News Archive

Counselling Service for People from black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Communities

Published on 22nd June 2023
Author: EMC Admin

Free counselling service specifically tailored to African, Caribbean, and Asian groups in Merton

Counselling provides an opportunity to talk about your feelings and thoughts in a confidential space without judgement.

Sessions will be with a qualified Wimbledon Guild counsellor from a black, Asian or minority ethnic background who understands and recognises the impact of cultural differences in our life. This service is offered in partnership with the Ethnic Minority Centre in Merton.

This counselling service is for people who: are over 18, live, work, study or have a GP in Merton, are from a black, Asian or minority ethnic community, need help with mild to moderate mental health issues, and can attend sessions at the same day and time each week.


Sessions will take place at Vestry Hall in Mitcham or Wimbledon Guild in Wimbledon.

Contact us

For more information and to self-refer please contact us:

Tel.: 020 8296 0030

Wimbledon Guild LogoRegistered Charity No. 200424
Company No. 383330


Trustees and Committee Members Vacancies

Published on 2nd March 2023
Author: Raihana Ahmad, Chair EMC


The Ethnic Minority Centre (EMC) have vacancies for Trustees and Committee Members.

Mr. Tony Sandiford, the Chairman of the Ethnic Minority Centre, passed away on 14th December 2022. He provided a long and valuable service to EMC since 1989, and to a few other organisations in the London Borough of Merton. There is no one to replace his position – he was a veteran community worker, but life goes on. In order to show our deep respect and to continue with his legacy, we at EMC are determined to continue with the service.

We have activities for children, teenage, adult and elderly covering Maths, English language, basic computer, yoga, swimming, cycling, outings/visits, and cultural functions are just a few to mention.

We work closely with London Borough of Merton, local NHS, schools, libraries and a few organisations based in Merton.

Volunteering can be an enjoyable and fulfilling pursuit if you can dedicate a few hours every day. The key point is dedication and determination in order to achieve your goal – that is “giving back something to the community” and allocating a few hours every day or from time to time as needed. We are a small close-knit community and dedicated to help one another as we move on with the passage of time.


  • Experience in team working and striving for a common goal.
  • Evidence of communication skills and managing people conflicts.
  • Trustees must fulfil their duties and responsibilities for effective governance of EMC.
  • Ensure EMC operates within its charitable objectives and support EMC’s strategic direction.
  • Managing risks and opportunities.
  • Managing of financial records as necessary.
  • Fluent in both verbal and written English.


  • Interest in community work.
  • Awareness of our community’s diverse religion, language, literacy, and nationalities.
  • Knowledge of other languages that caters to our community.

If you are interested please visit  – National Council for Voluntary Organisations for more information and requirements that are essential to be a Committee member e.g. required qualification, duties, obligations and an opportunity for your self-development.

Please visit our website for more information or contact us on 07865216046 or by email to



Welcome to the December 2022 Special edition of the EMC’s newsletter

Published on 21st December 2022

The EMC has been active in the London Borough of Merton since 1989 and its aims and objectives have always been “to bring the communities together, build community cohesion and improve the quality of lives of the BAME communities living and working within the London Borough of Merton”.

In Loving Memory

Tony Sandiford

  Chair- Mr Anthony Sandiford

This is a special edition of our newsletter to honour the memory of our Chairman Mr Tony Sandiford who sadly passed away on 14th December 2022. We are all saddened by the loss of a formidable, seasoned, and experienced chair EMC has ever had.

Tony Sandiford was elected as Chair of the EMC in 2014 but his association with the EMC goes back to 1990. He became a management committee member then acted as vice-chair. He was also the Chair of WIFFA (the West Indian Friends and Families Association), a wonderful organisation started in 1985 in which he was a founding member. Their aims are to serve, help and support the diverse cultures of Caribbean people living in our communities.

Also, he was management Committee member of MCT (Merton Community Transport).

The Ethnic Minority Centre was blessed to have such a good man, friend, leader, and colleague as their chairperson. His knowledge, advice, dedication, skills were invaluable, and he will be sorely missed.

