A year of real pleasure, and a great boon to the men

The hospitality offered at Broad Street Church to the wounded and soliders in training continued.

SOLDIERS’ WELFARE

A meeting of the Soldiers’ Welfare Committee was held in the Institute Room on Monday, October 21st, when a large number of the workers attended. The President (Rev. W. M. Rawlinson) occupied the chair, and in a short speech expressed his feeling of profound indebtedness to all the helpers for their loyal and devoted service throughout the year just ended. He made special reference to the untiring and self-denying labours of the Hon. Secretary (Mr W A Woolley), and his remarks in this connection were cordially endorsed by all present.

The secretary read his report of work done, and the Hon. Treasurer (Mr W J Brain) submitted a financial statement which showed that after paying the ordinary expenses, there was a balance in hand to meet certain other outstanding liabilities. The report and financial statement were both adopted, and attention was then given to a number of suggestions for the better working of our Khaki Club.

We give below a few extracts from the secretary’s report:

“We opened the rooms on October 15th, 1917, and they have been open every day since, except on three occasions: Good Friday, Easter Monday and the day of the Garden Sale. Very few of us thought, when we opened, that we should keep open so long; but the need has been great, and as far as I can see, it will be a long time yet before we can think of closing it down. The large numbers of men and women using the rooms prove, without doubt, that they appreciate being able to come in every day.

Our first week’s takings amounted to £13.13s, and gradually the figures increased until we reached the very satisfactory sum of £41.12.2d. That was one week in January last. Then in February the new regulations were put into force by the Military, and our takings went down immediately to £18, and for one week in May we only took £8.11s.10d.

This went on until August. Since then we have been allowing the men to buy a little more food, and we are now taking £23 to £25 per week.

The wounded especially attend in large numbers during the afternoons, and steps must be now be taken to increase the number of helpers during that time. There is always plenty of work for 4 or 5 helpers every afternoon.

It will interest you to know that we have bought and distributed free, no less than 17,000 envelopes and 14,000 sheets of paper. This has cost us £14.10s. We have also sold over the counter postage stamps to the value of £51.2s.7 ½ d, which, of course, is without profit, but a great convenience to the men and women, especially after the Post Office is closed. The matches have been a great boon to the men, and we have sold over 14,200 boxes during the year.

In February last we received the splendid donation from our Church Choir of £25.9s.1d, which enabled us to pay a cheque to the church funds for coal, gas, etc, of £25.10s…

Every Sunday evening during last winter Khaki Socials were held, arranged by Mrs Dracup and Miss Green, and they were very well attended. We shall have to decide tonight whether we shall have the Khaki Socials again, or carry on as we are now doing…

I should like to express my personal thanks to all the Superintendents and helpers, who have put such whole-heartedness into the work, and by so doing obtained such a splendid result.

It has been a year of real pleasure to me to work with such a willing, capable and pleasant staff, everybody (not forgetting Mr Brain, Mr Rawlinson and the Caretakers) doing their very best for the common good of all.

The figures for the year include the following:

Sales £1,054.13s.0d
Donations £42.9s.1d
Total receipts £1.097.2s.1d

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, November 1918 (D/N11/12/1/14)

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