pretty divisive and seemed aimed at encouraging local residents not to support a Council Tax increase.
Merton CIL will be closed from 3pm on Friday 23rd December 2016 and normal working hours will commence from Tuesday 3rd January 2016. Please email or leave voicemails in the meantime and we will get back to you upon opening.
Please see the information below for other places you can contact over the holiday period:
Citizens Advice: 0344 243 8430 between 10.00am-4.00pm Monday to Friday excluding holidays. This is charged at your normal rate for calling an 01 or 02 numbers and will be included within any inclusive minutes in a mobile contract. Shelter: 0808 800 4444 Shelter's free helpline is open 8am – 8pm on weekdays and 8am – 5pm on weekends, 365 days a year. Samaritans: are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This number is FREE to call. 116 123 London Borough of Merton 020 8274 4901 Out of hours services: emergency out of hours line (when the council offices are closed): 020 8543 9750. An out of hours Social Services standby service is available on 020 8770 5000. Friday 23 December - Building closed to the public from 12pm Saturday 24 - Tuesday 27 December - Closed Wednesday 28 December - Open 9am - 5pm Thursday 29 December - Open 9am - 5pm Friday 30 December - Open 9am - 5pm Saturday 31 December re opens Tuesday 03 January - 9am – 5pm
We are inviting tenders to support us with our Monitoring and Evaluation, including the implementation of effective systems, and to conduct independent annual and end of project reviews.We are looking for a consultant (s) with extensive monitoring and evaluation skills, knowledge and experience, and with an understanding of the challenges of implementing and maintaining systems within small voluntary sector organisations. You must also have great communication skills and be able to work with diverse groups in an accessible and inclusive way.
Proposed timescale for this contract is as follows:
Deadline for tenders: 29/01/2016
Interview short-listed tenders: w/c 08/02/2015
Start date: w/c 29/02/2015
End date: May 2018
Cost - Up to £20,000 (including all expenses, VAT and access costs) is available for this commission.
The closing date for tenders is 29/01/2016.
Interviews of short-listed candidates will be on w/c 08/02/2016 at MCIL’s accessible premises
Contact details - If you would like to discuss this tender in more detail, please contact:
How to apply - Proposals covering all the tender requirements detailed in section 7 should be submitted to Lyla Adwan-Kamara at the address above by email. You submission document must use plain text word version
97- 2003 and please ensure there are no tables, boxes, underlinings or italics (bullet points and numbered paragraphs are fine) in your submission
We are pleased to announce that we are growing our team and recruiting for a Service Manager to support us with ensuring that the quality of services delivered by Merton CIL meets the required quality standards, and meets the needs of disabled people in London Borough of Merton.
This exciting role is for 16 hours per week and salary is £31,000 – £33,000.
We are a member of the two ticks disability commitment and we will interview and consider on their abilities all disabled applicants who meet the essential criteria for a job vacancy at Merton CIL, if they declare their disability at application.
If you require additional support completing this application due to an access need, please get in touch on 0203 397 3119 or by SMS on 0744 936 2233
In this edition we’re looking at budget cuts of £5 million to Adult Social Care in Merton, reviewing some benefits changes, and hearing from local residents in our My Views section.
We’re keen to hear from our members on how you think we’re doing and whether we are working on the things you think are important, and there is even a quick survey for those of you who weren’t able to attend our Annual General Meetinghttps://www.surveymonkey.com/r/N8QMGHG
Plus, we’re very excited to announce that our next event, My Voice Matters: Let’s Speak Out! on December 3rd will be a fantastic opportunity to meet other local people who have made change happen, and you will be able to pick their brains for ideas on how to achieve the change you want to see, too. We will also have a guest speaker from human rights organisation Amnesty International. Book your free place here http://www.eventbrite.com/e/my-voice-matters-tickets-19401361996or just give us a call in the office.
It is packed full of news and views, and in this edition we reflect back on the General Election and look to the future. We also highlight some of the great support we’ve been getting from volunteers and the community, and look at more ways of getting involved.
