Centre Court Backs Local Volunteers

Shopping centre names its adopted charity

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Volunteer Centre Merton is set to get a year of support from Wimbledon's Centre Court Shopping Centre.

By becoming the centre's chosen adopted charity, it is hoped VCM can benefit from donations and increased awareness from around 170,000 shoppers passing through the centre each week.

The charity, which promotes, recruits and manages volunteers working across a variety of sectors in and around Merton, will take part in a number of initiatives at the centre, as well as profiting from its annual Santa's Grotto.

The grotto alone last year raised more than £8,000 for charity, which went to 2010/2011's chosen charity, the Merton Music Foundation. VCM will also set up displays in the centre and take part in a calendar of events.

Kicking off the partnership is a photography competition which sees Centre Court donating prizes and plans to exhibit outstanding entries on the lower mall.

VCM deals with more than 3,000 volunteer registrations a year and matches volunteers to roles suiting their interests, skills and experience.

The charity runs supported volunteering programmes helping individuals with mental health, physical, sensory or learning difficulties.

It also manages a home visits library service with a team of more than 30 volunteers, choosing and delivering books and audio tapes to housebound elderly Merton residents or those in care homes.

VCM runs a vibrant Youth Action Team for volunteers between 16 and 25 and on behalf of London Borough of Merton, recruits and trains volunteers to help in Merton libraries.

Wimbledon Centre Court's marketing manager Samantha Brown, who has arranged the partnership, said she was delighted to have been able to choose such a worthwhile organisation and was looking forward to supporting VCM.

"Volunteers do such great work but it often goes uncelebrated, the volunteers themselves offer great skills, experience and compassion – not to mention modesty. The work that VCM does in matching such skills to where they are needed is remarkable and makes a great difference to people’s lives. We're looking forward to helping VCM and its volunteers get the greater recognition they deserve."

VCM Chief Executive, Andy Norrell said: "We'd like to say a big thank you to Centre Court and are very excited at the opportunities their support will bring. 

"We're looking forward to engaging with shoppers and retailers over the next 12 months and have some great ideas in the pipeline to involve everyone.  

"We're particularly excited about our photography competition, Merton Volunteers in Action, which we shall be launching over the next couple of weeks and are grateful to the way Centre Court has taken up this project and provided such generous support."

August 26, 2011