Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Women’s club struggles as costs rise and membership dwindles

WARGRAVE Women’s Club will no longer meet every month due to a decline in visitors and the ageing membership.

Chairman Julia Freeman said the organisation was also struggling to keep up with rising costs.

The club, which formed in the Sixties, was meeting at the Hannen Room on the third Tuesday of every month at 8pm but the number of members has fallen from 30 to 16.

Mrs Freeman, 72, said: “To be honest, I don’t think there is much of a future for the club because we can’t get younger members involved. They want to go to the gym in the evening or relax after being at work all day.

“If you can’t enroll young people then where can you go? There is no future in it. There are plenty of other things going on in the village.”

Mrs Freeman, a retired nurse who lives in High Street, says the group will now organise a few events during the year to give the members something to look forward to. It will continue to hold its Christmas party at Hennerton Golf Club in December and the committee also wants to organise more theatre outings, as these have been popular.

Mrs Freeman, who has been chairman for about 10 years, added: “The numbers have steadily declined in that time. We have 16 members so it relies on everyone attending every event.

“The cost of funding guest speakers is also difficult. We can’t get a speaker for less than £60 these days and the cost of hiring the room is about £100 per meeting.

“We were always having trouble finding speakers because the groups tend to share names and then people will say they have recently seen that person at a different event.”

She feels the club provides an important social outlet for the elderly people of Wargrave and hopes members will continue to look out for one another. Mrs Freeman said: “A lot of our members are well over 80 and a lot of them are long-standing but older people as a rule don’t want to go out in the evenings, especially when it is dark.

“The thing that I am most keen to do is keep in contact with the older members because for them it was really an important social opportunity and a means of getting out of the house.

“There is a certain degree of welfare in looking after our members’ wellbeing and if someone doesn’t come to a meeting we are straight on it and checking if everything was okay. All our members are in the village and we do have to keep an eye on them.

“I would like to say a huge thank-you to everyone who has continued to support us. I have been a member for 20 years but some people have been around much longer than me.”

For more information about the club, call Mrs Freeman on 0118 940 3221.

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