New Wangi Wangi social club shakes off pandemic worries

NETWORKING: Wangi Wangi VIEW Club members gather for the launch at the suburb's RSL club on Monday. Picture: Simone De Peak
NETWORKING: Wangi Wangi VIEW Club members gather for the launch at the suburb's RSL club on Monday. Picture: Simone De Peak

Opening a social club in the middle of a deadly pandemic may appear a bold move, but the members of Wangi Wangi VIEW Club have not let that stop them.

The Voice, Interests and Education of Women club launched on Monday with a meeting at Wangi Wangi RSL Club.

The group has 32 mostly retired members and is the only VIEW club to open in NSW this year.

"We had our numbers by February, then it's taken this long to do the inaugural meeting," president Lynda Pearson said.

"I think it's the best thing. It's good networking for all the ladies to come and meet other people."

Ms Pearson said organisations like VIEW were especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I've met lots of people who I wouldn't have met otherwise. I was new to the area last year.

"A lot of us like myself have got children in other states, and you can't see them.

"It's nice to have friends, that's for sure.

"As much as anything it's about building friendships, and for a good cause."

She said most of the club's members had not been put off by the pandemic.

"I'd say possibly a couple didn't come today because of it, but not too bad generally."

VIEW is run by The Smith Family, raising money to support the education of 1400 financially disadvantaged Australian children via the charity's Learning for Life program.

The Wangi Wangi club, the 15th VIEW branch in the Hunter region but the only one on the western side of Lake Macquarie, will be assigned a student next year after beginning its fundraising program.

VIEW national president Anne-Louise O'Connor was on hand for the club launch on Monday.

"It's a really exciting thing to do, to be able to open a new club during these challenging times, and it will be probably the only one we'll open in NSW this year," Ms O'Connor said.

"Two new VIEW clubs opened in Victoria in March, but we've needed to delay celebrations until government restrictions are eased.

"I'm just amazed at the wonderful resilience of the VIEW members.

"Across the board they're staying connected and doing fundraising to keep their Learning for Life students. They're just an amazing group of women."

Ms Pearson said the RSL club had enough space to allow the members to maintain social distancing during events, or the members would meet at a local park or in someone's house.

"Next month we'll start organising some events.

"We've had raffles, but we haven't done any serious fundraising yet."