The creation of S.W.A.G.
It came to light at the splendid 'History of Sway' Exhibition in 1989 that no account of the start of S.W.A.G. existed. To fill this gap , here is a brief account of how it happened.
During the winter of 1969/70 there had been frequent reports in the Press of old people, living alone, having been found in severe distress, or even having expired,after a lapse of several days. These discoveries were often by accident, uncollected mail, or a pile of milk bottles perhaps, leading finally to enquiries, and the Police breaking in. Though these tragic events took place in the main in High Rise Blocks of flats in cities, the matter was discussed at the St. Lukes' Parochial Church Council meeting of March 1970. and the question asked ..
"Could this happen in Sway ? " There was a silence.
As Roger Moore had raised the matter,the Vicar,the Rev. Peter Were and the P.C.C. asked him to do something about it. His first steps were to invite every organisation in the village to send a representative to attend a meeting to discuss the question and the need for a Sway Community Care Group, and to ask Hampshire County Council Social Services for advice and support. This meeting took place in the Sway Methodist Church Hall on April 30th 1970. There were two positive results, a name, Sway Welfare Aid Group, and an objective ...
" That everyone living alone in Sway has someone to whom they can turn in emergency "
The principle was accepted that action should only be taken when there were no existing relatives or Institutions who could give help. Volunteers came forward, and a working committee was formed.
The following report from a March edition of the Lymington Times gives a good idea of the early days of SWAG in I970.
S.W.A.G. for Sway.
The first meeting of the Sway Welfare Aid Group was held on April 3oth, and plans were made for the future. The guiding principle to be adopted to get things done simply with as little "red tape" as possible. Lt. Col. F.R.B. Moore undertook to act as hon, secretary, but no chairman or committee was elected so that meetings could be as informal as possible,
The object of the group is to see that if any gaps occur in the Welfare Services for people in Sway, particularily for the elderly, arrangements are made to meet the requirement.
The hon. secretary reported that the need for a "Meals on Wheels" Service had been brought to the notice of the Parish Council, The P.C. had made arrangements with the W.R.V.S. and thanks to the ready co-operation of ten volunteers from Sway, the service Had now started.
The next project might be the provision of an alarm bell system for some people living on their own. on the lines of the scheme recently introduced in Lymington and New Milton.
This will need money, and as a start, through the kindness of Mr, and Mrs Kennedy, a garden tea party will be held at Clonshany,Shirley Holmes, at 3 p.m. on Saturday May 23rd.
It is proposed to start a list of people who would be willing to "lend a hand" occasionally. Anyone interested should contact the hon secretary at Inishowen, Adlams Lane,Sway 603.
So that, for the record, is how SWAG. began. The village owes much to the Rev. Peter Were and his P.C.C.
I will leave to abler pens to deal with the multifarious activities that have developed, such as The Boule Event,The Charity Commission Link, The Great Fifty-fifty Sale,The Holiday Scheme,The Industrial Cotton Wool Venture, Legacies, The Luncheon Club, The Piper Alarm Network, The Sway Relief in Sickness Fund, The Waywardens, The Wobblers Club, to mention some.
I hope this history will be written up by those who
took part, the details are in the archives, because it illustrates how much a village, with its well of friendship, and good will, can do to look after its less fortunate members.
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