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Still chance to get your census details captured

Sutton Census Support Centre – Open for Face2Face appointments
There is still time to complete your Census questionnaire. The Census Support Centre (CSC) at Sutton Library is now able to support Census completion face2face. 

The CSC is there to help and support people to complete their census questionnaires either online or on paper. Anyone attending will need to have their Census code or forms with them when they attend an appointment or make a call. 

Please note, in line with current guidelines, this is by appointment only and appointments can be made by calling 020 8770 4774 or emailing
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Take part in a virtual summit focusing on mental health service

A virtual summit is taking place next week which will feature on the vision of mental health services in South West London being hosted by South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust.

“We are delighted to invite our communities across South West London to join us for this virtual summit at 12.30pm on Wednesday 14 April.

Register for the event today via Eventbrite

The Trust is bringing forward an exciting programme of investment and innovation to improve mental health services in South West London in the coming years.

As part of this, the development of a new ‘Springfield Village’ is well underway. This will see the creation of a mixed-use community at Springfield University Hospital incorporating new mental health facilities and hundreds of new homes in a parkland setting. Further developments are also planned at Richmond Royal and Barnes Hospital in Richmond and Tolworth Hospital in Kingston.

Since works commenced in January 2020, the construction of our two new mental health facilities at Springfield has progressed at pace. With just over a year to go until their completion, we want to reflect and celebrate all the hard work that has helped us to get to this point and share more on innovations happening across the Trust.

We’ll find out the latest from our construction site, we’ll hear from people across our community, and we’ll share more on our vision for the future of mental health services in South West London.”

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Beddington Community Benefit Fund announces latest support funding

COVID-19 lockdowns might have changed how many of us live our lives, but the Beddington Community Benefit
Fund has continued to support charities across Croydon, Kingston, Merton and Sutton, donating £92,537.75 to 15
projects since March 2020. This brings the total funding to £185,889 since 2016.

The Beddington Energy Recovery Facility in Sutton supports the households of the four London boroughs of
Croydon, Kingston, Merton and Sutton to transform non-recyclable waste into enough energy to power c. 57,000
homes and divert this material away from landfill.

Associated with the ERF is a £1m community benefit fund for projects in the four boroughs to access grants to help their projects flourish over coming decades. Projects within a 2km radius of the Beddington ERF can apply for up to £30,000 and projects within the four boroughs are eligible for up to £5,000.
Some of these projects have been located just on the fringes of the site, including a £30,000 donation to
Beddington infant school for installation of a solar dome to allow for learning to continue outside the classroom. The
Croydon Foodbank was also successful in an application for just over £10,000 to buy a new van to help expand the
reach of their deliveries and support for communities.
Samuel Ackah co-ordinator for the Croydon Foodbank said of their funding: “We are over the moon with the
support we have received from the Beddington community fund. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to think
differently about how we operate, and the funding has enabled us to buy a van for us to now offer direct pick up and
drop off to limit the contact donators and our customers need to have with our team. The van has transformed our
work and we are now able to our services much wider across the London Borough of Croydon.”
The Sutton Community Farm was successful with a second application to the fund, this time for £5,000 to
contribute towards a larger project to build a much bigger barn at the Farm following a period of sustained growth
with the project. Each month the Sutton Community Farm provides vegetable boxes for 600 members of the local
community along with produce for some of London’s most notable restaurants.
Sutton Nightwatch, a homeless charity set up to provide support and raise awareness of homeless people in Sutton
was successful in receiving more than £8,000 to provide security and fire safety enhancements to its centre in

Applications for the Beddington Community Benefit Fund remain open and the panel would welcome expressions
of interest to be sent to the fund administrator at:

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London councils predict more than 460,000 will be unemployed by the end of the year

London’s unemployment total is expected to peak at 9.4% – or 464,000 economically active residents – by the end of this year, according to new forecasting commissioned by London Councils.  

The research suggests a rising tide of unemployment due to Covid-19’s impact and the end of the furlough scheme in September. While an unemployment peak of 9.4% of economically active Londoners by December 2021 represents the ‘core scenario’, the analysis also found a ‘worst case’ scenario of unemployment hitting 11.8% by February 2022 if the economic recovery is more sluggish than anticipated.    

Boroughs say the data predicts Covid-19 leaving a “painful legacy” of job losses in the capital and are calling for an “urgent reset” of the government’s approach to unemployment support.

