On our Wimblecomm Spotlight, we invite local people, charities or community spaces who make positive contributions to Merton to share their story on our Community Hub and spread the word on their good works. In this edition, Genevieve speaks to one of the Founders of Sherwood Park Hall, a new community venue that opened in Mitcham this October.
Who are you and what venue are you representing?
My name is Shernette May and I am representing Sherwood Park Hall CIC (Community Interest Company.)
What does a typical day at your venue look like?
During lockdown, extremely quiet! However, we hope it will be buzzing with activities from morning to night, with the community making the most of the classes we have available and hiring the hall for various occasions and meetings.
What types of activities and events will take place at your venue?
We have Yoga, After School Club, Multi Sports, Karate, Zumba, Art classes, Breakfast Club, Mommy and Baby Yoga, Arts Award classes, Dance classes and Performance Skills, so there is lots for the community to enjoy and get involved in.
Do you cater for any particular groups of people in society such as young people, families or the older generation?
At Sherwood Park Hall, we cater for everyone. We are implementing coffee mornings and Bingo for the older generation and have plenty of activities for young people and families. Our mini golf course will also cater for family days out and provide some added outdoor fun.
What is unique about your venues offering? What would you say to someone who has never been to your venue before?
Our staff are super friendly, and we help our tutors to advertise their classes on our social platform which we will be launching an app for next year. We also have a unique look and are located in the middle of a park, offering our own outdoor space and a car park. Our space is light, bright, and airy with a mirrored wall, and we have a small kitchen, lockers, and storage space.
Although you have only recently opened, is there something that has happened in recent months that you would regard as a highlight or success story of your venue?
The opening day itself was a huge success; we had the Mayor of Merton come down to open the venue and give a lovely speech, we had a wonderful reception with the community, and lots of tutors signed up. It made all our hard work worthwhile.
In terms of providing a community service in Merton, what do you think your venue will do well?
With a background in Event management and décor, we will run amazing events for the community to enjoy, and offer hall hire packages upon request. We will also run a programme called “HEATS” and an events and arts training programme which trains young people to do Event management, décor, and operations. We will also develop artistic skills such as music, production, comedy, singing and dance. Our students will then help to produce events for the community.
How can the people of Merton get involved and help to support your venue?
Join our online platform and stay in touch. Support your neighbours, volunteer should we need help with events, use the space, come to classes, and tell your friends!
What is the best way for people to stay updated on news, events and activities happening at your venue?
Visit our online platform – https://online.sherwoodparkhall.com. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook or visit our website www.sherwoodparkhall.com
Now I will ask a few questions considering the impact of Covid-19…
The Covid-19 Pandemic has affected people globally, and here in Merton we have seen it affect our community venues in several different ways. How has it affected your venue?
We have not been able to open fully. The week that our classes were meant to start, we went into another lockdown, so we have lost out on potential bookings and earnings.
Moving forwards, do you think Covid-19 will change the way that you operate? Your online platform and upcoming app suggest that you’ll be keeping a strong digital presence post Covid-19.
We are trying to grow our new online platform daily, by delivering online classes and various online programmes the community may be interested in. We’ve just launched our online Games night on a Thursday where we will come together online for Karaoke, Pub Quizzes and Bingo every 2 weeks. Additionally, we will be creating a platform (like Nextdoor) where local neighbours will be able to interact with each other.
There is always something to learn from difficult times and experiences, what will you be taking away from this Covid-19 Pandemic?
Learn how to adapt, be ready for the unexpected and make time for family and friends.
Is there anything else that you would like to share as part of your venue’s Wimblecomm Spotlight?
A smile and a little kindness goes a long way and really helps during these times!
It has been a pleasure to feature Sherwood Park Hall in our Wimblecomm Spotlight series and support their journey from the very start. From this article, you can see how quickly they have adapted to current circumstances, and how much they value the people in our community. I look forward to seeing them open fully in the coming months so that more people can enjoy the full Sherwood Park Hall experience, and as a Creative I am excited by their digital innovations in the form of a new online platform and app. There is evidently a lot more to come from this venue, and it’s a joy to have them here in Merton. For now, you can join their new Entertainment Thursdays online, and get in touch with Shernette and the team if you want to get involved further.
Interview by Genevieve Etienne-Farrell