Merton is being spiced up by the Continent as growing numbers of Europeans move to the borough.

EU national numbers on the electoral register gradually fell between 2008 and 2012, but more than 5,000 new Europeans have been recorded on this year's books.

So reporter Louisa Clarence-Smith went on to the streets of Wimbledon and Colliers Wood to meet them...

Wimbledon Guardian:

Federico Bertero, 30, an Italian marketing manager who moved to Wimbledon in 2010, said: "I'm under the impression that more educated people can decide to stay in Italy without a job or stay in England for a short period to know the language and the people and come back to Italy with new skills."

Mr Bertero, who started a Facebook page for Italians in Wimbledon after noticing the growing numbers in town last summer, believes the fashion for young Italians to migrate to London has been accelerated by social media.

"People see photos of their friends having an adventure in London and then come here too," he said.

Wimbledon Guardian:

Raffaella Colombero, 24, moved to Wimbledon Village from Turin, Italy, six months ago to work as an engineer.

She said: "I moved here because it's more difficult to find a job in Italy and last year I did an exchange at Imperial College."

Miss Colombero said she chose to live in the Village because it reminds her of home, she lives with a friend and it's half way between her workplace and central London.

Wimbledon Guardian:

Also new in town is Manuel Garzon, who moved to South Wimbledon from Madrid, Spain with his wife in 2012 after being posted to London by the Spanish embassy.

Mr Garzon said: "We know the area and we like it a lot. There's a little bad weather but it's not too bad."

Wimbledon Guardian:

Ivan Krycfalusij, 32, a pizza chef at Corleone, Colliers Wood, came to the UK five years ago in search of better work and a new experience.

He said: "I was 27 when I moved to London. I wanted some change. I don't know if I will stay but if I go I will go back to Czech Republic."
 

Wimbledon Guardian:

Serena Viola, 26, moved to South Wimbledon from Turin, Italy six months ago to work in a tailoring shop and study for an English language qualification.

She already has a fashion design degree from an Italian university but wants to continue her studies at a London fashion college.

She said: "I found it hard to find work in Italy and I have friends in London."


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