The report – produced by the Volterra Partners economic consultancy on behalf of the cross-party group London Councils – looks at the pandemic’s current and future impact on unemployment among Londoners and across different parts of the capital [1].  

Key findings include:

  • London’s unemployment rate has historically been higher than national levels. Although this had narrowed over the past five years, the Covid-19 crisis has increased the gap again. As of December 2020 (the latest available figures), the UK employment rate was 5.2% and London’s was 7.1% [2].
  • Central London [3] will experience the largest rise in unemployment. Unemployment in these boroughs is set to reach 169,000.
  • East London boroughs [4] will have persistently higher unemployment (peaking at 9.6%) for the longest period.
  • With a peak rate of 10.4%, west London [5] will have the highest unemployment due to the dominance of sectors especially affected by Covid-19 restrictions. This is demonstrated by the furlough rates in this part of the capital and reflects the importance of Heathrow airport in the sub-region.
  • Londoners from ethnic minorities will experience higher unemployment than white Londoners. For example, ethnic minority residents in central London are twice as likely to be unemployed (14.9% compared to 6.9%).
  • The 16-24 age group is forecast to be hardest hit by job losses, making up around a third of unemployed Londoners.
  • Londoners with fewer qualifications (i.e. those with only NVQ1 or NVQ2 levels) are set to experience more than three times the unemployment rate compared to those with more qualifications (NVQ4+). The industries with the highest numbers of furloughed workers – such as retail and accommodation and food – also have the highest proportions of workers with no qualifications.

London Councils is pushing for a ‘local first’ approach to unemployment support so that boroughs are better equipped to respond to their communities’ needs.

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Mental Health Trust updates progress on mental health crisis pathway

South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust has issued a statement with regard to its Mental Health Crisis Pathway:

“As part of our mission, Making Life Better Together, we are working hard to bring forward innovations that improve the care we deliver and the experiences of our staff, patients and service users.

Ensuring we have a robust crisis care pathway is an important part of this and we have learned a lot over the past year.

Developing our pathway

In recent months we have been working with a wide range of stakeholders including patients and service users, staff, Local Authorities, Commissioners, A&E Delivery Boards and the South London Partnership to define the best future for our mental health crisis pathway.

We are delighted to now be progressing development of an integrated mobile crisis hub. This will build on the Orchid Mental Health Emergency Service, our expanded Mental Health Support Line and other crisis support we provide by integrating these together to deliver an even better service for our patients.

This will continue to be accessed through the Trust’s 24/7 Mental Health Support Line which will be linked with the NHS 111 service, and will support those in crisis to be cared for away from A&E or an acute mental health facility.

The 24/7 crisis hub, which our service users have named the “Coral Mental Health Crisis Hub”, will focus on mobile assessment and support, with a newly formed Crisis Assessment Team going directly to patients in their homes and in community settings.

This will provide an enhanced crisis pathway that strengthens support available and helps reduce pressures on A&E, whilst improving patient experience and outcomes. As a rapid response model, it will enable us to continue to provide emergency support into communities quickly and effectively, whilst working in close contact with local emergency services.

Our next steps

We will be transitioning to this pathway between April and May 2021 during which time Orchid will continue to operate and will undertake a phased transition to the Coral Mental Health Crisis Hub. We expect to launch this integrated pathway in early June and will be sharing further communications with all our stakeholders as we approach the launch.

We have been delighted by the positive impact our crisis pathway has had in our communities over the past year. We know how important this kind of support is as we transition out of the pandemic, and we will be working hard to ensure people across South West London continue to have access to timely support when they need it most.

You can find more information on our website.

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Train operators to extend lifesaving travel scheme

Extension expected to help hundreds more domestic abuse survivors to reach safe refuge. Figures show 1,348 people have used the lifesaving scheme, equal to four survivors a dayScheme was introduced by all train operators during first lockdown, having been pioneered by Southeastern in 2019
The ‘Rail to Refuge’ scheme, which was due to end next week, is being continued by train companies to help more people escape domestic abuse and reach a safe refuge. The decision comes as figures show four survivors a day, on average, have been using the lifesaving scheme to access free train travel.  Rail to Refuge is a joint initiative between rail companies and Women’s Aid in which train operators cover the cost of train tickets for women, men and children travelling to refuge accommodation. Since April 2020, train operators have provided free tickets to 1,348 people, including 362 children over five, equivalent to four survivors travelling to safety each day on average.