The EMC’s Management committee, Trustees, Staff, and volunteers send their sincere condolences to his wife and family, and we will remember him in our prayers.

May his Soul Rest in Peace.


Postponement of Activities and EMC changes

As a mark of respect, all current EMC activities will be postponed till the end of 2022. Activities will resume from January 2023. Further information will be emailed to members in due course.

In the meantime, Mrs Raihana Ahmad will be the acting Chairperson for EMC.


EMC Art Exhibition – 27th February 2021

Published on 9th September 2021

The day was sunny,  atmosphere was good, gathering was vibrant. It started with admittance of competitors, audience, chief guest and judges ;  51 attendees in all.

We started the program at about 3pm. There were nine contestants. Each demonstrated their artifacts in front of the judges and audience one by one. Each were given 10 minutes to explain their art. Once all demonstrations completed, Two judges (Cllr Marsie Skeet & Snehendu Dey) along with Sabitri Ray (EMC Project Director) and Bec Yousef (Master of Ceremony) jointly examined all facts. They also took the score from the audience. The marks from the judges and score from the audience made the final result of the competition.

                            1st Prize – to Miss Elizabeth Wong (16 yrs.)  for her art painted on vinyl records

1st prize art competition 2021 1st prize art competition 2021

2nd Prize – to Miss Smitakshi Roy (9 yrs.)    for her Button Art

2nd prize art competition 2021


3rd Prize –   to Mr Arthur Lashley (60 +) for his Watercolour Art

3rd prize art competition 2021

4th Prize – to Mrs Lita Ali ( 50+) for her imaginary Art

4th prize art competition 2021


The beauty of this project and gathering was not only a break from the Covid-19 monotony but also the example of innovation, creation, interaction, invention, and imagination. Lockdown has given us the opportunity to know ourselves.

The result of this competition has given motivation to the audience to create something during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Thank you to EMC for  presenting such a good project and wishing for more activities to come.



Tony Sandiford receives Maundy Purses from the Queen

Published on 23rd June 2021
Maundy Purses

Chairperson of West Indian Families and Friends Association and the Ethnic Minority Centre Mitcham, Tony Sandiford had been named as one of the 95 men and 95 women nominated from the 4 nations to receive the Royal Maundy Gifts from HM Queen Elizabeth II this year.

Tony Sandiford

Tony Sandiford, Chairman of EMC

Every year the Monarchy in a Maundy service distributes these special gifts to persons who have been nominated by their local Diocese for their voluntary contribution to the Church and Community. The service commemorates the washing of the feet of the Apostles at the last supper, a practice which goes back many centuries and reminds us of the example Jesus set showing us that service to others is at the heart of what it means to be a Christian.

Every year the recipients receive personally from the Queen one red and one white purse. The red purse this year contains the traditional sum of £5.50. In the past this was for clothing and provisions formerly given in kind and payment for the redemptions of the Sovereigns gown. This year the £5.00 coin commemorates Her Majesty’s 95th Birthday and the 50p the Anniversary of a Decimal Day in 1971. The white purse contains freshly minted Maundy coins: silver pennies, two pennies, three pennies and four pennies totalling 95 pence corresponding to the Sovereign’s age.

There was no service held this year because of COVID 19 however the gifts were blessed at the Royal Chapel St James’s Palace and sent out by post with an accompanying personal letter of recognition and thanks from Her Majesty the Queen.

The service ceremony year was due to be held on Maundy Thursday at Westminster Abbey on 1st April.



Recognition Awards from the Mayor of Merton

Published on 20th June 2021
Mayor presents Recognition Award to Sabitri

We are proud to have been presented two recognition awards by the Mayor of Merton, Cllr Sally Kenny, to both EMC and Sabitri Ray, project director for the Health Well-Being, Educational, Art and Music, Yoga projects. The variety of classes provided by EMC and organised by Sabitri Ray have been a life saver during the lockdown and social restrictions period due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The classes prevented members from spiralling into depression and isolation and instead gave them hope, companionship and interacting with others on online via Zoom. The classes have been a lifeline for members reducing visits to the Doctor, resulting in a feel good and energised body.

