Joan Clark was a pupil at WGHS, who died young, and a trust fund was set up by her family in September 1938 to provide for the convalescence at the seaside or other health resort of really delicate necessitous children whose parents could not otherwise afford the expense. The fund was to provide all or part of the expenses to be incurred for that purpose, including maintenance, outfit and travelling.
The school established a similar fund twenty five years later, called the Sunshine Fund. It was set up on the 28th November 1963, and it was removed from the charities register on 01 Sep 2017.
The Sunshine Fund was originally set up to help pay for 'needy girls' from Wolverhampton to take a holiday. By 'needy girls', the fund originators meant 'those who were much less fortunate than the girls who attended the High School'. For example the fund was meant to help the families of girls from very low income homes who would never have had a holiday (or even a trip to the seaside) or those recuperating from illnesses such as TB. It was felt that offering the opportunity to a girl from the home town to take a break by the sea or get some clean air (Wolverhampton was rather industrial in those days) would be a good way to help those less fortunate. Pupils in school in the 60s, 70s and 80s made contributions to the fund and money was raised from small events, such as the sale of knitted items.
When all of that stopped back in the 1980s, it was agreed that the dividends and interest from the Joan Clark Memorial Fund could be used to fund the Sunshine Fund. When money was needed for the Sunshine Fund, which in more recent times has been used to help fund holidays for needy families or individuals (not necessarily girls), the amount was transferred across from the Joan Clark Memorial Fund and sent out from the Sunshine Fund. After the accounts were moved to Barclay's, a cheque book was issued for the Joan Clark Memorial Fund, so the Sunshine Fund fell into disuse and has now been closed. Dividends, and a small amount of interest, are paid into the Joan Clark Fund and we are still able to help needy families.
We have also been able to help needy girls in School; in the last couple of years, we have bought a wheelchair and have made a sizable donation towards stem cell treatment for an Old Girl. In addition, we have helped a family have a few days holiday.
From 1st September 2017 there will no longer be any Sunshine Fund, just the Joan Clark Memorial Fund, but the help we are able to provide from the Old Girls remains unchanged.
Follow this link to read an article by Monica Dyer who joined WGHS from Lawnswood High School in the middle of her first year in 1954. It tells of her experience 'helping out' with a Sunshine Fund sponsored venture.
It came to be submitted as a friend of hers chanced to meet someone who was involved in the administration of the Sunshine Fund. This person passed on the information that the Fund rarely got any feedback. She therefore wrote this "thank you" note and sent it to her via her friend. The note had not been intended for a wider audience - she didn't even know that WGHSOGU had seen it, but she has kindly given permission for it to be put up on the website.
Nowadays such 'charity' is frowned upon. However the fund is still in operation - and I am sure there are lots of local charity appeals that could be helped by it.
To meet the criteria laid down by the originators of the fund the person(s) helped must be local and should be female, but applications can be considered from individuals or groups who need respite care or projects to extend recreational activities for local children such as summer play schemes.
Please make enquiries to Trudi or Eirlais via School if you know someone who could benefit from the fund or if you would like to make a donation to the fund... and please write of anything you know of how the Fund has helped others in the area.