Wimbledon winter warmer

5 April 2017

Mayor of Wandsworth with staff from Randall CloseThe Wimbledon Foundation served up a teatime treat to honour the vital work of disabled adults and carers from Wandsworth, who have supported isolated and vulnerable people in the borough through the harsh winter months.

During the quintessentially British afternoon tea at Centre Court last week, the Wimbledon Foundation congratulated people from the Leonard Cheshire Disability run Randall Close resource centre in Battersea and other local organisations for their role in preventing winter deaths in the borough.

As part of a campaign called ‘Keep Warm, Keep Well’, Randall Close provided disabled people, older people and those living below the poverty line with food, heating, blankets, crucial home visits and advice on keeping warm.

The Wimbledon Foundation has awarded a grant of £66,000 over three years to support this important work. With the help of this grant, Randall Close visited 800 people during the coldest months, with those most in need receiving weekly visits throughout the winter.

Someone who has both benefited from the campaign and been part of it is Veronica Thomas, 70.

Veronica had received hot meals every day from Randall Close while she was recovering from an operation. Inspired by the campaign, once recovered, Veronica joined staff and other volunteers in giving out Keep Warm, Keep Well bags and offering advice.

She said:

‘It is wonderful how much support we have received from the Wimbledon Foundation.

‘The Keep Warm, Keep Well campaign is so successful and we are all really proud to be a part of it.’

William Gallagher, service manager at Randall Close, also attended the event along with the Mayor of Wandsworth and Leonard Cheshire colleagues including chief executive Neil Heslop.

At the afternoon tea, William said:

‘The Wimbledon Foundation has become a great friend to our services.

‘It’s not just the great benefits we have been able to give the community through the Keep Warm, Keep Well campaign, but all the other opportunities [they] have created for the people who use my service and my staff to be able to visit and enjoy the beautiful surroundings here at Wimbledon.”

On the Keep Warm, Keep Well campaign, William said:

‘I’m really pleased to say deaths and hospital admissions have been reducing in Wandsworth.’

The links between Leonard Cheshire Disability and the All England Lawn Tennis Club stretch back many years.

Charity founder and war hero Leonard Cheshire was a lifelong tennis fan and member of the Club. He was also a talented amateur player. This year the charity is celebrating 100 years since Leonard Cheshire’s birth.

Ian Hewitt, chairman of the Wimbledon Foundation, said:

‘We are really pleased to continue our association with Leonard Cheshire in the centenary year of Leonard Cheshire’s birth.

‘We are delighted to support Randall Close Resource Centre with their fantastic work helping people in need to cope through the winter.’

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