We were very proud when Cllr Sally Kenny recognised the invaluable hard work that our Project Director, Sabitri Ray, has put into the success of these projects and presented Sabitri with a certificate, and also one to Ethnic Minority Centre.

Recognition Certificates

On behalf of   EMC, we would like to take this opportunity to thank our funders for their continued support and understanding as we adapt our teaching methods and activities to online classes.

I cannot thank enough the EMC Project Director, Sabitri Ray, and our Trustees/Volunteers for their loyalty to EMC’s work.

We will continue to do whatever it can to support our communities and pray that 2021 will herald a brighter future for us all.

Sabitri & others holding certificatesMayor, Sabitri & other - recognition certificates divider

International Women’s Day

Women's Day 2021
Published on 30th March 2021

International Women’s Day is celebrated annually on the 8th March. It is a day when people around the world come together to recognise the achievements that women and girls have made, as well as call for further action to close the gender gap in terms of education, health, economics and politics.

Women stand at the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis, as health care workers, caregivers, innovators, community organizers. The crisis has highlighted both the centrality of their contributions and the disproportionate burdens that women carry.

IWD is celebrated globally in many ways and I would like to invite you on behalf of the Chair Mr Tony Sandiford of The Ethnic Minority Centre Merton to join in this celebration online via “zoom” on Saturday 20th March 2021 from 3.00pm to 5.00pm and say few words.

The Mayor of Merton Cllr Sally Kenny, few local Councilors, other dignitaries was invited to join celebration followed by guest speakers and entertainment.

Women's Day Poster

Everyone enjoyed the lovely music, the inspirational stories, poetry and the activities.

Inspirational speech from gusts speakers gave others confidence to speak.

On behalf of the Ethnic Minority Centre (EMC), I sincerely thank everyone for their presence and support on this occasion which made it even more attractive and successful for all those who attended. A

The programme was well attended and appreciated by all present.


Project Mental and Physical Fitness 2021

Published on 29th Jan 2021

EMC’s New Project Mental and Physical Fitness 2021 consist of reducing health inequalities talk and yoga, Zumba, art and dance for Developing Well-being.

This project started on Tuesday 15th January and will finish by 30th June 2021.

EMC were pleased to receive funding confirmation from Richard Horsnell, Grant Officer, from The London Community Foundation Wave-4 Navigating Crisis.

Due to Covid-19 pandemic, sessions are held online zoom every Tuesdays  and Saturdays from 12.00 to 2.00pm, for all ages, for BAME Communities. EMC proudly announce that EMC’s online services are so successful and going on well. Attendees numbers are growing bigger. About 40 to 45 people attend every session.

EMC Project Director Sabitri Ray always in contact with the funders and they have been very  supportive & helpful.

I would like to extend my sincere thanks to Richard for offering this grant to enable us to continue this very important project. Also EMC’s  IT support who made this online services possible.

Funded by : The London Community Foundation Wasve-4 navigating Crises.

EMC Logo London Community Foundation divider

COVID-19 Pandemic and EMC services

Published on 9th Dec 2020

In these unprecedented times, we would like to take this opportunity to reassure our members, friends, clients that we will continue to take all necessary measures to ensure that we can provide continuity of service to you during the COVID-19 outbreak. It is more important to us than ever at this challenging time that we continue working alongside you to improve lives, communities, and society.

We are still working to support you during COVID-19 but we have had to change the way our services and activities are delivered online (Zoom).

Our office is temporarily closed but you can contact a member of staff by email.

If you wish to contact me, please use  to let us know how you are coping and if you have any queries. It is also the quickest way to contact me as I am working from home.


Welcome to July-August 2020 Newsletter


Published on 13th Sept 2020

The EMC has been active in the London Borough of Merton since 1989 and its aims and objectives have always been “to bring the communities together, build community cohesion and improve the quality of lives of the BAME communities living and working within the London Borough of Merton”.

