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The WVS of Wimbledon are we – Part II

It’s the second and final week of Wimbledon and our story of how the WVS, WRVS and Royal Voluntary Service served Wimbledon continues.

After the war WVS was still going strong but had moved away from its role in supporting a nation at war to sustaining a nation in peace time, proving welfare for older people, taking children on holidays, providing clothing, serving in hospital canteens and helping out in an emergency and Wimbledon volunteers were no different.

In the 1950s Wimbledon WVS were involved in clothing trolley shops, Civil Defence, Meals on Wheels, National Savings and Hospital Services to name a few. As well as the usual activities volunteers were engaged in occupational training clinics, canning fruit and in august 1950 190 tins were completed. Most of our knowledge of their activities comes from the Narrative Reports in March 1950 it was reported that the WVS Exhibition had received a visit from Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother) and the Centre Organiser was honoured to be part of her guard. The first coach trips for older people were organised in the mid to late 1950s, mostly residents from the residential homes where the WVS ran trolley shops.

The 1960s and 1970s saw an administrative change for WVS/WRVS Wimbledon as they became part of the London Borough of Merton but they were still as energetic as ever. By this time volunteers were running a Tufty Club, helping with the Sir Winston Churchill Collection Fund, finding a volunteer to take a man with disseminated scoliosis  to the cinema twice a week and arranging for volunteers age 17 to help the housebound with library books and shopping.

Towards the end of the twentieth century WRVS Wimbledon was still doing everything and anything it could to help the people of Merton Borough and further afield. This included helping their fellow volunteers from across the country providing members running the information desks at the Wimbledon tennis championship and those taking part in the WRVS Tennis Competition with accommodation. An unusual request came in 1988 (along with distributing Butter from the EEC) when volunteers were asked to sew badges on to 150 anoraks for the Great British Olympic Team going to Calgary, Canada.

Today Royal Voluntary Service provides services for older people in Wimbledon and all over London including Social Clubs, Good Neighbours and Home Library Services.

Posted by Jennifer Hunt, Deputy Archivist at 09:00 Monday, 04 July 2016.

Labels: WVS, WRVS, Royal Voluntary Service, Wimbledon, Tennis, Post-war