Plus, the most important date for the diary (we think so anyway) is our Annual General Meeting 29th September. More details in the newsletter. Our AGMs have been loads of fun in the past, so do come along!
Now, a comment on access.We are committed to providing a newsletter for all. In the past, some readers have told us that they don’t need large print when the newsletter is produced electronically, because they can enlarge the text on screen. Other readers have told us that most screenreaders can cope with pdf files. So for this edition we are producing just one version of the newsletter, however, we urge you to get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org if you require an alternative version, and we can provide alternative versions as standard in the future if they are still needed.
This exciting Advice Case Worker role is ideal for someone with experience in giving advice who would like to specialise in taking on more case work, or perhaps an experienced case worker interested in focusing on advice work with disabled people.
You would work alongside our existing advisor, and be part of a small and passionate team who also deliver advocacy and supported volunteering services.
Merton CIL is a user-led organisation promoting the inclusion, choice, and independence of disabled people in Merton. We were established to provide a voice for disabled people in the borough and to provide support to disabled people in all areas of their lives.
This role is for 24 hours per week. Closing date for applications 22/07/2015.
Please apply with:
A completed application form and a completed monitoring form to email@example.com
This exciting role for an Advocate is ideal for someone with experience in enabling people to speak up for themselves. This includes supporting people in a wide range of formal settings including assessments, reviews, and tribunals, and informal settings including home visits
You would work alongside our existing advocate, and be part of a small and passionate team who also deliver advice, and supported volunteering services.
Merton CIL is a user-led organisation promoting the inclusion, choice, and independence of disabled people in Merton. We were established to provide a voice for disabled people in the borough and to provide support to disabled people in all areas of their lives.
Applicants should apply with a completed Application Form and a completed monitoring form by 22/07/2015 to firstname.lastname@example.org
Here it is, our latest newsletter. It is a bumper ‘Election Special’ edition containing speeches from the Mitcham & Morden, and Wimbledon parliamentary candidates.
Plus, read fascinating articles from our members, and check out the Merton CIL events calendar for the year. And don’t forget, we would love to have you join us on our sponsored walk on 13th June. Money raised will go towards supporting our services, and there is a sponsorship form and more details in the newsletter.
ps do you want to get the newsletter earlier? Contact email@example.com to sign up as a member and get all our news first!
It has recently come to our attention that a photo of some of Merton CIL’s trustees is featured in a Conservative Party election flyer. This has been done without the consent of the people featured. Merton CIL would like to clarify that it does not support the Conservative candidate and Merton CIL does not support any other parliamentary candidates or political party.
We have taken the following steps to address this matter: – Contacted the candidate and asked him to withdraw the leaflet – Contacted the regulator, the Charity Commission, to advise them of the situation
Any queries on this issue can be directed to Merton CIL firstname.lastname@example.org direct to the regulator.
Merton CIL gets Big Lottery Funding to Keep Supporting the Voice of Disabled People in Merton
Local disabled people’s organisation Merton Centre for Independent Living has successfully secured three years of funding from the Big Lottery Fund’s Reaching Communities Programme starting from April 2015. The funding will ensure that their specialist services for local disabled people will continue, and grow.
The core services being supported by the Big Lottery Fund are a Home Visiting Advice Service, an Advocacy Service, a Peer Support Programme, Supported Volunteering Opportunities, and events and other activities to support disabled people to be heard.
Roy Benjamin, Chair of Merton CIL said “this is fantastic news and will enable Merton Centre for Independent Living to expand our advocacy and advice services to disabled people in the borough at a time when services to these groups are being savagely cut.”
Merton CIL is a user-led disabled people’s organisation, run by disabled people, for disabled people in London Borough of Merton. The organisation supports the independence and inclusion of disabled people across the full spectrum of disability, challenges discrimination, and enables people to achieve change locally. Initially set up as a steering group in 2008 and now a registered charity, Merton CIL has grown fast since its first employee in 2012, and will be employing 8 people from April 2015.
In addition to funding from the Big Lottery Fund, Merton CIL will also be funded by London Borough of Merton and Henry Smith Charity over the next three years.