Message from Sabitri Ray Project Director

I am happy to let you know although lock down is easing the EMC staff/volunteers are very active,  we are still working from home and now able to start some online services, abiding by the new Covid virus health & safety measures.

We also work with MVSC, NHS, CCG, OneYou Merton, GP Surgery, Dementia Hub Merton, Age UK, Wimbledon Guild and try to support community organisations. We have recommended EMC’s 3 best volunteers to BAME Voice Chairperson Hannah Neal for interviewing community members for their Covid -19 project.

I have started a zoom service to update and continue all EMC’s projects. I do sincerely hope that you all will be able to join us in this valuable Zoom service.

As I mentioned in our last newsletter, we secured some funding for Swimming lessons at The Canons which was postponed. Now that the Canons swimming Pool is open with their restrictions for groups, means we cannot hold the swimming lessons for this year. I have discussed with our project funders (Get Set, Get Active) and with their full support, we will replace the swimming project with online “free” yoga sessions from Thursday 17th September at 11.30am to 12.30pm for 15 weeks. If you are interested, please register with me (email to avoid disappointment. Once registered I will send you a link.

Maths Good News

EMC’s Maths  projects were postponed in March many people were  disappointed , but I am pleased to announce  that we have developed a new  free  project called The  5 days Family Maths Challenge with our partners ~Roots to Grow~ funded by Clarion Futures Catch Up Fund. This course is a series of online, fun, mini-math challenges. In which all family members can take part.

We thankfully acknowledge Tutor Rita Ball for her hard work in setting up EMC’s Maths projects.

EMC’s online Creative maths for beginners and intermediates courses are now running very successfully on  every Wednesday from 4.15 pm to 5.15 pm and 5.30 pm to 6.30pm.

EMC’s 50 plus online maths course is due to start soon.  This project is funded by Clarion Future Community Fund. Please email me to register if you are interested.

EMC’s “Maths to help you live your life” for people with dementia, their families and carers is due to start soon funded by The London Community foundation.

I would like to extend my sincere thanks to all our funders, tutors, volunteers, and IT engineer Ming Wong.

We have received second round funding from Merton Giving to purchase laptop, tablet, mobile broadband, etc and update EMC’s Tech equipment so that our clients, members and volunteers can use and learn


Once again if you would like to join any of these classes please email to register ASAP. If you wish to contact me please use  to register or just to let us know how you are coping in this present situation.

Lockdown experience from Raihana Ahmed – Her Days in Isolation

The coronavirus lockdown was imposed on March 23rd. All the outreach activities of the Ethnic Minority Centre (EMC) – yoga, Maths, knitting, exercise, meditation, and sessions on health and wellbeing were postponed all of a sudden. Everything has changed since that day – lockdown, isolation, maintaining social distance, using hand sanitiser, face coverings, and restrictions on movement and mass gatherings have tremendously changed our everyday life. We had to learn, manage and adjust with these changes overnight, which was not easy; cutting yourself off from the outside world, even from family members!

We have learnt how to adapt with the circumstances in the greater interest of the people and the nation. We are learning how to accept, manage, cope with and control this unknown and strange enemy called coronavirus. We cannot see it, touch it, feel it but it is present around us, waiting like a hunting beast to attack us. The lockdown has taught us how to live a new way of life; living in confinement within four walls has given us time to reflect, time to self-assess and to realise how valuable this life is. At the same time, this pandemic put us in a position to challenge the present and accept the future. A human being is the highest creation of the Almighty Creator, and I believe together we will stand the test of time. To achieve this we have to be positive, help each other, learn from one another and have faith in the goodness of mankind.

Although I am missing the physical presence of and contact with my family members, especially my grandchildren, I decided to enjoy myself and make the best use of my time. Seeing them on Zoom is okay, but cannot replace their physical presence, their laughter, warmth and hugs. In spite of this, it seems to me as if after so many years I have finally got some time for myself; I often reminisce about the past and cherish the best things that happened in my life, for which I am grateful to the Almighty Creator. I have a set routine for every day – for prayer, exercising, gardening, cleaning, reading, and watching TV (both for entertainment and to be up to date with the latest information). Whenever I am stuck with any problem while using my computer or smartphone, I call my children or grandchildren to help me out or to learn a different way of doing things, especially while working online. There is no age for learning – interacting with young people who have clarity of mind is keeping me active, alert and connected with the present.

