The founder members of Merton CSA play for Merton Hockey Club, which was itself founded in 1893 and has had many homes in and around Merton. In recent years, the club has grown significantly with the establishment of a junior section. We currently share a clubhouse with Merton Cricket Club at John Innes Rec.
However, finding pitches to practise and play on has become increasingly difficult. Since 2000, the club has moved from North Cheam (converted to a ‘Goals’ football centre) to Tooting & Mitcham FC (pitch again converted to a football-only surface) to Harris Academy Morden (pitch no longer available for hire) and is now forced to travel and play matches in Ewell.
Having worked with Quick Start Hockey since 2018 to deliver outreach sessions to over 1500 school children in Merton, we now find it very difficult to find facilities that are in a useable condition or affordable. School facilities usually involve several intermediaries which pushes up prices and schools are under no obligation to make facilities available as there are no community use agreements in place in the borough.
Merton is set to see around 1000 new homes (mainly flats) being built each year over the next 15 years. The population will increase by up to 20%, bringing a need for new facilities for local people to exercise and play sport.
In the east of the borough, over 2000 new homes are planned as part of the redevelopment of Morden town centre, in addition to redevelopment of the Ravensbury and High Path Estates.
Parts of Merton continue to suffer from poor health outcomes, in particular in the more deprived east. Life expectancy is getting worse and people are becoming less active. There is an increased need to provide opportunities for participation in sport and exercise in order to improve people’s health and well-being.
The need for new pitches
In 2019, Merton Council published its Playing Pitch Strategy, which highlights the lack of pitches in the borough for a range sports. Specifically, it recommends one new hockey surface to cater for growing demand, as well as a need for floodlit tennis and netball facilities. It also highlights the need for additional football pitches in the borough, with three new sites identified in the north and west.
The number of people (especially girls) playing hockey has increased in recent years, following the London Olympics and the GB Women’s gold medal success at the Rio Olympics. Locally, Wimbledon Hockey Club is one of the country’s leading clubs and the demand for pitches has increased as it has grown alongside other local clubs and a successful schools outreach programme in the borough.
Advances in Artificial Grass Pitches (AGP) mean that multi-sport surfaces are now available that can cater for a range of sports including football, tennis, netball and hockey. These surfaces differ from 3G crumb-based surfaces that can only be used for football. AGPs can be used all year, in all weathers and do not have the drainage and maintenance issues experienced by grass pitches which leads to cancellations in the winter months. The addition of floodlighting can also further extend the playing day and allow increased use.
Merton Community Sports Association
Merton CSA was set up in 2020 as a not-for-profit Community Benefit Society, a form of co-operative owned and run by its members in an open and democratic way. Local people and sports clubs that share the aims of Merton CSA can become members by completing and application here and buying a membership share for £1. They are also able to invest directly in community sports facilities in Merton through community share issues. The society holds general meetings at least once a year where a Board is elected to implement its strategy, with every member having one vote. The current Board members are listed below and more information on membership, the Rules of the Association and our Registration Certificate are available here.
- Chair: Andrew Holmes
- Secretary: Chris Walker
- Treasurer: Richard De Quintal
- Marketing & Communications: Chris Scattergood
- Hockey Club Liaison: Hannah Easton