Merton CIL CEO Lyla said: “In a tough funding environment, we feel very lucky to have secured funding for our core services for another three years. Disabled people are facing unprecedented pressures on both a national and local level. Our range of services is designed to support disabled people in Merton to build financial resilience, improve quality of life and to speak up and be heard. We are very grateful to our funders for the next 3 years, as well as everyone who has supported us and continues to support us.”
Background Notes: Merton CIL is currently funded by Trust for London, Sports Relief – Evening Standard Dispossessed Fund, London Borough of Merton, Circle Housing Merton Priory, and the Wimbledon Foundation Fund.
TheBig Lottery Fundis responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised for good causes by the National Lottery. The Fund is committed to bringing real improvements to communities and the lives of people most in need and has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK. Since its inception in 2004 we have awarded close to £6bn. The Fund was formally established by Parliament on 1 December 2006.
London Borough of Mertonprovides funding towards a Policy and Strategy Service, and towards the Advice and Advocacy Services through its Strategic Partnership Fund.
Henry Smith Charitysupports Merton CIL with core funding.
We are looking for an administrator to support with all aspects of the organisation and to act as first point of contact for Merton CIL, signposting and referring callers to the correct service to meet their needs, as well as making sure the office runs smoothly and supporting the CEO and Trustees.
Our ideal candidate will have fantastic listening and organisational skills and be able to work 21 hours per week, preferably across the full week.
Please apply with a completed application form and a completed monitoring form by 17/03/2015 to email@example.com
We are very pleased to be expanding our Home Visiting Advice Service and our Advocacy Service.
We are recruiting a second Advisor and a second Advocate to help grow these very successful services.
Our ideal Advisor will have experience in providing advice and information, great inter-personal skills, and the ability to take on advice case work. The Advice role is for 28 hours per week and includes travelling to home appointments. The majority of the advice work will be conducted in people’s homes.
Our ideal Advocate will have 3 or more years experience as an advocate and who will also be able to oversee our peer support service, as well as an understanding and knowledge of the Social Model of disability, the Independent Living Movement and a commitment to the disability rights movement. The Advocacy role is for 27 hours per week and includes sometimes travelling to home appointments and supporting service users at external meetings such as assessments, reviews, and tribunals.
Applicants should apply with a completed Application Form and a completed monitoring form by 15/03/2015 to firstname.lastname@example.org
Merton CIL is a young, and growing, user-led organisation promoting the inclusion, choice, and independence of disabled people in London Borough of Merton.
This is an exciting new role which aims to enhance the voice of disabled people locally. We are looking for someone who can positively influence the Local Authority and other local organisations and businesses so that disabled people are heard.
Our ideal candidate will have proven experience of supporting people to speak up, great inter-personal skills, and have excellent understanding of the policy issues affecting disabled people’s lives. Being able to understand complex information and translate it into clear and accessible policy reports and statements will be key.
This role is for 20 hours per week and includes attending evening meetings, including at the Council.
Deadline for applications: 01/03/2015
Interviews planned w/c: 09/03/2015
Please apply with a completed Application Form and completed Monitoring Form to email@example.com
Merton CIL would like to draw your attention to our open letter to Merton Council. We think it is really important for all our members to know what our position is on the proposed cuts to Adult Social Care in Merton.
Thank you to everyone who came to our event, ‘My Voice Matters’,on Dec 3rd – if you couldn’t make it we hope to see you next year. We will be sending a full report in the January newsletter, but some of the headlines are that nearly 70 people attended the event. We discussed our experiences around access to health, employment, housing and getting out and about, and came up with some solutions. Merton CIL will now be taking up members’ suggestions with Merton Council and other organisations on your behalf.
Another key area of discussion was the fact thatMerton Council is planning to make cuts to Adult Social Care. We have found out that they are planning around £14 million cuts to Adult Social Care over the next 4 years.
Disabled people, and older people, are targeted with cuts to care packages of 6-15% or more. Assessments and Day Services will be reduced. The Council acknowledge that they will be less able to support people, less able to manage safeguarding concerns, less able to monitor the quality of services and less able to meet their statutory duties.
