Saturday, 26 September 2020

Inner Wheel Club of Reading Maiden Erlegh

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 Twenties 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”, making sanitary wear available to women 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 per of women in India cannot. They often do not even have clean water to wash their garments in.

For more information, visit www.womenandgirls.org.uk The Inner Wheel district charity is the National Deaf Children’s Society.

Our own club charities are Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide and Macmillan Cancer Support.

Our new president, who took the chair this month, will be raising money for Just Around the Corner in Wokingham, which provides emotional support using horses, small animals, horticulture, pottery and art.

It provides a first point of contact to young people in the Berkshire area to raise the awareness of alcohol, drug, substance misuse and general wellbeing through their street youth work, challenging antisocial 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 among us made shawls and blankets for chemobags and delightfully cute knitted bunnies have been created to raise money for our Women and Girls campaign.

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 in Reading 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.

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 mean 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 future needs community service and fundraising. For more information, please email iwcrme@gmail.com or visit www.innerwheelrme.org

Tonia Trathen

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