The three objects of Inner Wheel are very simple. They are to promote true friendship, encourage the ideals of personal service and to foster international understanding.
Inner Wheel is a caring organisation, not only to its members, but also to others outside its circle. Friendship is the core of all that is done and achieved by members of Inner Wheel. Wherever there is an Inner Wheel Club, no matter in which country, you are made very welcome. Friendship and fun abounds as members work together to help others less fortunate than themselves, not only in this country, but overseas.
Members find so many different ways to organise events that are fun, to help a chosen charity. Ascot days, sponsored cycle rides, parachute jumps or walks, themed dinners, and silent auctions are but a few.
Rotary International was founded in Chicago Illinois by Paul Harris in 1905 and within 10 years it had spread to the British Isles. Many kinds of community service were embarked on by Rotarians which often involved the co-operation of their wives. Usually a ladies committee was set up to help on a project and then disbanded. However some groups stayed together, enjoying the friendships they had made and often initiating further service on their own account. Social events were organised and speakers invited to entertain and inform.
On 15 November 1923 a group of ladies who wanted to help with the work of their Rotarian husbands, but to do it in their own way. Encouraged by their Rotarian husbands, called a meeting at Herriott’s Turkish Baths in Deansgate, Manchester, for the purpose of setting up a club on Rotary lines, and 27 ladies attended.
The object of the club was twofold: firstly to foster friendship between the wives of Rotarians and, secondly, it was thought that being organised as a club, the opportunities for service would increase. A committee was set up to contact the wives who had not attended, and the chairman of this committee was Mrs. Margarette Golding and the secretary/treasurer was Mrs Mabel Nixon.
By the time of the next meeting on 10 January 1924, held at the Social Club, Lower Mosley Street, Manchester, funds had been raised and woollen garments knitted and sent to local hospitals. It was at this meeting that the name suggested by Mrs Golding “The Inner Wheel Club of Manchester” was adopted to emphasise the Rotary connection.
Within less than a year the membership had doubled and many successful projects had been undertaken, and news of this club’s achievements had spread, so that by 1927 five more clubs had been formed, one of which had previously been a ladies’ Rotary Club. The badge which was adopted is the Rotary wheel with a smaller cog inside it – the inner wheel which helps the big wheel turn. 10 January is now celebrated as Inner Wheel Day around the world.
As Rotary’s bounds had become international, so did Inner Wheel’s, and in many countries it was almost the only way in which a woman’s voice could be heard at all. International Inner Wheel (IIW) was formed in 1967, and today there are over 100,000 members worldwide, in 101 different countries, from Norway to Nigeria; from Uganda to the Ukraine. There are currently 891 clubs in Great Britain, with 29 districts and just over 23,000 members. It is now one of the largest women’s organisation in the world, and has representation at the United Nations.
There are 29 Inner Wheel Districts in Great Britain and Ireland, and these correspond with Rotary Districts.
The Inner Wheel of Carnforth holds monthly meetings on the first Wednesday of every month (except January) at Pine Lake, Carnforth close to Junction 35 of the M6 motorway. For further information, click here to email the Secretary.
The club has a varied programme of guest speakers and also holds fund raising events throughout the year. As with the Rotary Club of Carnforth, the Inner Wheel has a close liaison with sister groups associated with the 5 Rotary Clubs within the Carnforth area.