If you want to talk about these changes, there is a consultation on Tuesday 13th January 2015, 5:30pm – 8:30pm
at Acacia Centre, 230 Grove Road, Mitcham, CR4 1SD
Please come and talk to Merton Centre for Independent Living about your experience. We’re trying to put together a programme to tackle Disability Hate Crime and we need to know how it affects you!
When? Thursday 25th September 1pm – 4pm
Where? Merton Tenants and Residents Association, 328 London Rd, Mitcham, CR4 3ND
Those of us using public transport may like to know that the 118, 127, 200, 201, 280 buses all stop outside the building – next to the C.A.B. – at the Glebe Court stop. The closest tram is Mitcham is the closest rail Mitcham Eastfields.
Please note, anyone attending the group and needing to use a taxi to get there or need to print out a map using directions like googlemap then the postcode doesn’t direct you to exactly the right place. The venue is right next to the CAB building on London Road in Mitcham, and more or less opposite Age UK. Please call us if you need help on 020 3397 3119
Even if you’re not a member yet, come along and find out more! Call Richard on 020 3397 3119 for more information or email firstname.lastname@example.org
CIL Matters Summer 2014 Newsletter This edition includes some very important information about our upcoming Annual General Meeting (AGM) and I encourage all of our members to attend to find out more about what we’ve been doing, and meet the staff and board of trustees. We have some fantastic entertainment lined up with singer songwriter Dave Russell from Survivor Poetry, and protest singers and comedy duo Maggie & Lucy Lyrical, as well as a buffet supper prepared for us by the Mencap Cafe.
Date: Thurs 25th Sept 2014
Venue: The Vestry Hall, 338 London Road, Mitcham, CR4 3UD
Get in touch to book now as spaces are limited!
And if you can’t make the AGM then there are lots of other opportunities to meet us and talk about the things that matter to you. In particular, we have some exciting topics for discussion at upcoming members’ groups every Thursday 1pm to 4pm including:
11th September. Your Health. A Pillar of Independent Living. Healthwatch want to speak to people who have been to hospital recently and are keen to get YOUR views – come along, this session includes a light lunch. PLUS Discussion: How does health affect our independence? How might the NHS support independent living? Do you know about the new Personal Health Budgets?
And finally I’d like to highlight a fantastic opportunity to sign up to our award-winning volunteer training programme taking place in October – get in touch to find out more.
As always, we’re keen to hear your views so please get in touch on email@example.com or 020 3397 3119
Some highlights from the newsletter: We now run a regular members’ group on Tuesdays 11am to 2pm, come along to find out more! Venue: Merton Tenants and Residents Association, 328 London Rd, Mitcham, CR4 (between Vestry Hall and the CAB building in Mitcham)
Another MCIL event will be our ‘Shared Experiences’ Networking evening – if you or anyone you know is a peer supporter, mentor, or befriender for any organisation, or just interested in finding out more, come along to share your experiences with people like you! Date: Thurs 27th February 2014 Time: 7pm to 9pm Venue: Polka Theatre, 240 The Broadway, Wimbledon, London SW19 1SB
AND in breaking news and new dates for the diary which you won’t find in your newsletter:
* New conference and network for personal assistants on Wednesday 12th March 2014 at Friends House, 173-177 Euston Road, London NW1 2BJ. To find out more visit www.ruils.co.uk/The-Ruils-PA-Network/28/217 *
* Looking for participants – Summit on the Commissioning of Wheelchair Services with David Nicholson: NHS England are hosting a summit, chaired by Sir David Nicholson, on the commissioning of wheelchair services and they are looking for up to 20 users of wheelchair services. It will be held on Tuesday 25th February, 12:00-3:30 in London, venue to be confirmed. To get involved please get in touch with Bernd.Sass@disabilityrightsuk.org (subject: wheelchair services summit), mob 07906 521 536 *
* Merton Community Transport hope to finalise their 2014 list of trips soon. Keep an eye out on their website for more details: http://mct.uk.com/excursions *