The Wokingham Paper

IN THE COMMUNITY: Charity crisis, local support and Inner Wheel

Inner Wheel Club of Reading Maiden Erlegh
The Inner Wheel Club of Reading Maiden Erlegh presented plants to Lakeside care home

Inner Wheel is one of the largest female voluntary organisations in the world with clubs in 102 countries.

It was founded in Manchester in the 1920s by a group of women who were married to members of Rotary. Initially membership was restricted to wives of Rotarians, but in 2012 we voted to make our organisation independent of previous membership rules so any like-minded woman can join us. Our motto is Friendship and Service.

As we are all aware the crises faced by our country as we return to ‘normal’ are numerous. Businesses are failing, unemployment is increasing and there is a significant downturn in support for charities at local, national and international level. Our support for charity fundraising and community support will resume as soon as we are able.

This year, our International Charity is ‘Women and Girls’ at www.womenandgirls.org.uk who are making available sanitary wear to ladies and girls in India. Just £5 can provide safe sanitary protection (antibacterial), for one year.

This is something most of us can take for granted but around 80% of ladies in India cannot. They often do not even have clean water to wash their garments in. 

The Inner Wheel District Charity is National Deaf Children’s Society. 

Our own club charities are SOBS, Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide, and also Macmillan Cancer Support. Our new president taking the chair in July will be raising money for JAC — Just Around the Corner in Wokingham, who provide emotional support using horses, small animals, horticulture, pottery and art.

They provide a first point of contact to young people living within the Berkshire area to raise the awareness of alcohol, drug, substance misuse and general well-being through their street youth work, challenging anti-social attitudes.

Volunteering within the local community and supporting the vulnerable during this anxious lockdown time has brought out the best in all of us and made us realise how fortunate we are. 

We have become telephone buddies through the LINK scheme in Wokingham, Berkshire Vision and the Reading Association for the Blind. Members have offered help to the Sonning Church Support Group.

We helped the NHS workers by baking cakes, sewing scrubs, scrub bags, theatre gowns and masks, and making up useful goody bags. 

The crafters amongst us made shawls and blankets for Chemobags and also delightfully cute knitted bunnies have been created to raise money for our ‘Women and Girls’ campaign.

 Inner Wheel Club of Reading Maiden Erlegh

More recently International Inner Wheel has set up a fund to provide relief to those affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and to support the production of a vaccine.

The Inner Wheel Club of Reading Maiden Erlegh visits Lakeside Residential Home each month to play games, chat and paint the nails of the residents.

Other members volunteer with ‘Talking Newspapers’ for the visually impaired and we also help with extra reading in schools.

The photographs above show Reading Maiden Erlegh presenting two planted tubs to the Lakeside Residential Home to give some cheer to the residents during this difficult spell.

Inner Wheel, like many others, is a shrinking organisation in this country as the lifestyle of our younger people has changed. The demands of jobs and families and altered priorities has meant that younger women don’t always feel they have the time for charity fundraising and volunteering. We hold monthly meetings with interesting speakers.  We organise activities and days out enjoying friendship and fun.

WE NEED YOU to join us, inspire us and we are always happy to welcome new members who feel they have something to give.

Our motto is Friendship and Service.  Our future needs community service and fundraising. 

For more, visit our Website: www.innerwheelrme.org and Email: iwcrme@gmail.com

TONI TRATHEN

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