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By NORMAN DE LA HAYE The Jersey Society for the Disabled


Behind Closed Doors for


14 years


Started 41 years ago by June Beslievre and Barbara Marie, the Jersey Society for the Disabled used to hold its meetings in the Hermitage Clubroom at the St Helier Boys School. Amazingly, Muriel Houguez who was also one of the founder members and treasurer, is still a member today.


The society was established because it was felt there was a need for people with many different disabilities to be able to get out of their homes and meet socially with others. There were few other choices, because there were no day care facilities in those days. The value of the club was soon discovered when one 81 year old arthritic lady had her first social outing for 14 years when she visited the club. She had been out only twice in all those years for hospital visits.


One well known early member was Sid Logan whose accident during a Jersey Road Race had left him disabled and partially


sighted. So it was that a teacher from


Page 12 CSR - Helping others


St Helier Boys School, a Mr Roger Plaistow offered the rooms and the help of some 5th and 6th year boys as part of their community service. The boys would supply the tea and biscuits as long as someone else supplied the milk. They met every Wednesday starting at 2pm and finishing at 4pm. One of the boys was Mitch Couriard who today is a volunteer in the St Helier Honorary Police.


The first AGM of the Society was held in May 1971 when there were 38 members, 29 of them disabled. A year later membership had grown to 87 with 50 disabled members. It needed 26 drivers using their cars to bring in members from all over the island although it was not long before a specially adapted coach was acquired for wheelchairs and the more infirm.


Fundraising started with a sponsored wheelchair walk from Westpark to St Aubin and back which raised the sum of £480.00. The early members felt that there had not been anyone to take much of an interest in them before, and so they asked that the main object of the Society be


written in to the constitution. This was: “Primarily to serve the needs of disabled persons living in the Island of Jersey, not for the time being covered by specialised bodies serving specific disabilities”.


Today, some 40 years on, the Society meets at St Clements Parish Hall every Wednesday afternoon, except the second Wednesday of the month. On Thursdays they also meet at the Willows Day Centre.


Wednesday afternoons are social events, with speakers and entertainers coming in to entertain the members. Regular outings are also organised all over the island for afternoon tea or lunch, and during the summer months, picnics are often held in the meadow behind St Clements Parish Hall.


A popular grocery stall is also available every week selling home-made cakes, jams and vegetables, and music and singing is also an important part of the club’s activities. Every one can take part and some of the old songs bring back happy memories to the club’s members. Often one


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