Although all physical events at the club have been cancelled we are having virtual events, so please check here.
Gaza Scholarship Fund Appeal
As most of you know, along with several other organisations, the club has for many years raised money for the Palestinian Gaza Womens Education Fund. The fund is dedicated to helping pay for Palestinian women to receive a university education. Over the years we have held many fund-raising events and sent many thousands of pounds to our partners in Sheffield who administer the fund, which is currently supporting 58 women in Gaza and 3 in the West Bank.
However, over the last twelve months for obvious reasons we have been unable to organise a single fund-raising event, and the club’s contributions have all but dried up.
For this reason we are making an appeal to all our members to make either a one-off donation or a on-going direct debit to support the fund.
It is not charity we offer to these women, it is solidarity.
To give you a flavour of some of the difficulties faced by students in Palestine, here are a few extracts from the fund’s recent newsletter:-
From Dr Mona El-Farra:
‘The curfew imposed to limit the spread of Covid-19 in the Gaza Strip is extremely harsh and is not comparable to most lockdown experiences around the world. The situation here has its own peculiarity because here we are already living under a strict siege as a result of the Israeli military occupation. The dire situation of the health sector, especially shortages of medicines and respirators, makes matters worse. We have only one option: to ease the illness curve - which means imposing lockdown for a long time. Many university students in the Gaza Strip do not have adequate access to the internet and so are prevented from enrolling in virtual classes. Even if they do have access to the internet, there are constant power outages and they often have to stay up through the night, waiting for when the electricity will be available. It has been a most difficult year for the Scholarship Fund students, but receiving a scholarship does ease the financial and psychological stress that they are under.
And from the students themselves:
‘Things get more difficult every day. Although I’m used to the electricity getting cut off on a daily basis, the situation is now more difficult as I need to have electricity for long periods of time to be able to run my laptop and continue my studies.’
‘I have missed some exams because the internet speed is slow or I can’t get connected. It is very stressful for me. I have become even more anxious about the internet not working than about the exams themselves’
‘I have been suffering terribly from the cold as I need to stay up and study at night and the exams take place at night. The electricity is often cut off. I was able recently to purchase a small battery to run my laptop and sometimes I use the light on my phone to study and take exams.’
If you feel able to contribute something, no matter how little you can do so by direct bank transfer to ‘Bolton Socialist Club Gaza Education Fund’ HSBC Bank. Victoria Square, Bolton. Account number 61552112. Sort code 40-12-41. If you prefer to send a cheque. Please make out to ‘Bolton Socialist Club Gaza Education Fund’ and post to Neil Duffield, 2 Gorses Mount, Darcy Lever, Bolton BL2 1PQ.
Greetings from the club committee. We hope you’re keeping safe and well in these difficult and trying times.
As you know we have been unable to open the club since April of this year due to Covid restrictions and there is no prospect of us doing so in the immediate future. We currently have no tenant since Homestart Bolton ceased operating in July, and though we are advertising, the present parlous state of the charity sector is making it difficult to find a suitable replacement. This has resulted in a significant drop in the club’s income.
Fortunately, excellent work by Sylvan, our treasurer, in reducing energy and utility bills for the duration of the closure, and the income we receive from the direct debits paid by some members, means that the club is in a stable financial position at present. We plan to use the time between now and whenever we are able to reopen, to do refurbishment work to the upstairs event room using moneys previously set aside for this purpose. So at least there is some good news.
Under these circumstances our request for your annual subscription for 2021 is being made in the knowledge that as a member you’ll be receiving little in return until such time as we can re-open. But your support is vital to the club’s future and we hope you’ll continue to show solidarity with the club and continue renew your membership.
This year you will receive a new club card that will last for five years. (See picture below) It gives you the option of paying for the whole five years should you wish to do so. We are keeping subs at £10 per year, or £3 for those on low income. If you can afford an extra £1.00 to cover the cost of posting your new card out, it would be appreciated.
You can pay either by:
1. Cheque, sent to Trudy Chilton at: 5 Cottingley Close, Bolton, BL2 7BF, and payable to Bolton Socialist Club
2. Bank transfer. If you wish to use this method, please email Chris with the words Direct Debit please, and I’ll forward the club’s bank details to you. (We are not making them public for security reasons.) If using this method please add your name in the appropriate box so we know where the payment is coming from.
If you would prefer to pay by direct debit, or to make a regular monthly donation to the club, let me know by reply and I’ll forward the appropriate form for you to do this. Members’ Direct Debits have been particularly helpful in maintaining a regular income over the recent period and we would encourage members to contribute in this way of they are able.
Thank you all for your continued support. 16 Wood St is unique and has been an unbroken presence at the radical heart of Bolton for the last 115 years. Let’s make sure we keep it there.
Best wishes and solidarity
Chris Chilton, Chair