There is a saying: ‘every cloud has a silver lining’. We can see the positive impact of coronavirus: due to lockdown there are fewer cars and buses on the streets, and people are no longer flying as much, which has led to a decrease in air pollution and has reduced our carbon footprint. People have learnt to be economical in spending, are thinking about others who are suffering, and have realised the importance of maintaining a balance in life between work and play (while also having time to relax, rest and exercise). We have learnt to be content with small things, have realised the benefits of meditation and of caring for nature, and have become grateful for this life.

The staff at the NHS (National Health Service established in 1948), irrespective of grade or position, have been working relentlessly since March to serve their patients. Florence Nightingale’s (May 12, 1820 – Aug. 13, 1910) vision: everyone who is in need should be given equal medical care and treatment. A reminder for all in every walk of life. Captain Tom Moore has inspired the nation by raising over £30 million at the age of his 100th birthday.

We at the EMC preach and practice treating people equally, giving importance and respect to everyone, and becoming rich and resourceful in learning from one another. I am praying for the best outcome from this pandemic. My heartfelt condolences and prayers for those who lost their lives and suffered due to coronavirus – may God rest their souls in peace.

I wish to conclude with the words of Florence Nightingale (‘the Lady with the Lamp’) – “Live life when you have it. Life is a splendid gift – there is nothing small about it.”

Raihana Ahmad

Important Message from our chair Mr A. Sandiford

Let me continue in wishing you and your family good health and safety during these prolonged periods of uncertainty. To those who have lost love ones, my deepest and sincerest condolences go out to you. May their souls continue to rest in peace and their memories linger on.

I encourage you to examine life in a more optimistic manner and be our brother’s keeper, looking out for one another.

We hope that in time the EMC will be back to the New normal from which the ethnic minorities of Merton can benefit. Be alert, keep safe and adhere to the protocols put in place. Keep your distance and wear your mask where necessary.

God bless.
Tony Sandiford – Chair
The Ethnic Minority Centre


Culture Seeds Runner Up Award 2019 Presented by Sadiq Khan Mayor of London

Published on 14th June 2019EMC at City Hall
EMC at City Hall


Sabitri & Pat with Sadiq Khan
Sabitri & Pat with Sadiq Khan


Certificate of Outstanding Volunteering Contribution  To Susan Ball Merton Partnership

Published on 14th June 2019Sue Ball
Susan Ball

This certificate is awarded with sincere gratitude for her outstanding contribution as long term volunteer and commitment and dedication to the Ethnic Minority Centre by the Merton Partnership.


Certificate of Outstanding Volunteering Contribution  To Vijayaluxumy Nadajan Merton Partnership

Published on 14th June 2019Vijayaluxumy Nadajan
Vijayaluxumy Nadajan

This certificate is awarded with sincere gratitude for her outstanding contribution as long term volunteer and commitment and dedication to the Ethnic Minority Centre by the Merton Partnership.


EMC Supported Volunteer to Find Employment

Published on 29th March 2019Meena

Meena our volunteer has now found full time employment. She has been a volunteer with us over 10 years. All that time she looked after her sick husband. Sadly he died last year and it was necessary for her to find employment which is not easy these days.  She had been attending our Maths lessons for age 50+ and had gained the confidence she needed to apply for a job in a chemists in Colliers Wood. We miss her a lot but we are so proud of her achievement.

Please visit link to an article published in the Wimbledon Guardian news


Recognition for Support in Promoting Healthier Life Style

Published on 20th Februrary 2019Recognition in Promoting Healthier Life Styles

Received the certificate in Recognition for Support in Promoting Healthier Life Styles across Merton as a Community Health Champion. Presented by Cllr Mary Curtain Mayor of Merton


BEST Award Ceremony

Published on October 2018
BEST Award Ceremony

The EMC was proud to receive and award from BEST(Business & education Succeeding together) at a ceremony in Oct 2018.

