The grass roots of the organisation, was first formed in the 1930’s by the local councils of Social Services to help combat the financial and social problems of unemployment which had spread throughout the country.
The first clubs were intended for men but they allowed the women one day a week use of the facilities.
The first groups were known as Women’s Mutual Service or Social Service Clubs and they provided an opportunity for women to meet together for ‘make do and mend’ and create ‘old from new’.
During the period of World War 11 the Women’s Clubs again met immediate needs in the areas where women had been evacuated with their families and were once again in need of the skills learned a few years before.
Mrs Norah Phillips, later Baroness Phillips, who was destined to become another important force within the organisation was welcomed as a new member of staff.
Clubs evolved during the 1950’s to serve the needs of the many new housing estates springing up after the Second World War. In 1976 the NAWC became independent and received Charity Status. We had been getting an annual grant from The Dept. of Innovation and Skills which recognised the aims of informal education and citizenship, however, this grant has ceased and we are now self-supporting, with each member paying an annual subscription. We also rely on donations from our clubs and our own fund raising activities.
There are many clubs throughout the country with a membership of almost 4000 . Each club is a non-political non-sectarian group open to all women whatever their age and interests. Each club is self-governing, choosing its own officers, meeting place and times to fit the needs of their particular neighbourhood. A wide range of activities caters for all tastes but as the NAWC is an educational charity, the emphasis should be on self-development.
An Annual Conference is held at which resolutions put by member Associations and Single Clubs are debated. Resolutions are of national importance and many pieces of legislation have been passed over the years in which the clubs feel their voice has been instrumental.
Members have the opportunity to attend Weekends Away and One Day Workshops held in various parts of the country.
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We meet up, have fun and create educational opportunities, the chance to build new skills and also campaign on issues that matter to our members and their communities.