The story of CHAIN 1977 -2012

by Ron Rowlands

Public Meeting  –  16th  May  1977

The public meeting held in the Hungerford Corn Exchange to launch the Volunteer Force was well publicised and over 150 people attended.  Bill Acworth took the Chair and after welcoming everyone, described the ideas and the aims of ‘The Group of Six’ as follows:-

              “To set up a voluntary scheme whose concern is the whole community, the people  (old and young) and the environment, to link work of existing groups and organisations and to attempt to fill in gaps, e.g. making new people welcome to Hungerford and visiting residents of the old people’s accommodation”.

             “A network of street wardens was suggested to be an easily accessible link between those who have needs and those with services to offer.  They would be supported by a band of volunteers and a central body; a general committee, would be needed for development of the scheme”.

Sheila Wilson from Social Services supported the scheme, saying:-

“There were many things that were better done by volunteers than by

paid workers.  Social Services could not be in touch with every

person needing help and community support is needed”

The proposed scheme was well received by those present.  The minutes of the meeting show that many contributed to discussion.  To a question asked by ‘an unknown man’- Is there a need for a scheme? the minutes record ‘ Audience – Yes!’  Later, Richard Kingsbury posed a similar question ‘Do people want the scheme? ‘Again, the record shows ‘Audience – Yes’

Further evidence of enthusiasm for the scheme is seen in the numbers volunteering to help:-

Eighteen as Street Wardens
Fifteen as Drivers
Eight for baby sitting
Five for supervising young volunteers
Eighteen for Household jobs
Thirty eight for Friendly Visiting
Eight for decorating
Ten for gardening
Fifteen for shopping
Twenty three for odd jobs including offers such as
Instruction on Fly fishing
Dog walking
Washing backs etc.
Letter writing

During the meeting a suggestion was made that a ‘Steering Committee be formed’.  This was agreed and a group of sixteen was elected.