 Andy Bagnall, Director General of the Rail Delivery Group, said: “Train operators have provided lifesaving travel to four survivors every day through the Rail to Refuge scheme, and it’s right that we keep it going for those who sadly still need it. Rail staff are continuing to work hard helping survivors of domestic abuse with free train travel, while supporting all our passengers to feel safe on their journeys.”

Farah Nazeer, chief executive at Women’s Aid, said: “Women face many barriers when escaping an abuser. Leaving your home because you and your children are not safe is a massive undertaking. Additionally, leaving the abuser is a dangerous time with a huge rise in the likelihood of violence after separation, so it needs to be done as safely as possible, with support from expert refuge services.  “Many women and children have to travel long distances to escape their abuser. There remains a serious shortage of refuge spaces, so it is vital that women are not prevented access to safety in a refuge by the cost of travel. In addition, many survivors have experienced years of economic abuse and will not have access to a bank, credit card or even cash. Women tell us that they cannot afford to leave because the perpetrator has controlled their money and they have none of their own. “We are delighted that train companies have worked with us to remove a significant barrier to people escaping abuse. The Rail to Refuge scheme will continue to be lifesaving for hundreds of women and children, and it is incredibly welcome news that it has been extended.” 
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Two members of organised crime sentenced for involvement in £112,000 fraud

Two members of an organised crime group (OCG) have been sentenced at Inner London Crown Court for their involvement in committing £112,000 of fraud, following a successful investigation by the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU), a specialist police unit sponsored by the banking and finance industry that investigates the criminals responsible for fraud. 

The ringleader of the gang, Samir Aweys, also known as Zeemir Ebankz, received a total of three years and nine months imprisonment for conspiracy to defraud and being in possession of criminal property. He was also ordered to pay £500 and €500 to the bank, and received a forfeiture order where both his laptop and phone were seized by the police.

Group member Adrian Myrie, of Canning Town, pleaded guilty to the charge of facilitating the acquisition, retention, use or control of criminal property under the Proceeds of Crime Act. On 19 March 2021, he received a one year and six month community order, a rehabilitation activity requirement for 20 days, a £300 court cost to be paid within three months and a forfeiture order where his phone was seized by the police.

The fraud involved opening a bank account in Stanmore using stolen credentials to match that of the intended victim. Once the new account was set up, the group fraudulently moved £112,000 of the victim’s funds into the new account. The group then attended a garage in Hertfordshire to buy a BMW M5 for nearly £70,000, using the funds. The rest of the funds were quickly transferred to third-party bank accounts before being moved into accounts under the control of Aweys.   

The DCPCU issued a wanted report for Aweys, and he was arrested on 18 December 2020 by British Transport Police when trying to check in for a Eurostar train to Paris from London St Pancras.   

The fraud, which took place between 26 September 2019 and 4 December 2019, was spotted by the bank and referred to the DCPCU to investigate. All victims of the fraud have been refunded, and the vehicle and its registration number have been recovered.  

Jeremy Boxall, Detective Constable at the DCPCU, commented:  

“Aweys and Myrie callously used an innocent victim’s funds totalling over £110,000.  

“Fortunately we were able to track down both Aweys and Myrie, bringing them to justice for their role in this fraud.   

“The DCPCU will continue to work closely with the banking industry to clamp down on organised crime groups involved in fraud.”  

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Rushy Meadow primary students win Easter competition

Rushy Meadow Primary School students, Briana Matei (aged 6) and Lacey-Rae Whittington (aged 9), have been announced as two of the 50 winners of Barratt London’s Easter competition.

To enter the competition, Barratt London asked residents and school children across London to take inspiration from its very own Hayes Village chocolate factory, which used to be the international home of Nestlé, and design their own Easter egg on paper. Almost 200 children entered the competition, a number of which were from Rushy Meadows Primary School, local to the housebuilder’s New Mill Quarter development in Wallington.

Two of the most imaginative entries from the school were announced as some of the lucky 50 winners who were invited to take part in a Nestlé-themed virtual Easter egg making masterclass hosted by an expert chocolatier, with all the delicious ingredients included. The masterclass took place virtually on Saturday 3rd April at 3pm. 

Pam Reardon, Sales and Marketing Director at Barratt East London said: “A massive congratulations to all our winners, we have had some wonderful designs sent in over the last couple of weeks and it was so hard to pick just 50 to win. We hope the children enjoyed making their Easter eggs inspired by Nestlé.”