Inner Wheel Club of Woodbridge

Whilst we may be fed up with the lockdown and joke about the vagaries of being constantly in the sole company of one’s partner, perhaps one forgets that there are many for whom such close and unrelenting confinement is threatening and dangerous.

At our February Zoom, we learned of the work, care and commitment of Lighthouse Women’s and Children’s Centre in Ipswich. Our speaker outlined the initial problems experienced in providing their service when the first lockdown was introduced and crisis calls to the centre dropped off.

The centre was aware that the lockdown provided ideal conditions for perpetrators of physical mistreatment and/or controlling behaviour. After considering the pertaining situation, most of the centre’s services and courses were put online and are now running successfully. Of course, in dangerous situations, arrangements are still put in place for women and children who have to flee their home environment. Inner Wheel members were reminded that children are victims in their own right and help and advice can be, and is, provided for them.

Lighthouse runs a series of courses for women covering themes such as anxiety, PTSD, depression, the differences between what is and what is not an abusive relationship and rebuilding lives after domestic abuse. The centre also runs a series of well-being workshops which have been very well received. Children have not been forgotten either as we were told that one in three children who have been a victim of abuse may go on to become a perpetrator. If schools have appropriate funding, Lighthouse can provide someone to talk about healthy relationships. More detailed information on the services provided by Lighthouse can be found on their website: www.lighthousewa.org.uk.

Members thanked Sharon Proctor for her initiative in devising the Christmas quiz which raised a good amount of money and enabled the club to donate £400 to Jan Whitaker’s chosen charity, SERV – Suffolk and Cambridgeshire (Bloodrunners). A further donation was made to Lighthouse and members had been happy to ratify the committee’s recent decision to donate £200 in support of the recent Farlingaye School Laptop Crisis Appeal to help children without home resource to online learning.

It was also agreed to make donations to Home-Start and Smile Train. Ten knitted blankets are now being stored until it is safe to transport them together with knitted Teddies and hats for the Seafarers Mission at Felixstowe. It was possible to deliver some knitted hats and blankets for premature babies at Ipswich Hospital but others are being held for the time being.

Inner Wheel will be 100 years old in 2024. The first Inner Wheel club was founded in Manchester in 1924 and clubs have since spread to 103 countries with over 100,000 members worldwide. Various discussions are now taking place about how the organisation can be relevant and accessible to all in the future. Currently, there is a proposal for an i-club (a permanent online club) that would enable those who can’t attend meetings in person to belong to our international women’s association.

You may be surprised to learn that International Inner Wheel (IIW) has three representatives at the United Nations in Geneva, New York and Vienna. IIW has three key objectives: to promote true friendship; to encourage the ideals of personal service; and, to foster international understanding. Any woman who shares the three central aims of IIW can join the organisation.

These objectives are the same for the Inner Wheel Club of Woodbridge and whilst our monthly meetings might not reach the heights of a UN meeting in Geneva, we can make a difference locally by being of service to our community.

If you would like to know more about Woodbridge Inner Wheel, please visit: woodbridgeinnerwheel.org.uk.

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