The event was to celebrate how School students and employers from around the borough have been marking 25 years of successful work experience placements in Wandsworth – which has seen around 25,000 young people getting their first taste of the world of work.

This year’s event was hosted by Ernest Bevin College and was attended by students from Ernest Bevin College, Graveney Academy, Burntwood Academy, Chestnut Grove Academy, and Nightingale Community Academy.The EMC and a large number of employers who have provided work experience were  the ceremony.

BEST (Business and Education Succeeding Together) is the council’s education and business partnership and works with about 700 employers to give Wandsworth’s young people access to around a thousand work experience placements a year. The awards celebrate the most motivated students and committed employers.

Sabitri Ray Project Director & Meena Siddiqui Volunteer represented the EMC at the ceremony.

Health is Wealth 2019 – The Wimbledon Foundation “Get Set get Active” Free Yoga Sessions

Published on 2nd May 2019Yoga Leaflet

Ephemeral Arts Exhibition

Ephemeral Art Exhibition


Traditional Dance Lessons

Traditional Dance Lessons

EMC celebrates funding boost to encourage ethnic minority communities to be healthy

Merton’s Ethnic Minority Centre (EMC) has secured the funding it needs to start its Healthier Lives 4U project, and celebrated with a launch party.

Launch Party
The EMC is a voluntary service providing health advice, information, and support to ethnic minority communities in Merton, writes Henry Jones.

Information Desk
Female Speaker
Directed at families, the slogan “for you and your family” is part of a campaign to get communities to fully take responsibility for living more healthy lives.

Much-needed funding for the project was secured from the Merton NHS Clinical Commissioning Group’s charitable funds.

Sabitri Ray, project officer at the Ethnic Minority Centre based in Vestry Hall, said she was delighted with the funding.

Not only will the money cover the project it will also allow the EMC to continue to provide voluntary support for black and ethnic minorities throughout the borough.

As well as supporting ethnic health concerns, the centre also specialises in providing support for victims of domestic violence, giving housing and immigration advice, and translation services in Hindi, Gujarati, Bengali and Punjabi.

Starting on Friday, February 26, Healthier Lives 4U will be a free bi-weekly meeting which will include educational talks by local health providers, followed by an hour of light exercise classes including yoga or zumba.

Meetings will take place every other Friday at Mitcham library and begin at 10.30am.
For more information contact Mrs Ray on 020 8648 0084 or via Contact Us page.

Volunteers & Mayor of Merton

EMC Volunteers are with Cllr David Chung Mayor of Merton (from left Lorato, Shathya,Meena,uzma, Thelma, Elvina, Charles, Gene, Durai and Sue).


Date: Monday 22nd February 2016

Time 3:30PM – 5:30PM

Venue: Vestry Hall, 336 London Rd, Mitcham

On behalf of the Chairman and Trustees of The Ethnic Minority Centre, I would like to invite you to attend the launch of our Healthier Lives 4U Project 2016.

Funded by Sutton & Merton CCG’s Charitable Funds

Guest speakers will talk on Health related topics, Health providers will be there to display their literature and talk to the public, followed by light refreshments.

If you would like to attend, please confirm by calling 020 8648 0084 or via our Contact Us page.


Feeling Good Group For Young Mums 2016

Starting from Janurary 2016.

Empowering & educating Young Mums, free Crèche facilities (must be booked in advance). Health discussions and fitness activities.

Bi weekly Group (Thursdays) 12.30 -2.30pm at St Marks Family Centre.

For further information or to book a crèche place please ring Sabitri on 020 8648 0084


Mayor of Merton Charitable Fund 2015

EMC held Ballroom/ Latin/Kathak dance classes for BAME Communities in Pollards Hill Library, encouraging Community Cohesion/keep fit & promoting healthy life styles.