A Brief History

The Committee celebrates 76 years of service to ‘Senior Citizens’.

Since 1947 activities and functions have evolved as needs and circumstances have changed but CKSCWC continues to play a valuable role in the life of the village.  The Committee’s current focus is to endeavour to reduce social isolation and assist in improving well-being with the overall goal of helping Seniors remain active, able to enjoy and have an improved quality of life, in their own home.

The story began with a meeting in December of 1947 between Miss Merry, County Secretary of what was then called ‘The Old People’s Welfare Movement’ (founded 1940) and a group of local ladies, clergy and Mr Gilbert Ward to discuss the setting up/organisation of a club for the over-sixties in the village.  This was enthusiastically agreed and the local clergy and organisations such as the Salvation Army, Mothers Union, Women’s Own, Co-operative Women’s Guild, Brotherhood, Sisterhood, Girls’ Friendly Society and also the District Nursing and Health Visitor, were invited to join.  Later the Committee was expanded to include representatives of the WVS, Women’s Catholic Guild, Townswomen’s Guild and the Labour Party (it was later decided, in 1963, not to have political representation) and the superintendents of East Court and Grevill House homes for the elderly.

To raise awareness in the formation of a club for the elderly, invitations to a party were issued in February 1948.  Around 320 people attended, where they were entertained by a conjurer, the Salvation Army Troupe of Dancers, the Stonehouse Old People’s Choir and community singing.  This being in the period of rationing Committee Members were asked to give up their sweet rations as well as provide other foodstuffs for the occasion.  The founding of The Happy Circle followed and 1949 had 190 members (there was a breakaway in 1950 when a Six-Ways Club was set up which lasted until 1952.  Forty members, subsidized by the Committee, went on a holiday to Paignton, the first of many such holidays across the country.  Happy Circle was running a successful Thrift Club in the early sixties and was able to sell certain foodstuffs at greatly reduced prices.

For many years, the Committee’s activities were many and varied.  It became both a forum for discussing matters relating to the welfare of the elderly, and a focus for providing direct help to them.

A priority of the Committee throughout its history has been concern for the housebound and lonely.  In 1952 for example, cards were issued for the elderly to put in their windows if they needed help urgently.  In the same year, and at various times in later years, with the help of clergy and health visitors, a list of all the elderly in the village known to be living alone was drawn up, to seek to ensure that people in most need were visited, by Committee Members or ‘professionals’ (including the Gas Board so that its staff could make free 6 monthly checks of appliances).  At one time there were 7 area teams of visitors, and local schools were sometimes active in helping as part of their social work programmes.

A surprisingly major aspect of the Committees work for nearly 30 years related to the provision of chiropody to the elderly.  The local Medical Officer of Health originally arranged for a chiropodist to visit Charlton Kings for one half-day per week.  Grants were made to help furnish a room and pay for the travelling costs of staff.  By 1981, the local clinic had 420 patients, the largest in the county, with 9 receptionists and 4 drivers – all volunteers.  In that year the service became part of the NHS, with a paid organiser and provision was moved to the Delancey Hospital.

From 1957 the Charlton Kings Committee paid the Cheltenham Committee to provide Meals on Wheels to local residents (subsequent grants for this purpose were available from local authorities).  Numbers at first were very small and so Cheltenham quickly decided not to continue coming to the village.  It had not reckoned with the fact that all but one of its drivers came from Charlton Kings, who rebelled against the decision.  So, having had a pistol put to their heads the Cheltenham Committee even more quickly changed its mind!

The desirability of opening a lunch club was first mooted in 1974 when it was made clear that the Meals on Wheels service could not expand to meet the growing need for them.  Three years later, a lunch club was opened on Baptist Church premises on Thursdays, which continues to this day.  At first meals came in from Cheltenham but complaints about their quality led to them being provided on site from 1984.  At various times the Committee has provided money as well as personnel to help this work.  In 1977, a halfday centre was opened for the housebound at the Baptist Church and this continued for 23 years when unfortunately it had to close because of a shortage of volunteers.

Still on the subject of food, in 1987, the Committee was responsible for distributing approx. 75 tons of EEC cheese/butter to Old People’s Homes and clubs as well as to individual pensioners in the village.

The Committee ran a Christmas voucher scheme for hard-up pensioners and distributed heating allowances.  These were largely, eventually overtaken by Government initiatives.  For a period around 1980 the Committee bought a fairly substantial amount of equipment (wheelchairs, armchairs and zimmer frames) to be lent to the elderly, or given for use in local clubs.  At different times the Committee discussed and successfully followed up such matters as road safety, the provision of bus services and reduced fares for pensioners.  In sheltered housing schemes in the village the lack of wardens, cleaning, telephones and washing machines, even the effects of decomposing rats and drunken residents came to the Committee for its consideration! Also an initiative to offer a free service relating to home security and personal safety was on offer.

The purchase of a minibus was first suggested in 1981, and, with the help of a grant from the Coopers Trust, a second-hand vehicle came into use in 1982.  In 1984 it was carrying passengers to the Tuesday and Thursday lunch clubs, the Happy Circle and Sixways Clubs – and to the swimming baths.  Later transport was also provided to the Library Club and to the Harper Clinic, which ran from 1992-2006.  Fortnightly shopping trips to supermarkets began in 1995, the year the Committee gained charitable status.  The current minibus was bought in 2014.

In the early years money was raised largely through jumble sales, whist drives, donations and a biennial house-to-house collection.  Later, the Committee received a few generous grants made by several organisations such as Coopers Charity and The Charlton Kings Relief in Need Committee which kept the charity afloat.  The Borough Council once subsidized the fares paid by minibus users, and we now receive a small annual grant and one from Macfarlane Walker charitable trust.

Donations play a valuable part in the Committee’s fundraising today.  There are no paid employees.  Approximately 30 volunteers run the service (more would be welcome – we’re always pleased to hear from anyone who can offer help and/or would like to know more about what we do).  Hopefully the Committee will be able to continue its work for many years to come.

If you would like to find out more about volunteering with us and have an hour or two to spare please get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.

CKSCWC

Tel: 07596 512089                  chairman@ckscwc.org.uk       secretary@ckscwc.org.uk         admin@ckscwc.org.uk

CHAIRMAN of the COMMITTEE

1947 – 1949                                              CR Mrs MH Canell

1949 – 50, 1954  -55 and 1958 – 62             C R Huckfield

1950 – 1954                                              Gilbert Ward

1955 – 1958                                              Lt Col Eagar

1962 – 1965                                              Rev R Deakin

1965 – 1977                                              Cyril R Taylor

1977 – 1981                                              GLJ Weaver

1981 – 1988                                              Vic Stanton

1988 – 2000                                             John Ray

2000 – 2007                                              Douglas Masling

2007 – 2019                                             Martyn Fry

2019 –                                                     Sandra Henley