Canvey Island WRVS Luncheon Club
The WVS (Womens Voluntary Service) renamed WRVS (Womens Royal Voluntary Service) in 1966, was founded to help civilians during WW2 with evacuations, emergency feeding and care and support. By the end of the war a million volunteers had been recruited.
Today the WRVS continues its work to help the population, not only in times of difficulties they are also a major service provider to the elderly. The WRVS provide them with clubs and meals on wheels, helping them to keep their independence and dignity.
Queen Elizabeth (The late Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother) along with the then Queen Mother, Queen Mary became joint patrons of the WVS when it was founded. Later Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother became the President. She continued as President until her death in 2002 when her daughter Queen Elizabeth II became the patron.
The WVS from Chelmsford organised teams of workers passing out food, hot drinks and warm clothes to the refugees of the 1953 Floods.
Canvey’s WRVS Leisure Club for Elderly and Handicapped was started in the Baptist Church Hall in April 1980 later additional days were needed and the hall in Sydervelt Road was also used. The Organiser was Joan Lock who joined the WRVS a few years earlier. Joan was awarded a medal for 27 years of service by the WRVS in 2004 and finally retired in 2008 due to ill health.
In 1987 a hall was purpose built in Poplar Road and this has been used ever since except for a year in 2004 after the building was gutted by fire. The hall was opened by the late Dame Barbara Shenfield who was Chair of the WRVS from 1981-1988. She was made a Dame of the British Empire in 1986 for her work with the WRVS.
Today, due to continuous vandal attacks high fences have had to be erected around the hall. Instead of being able to look out onto the King George’s Playing Fields it feels a little like being behind bars.
The following pictures are mostly from before the new building and are from the only album to survive the fire.
I would like to thank Barbara Everett (the current Project Manager) and the WRVS for allowing us to publish them.