Focus on: WADE

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WADE stands for Wokingham and District Centre for the Elderly, but obviously WADE is easier to say and also remember!

They have, as you will have noticed, their own charity shop within Wokingham Town Centre, and the actual Day Centre is minutes away.

WADE introduce themselves as:

A unique day centre in a convivial location minutes away from the town centre.

The WADE day Centre provides pleasant surroundings near the centre of Wokingham for the use of over 60’s and residents of the Wokingham Borough Area.  It is a friendly and stimulating environment.


WADE was founded in 1968 by  Mrs Jean Davy, the then Mayor of Wokingham, with Mr Lewis Moss and others with not a penny in the bank.  In fact the Borough Council gave WADE £200 for stationery!!

WADE asked for the use of the old fire station, which was on the ground floor of the Town Hall (now cafes and restaurants), as a base for activities, but that was the only help  they asked for at the time.

WADE was formed with the initial aims of:

  • To promote the Welfare of the Elderly within the Town of Wokingham and the surrounding parishes of Aborfield, Barkham, Finchampstead, Hurst, Winnersh and Wokingham Without.
  • To bring under one umbrella all the voluntary efforts in the town for the elderly.
  • To start a Meals on Wheels service which was launched in February 1960
  • To start a visiting service which began in June 1974
  • To provide a Day Centre which opened in June 1974

It was a number of years before a site for the Day Centre was found.  The current site, Little Court at 40 Reading Road, was heard to be empty although in a derelict state.

WADE entered into a lease with the Council with an option to buy.  The lease was agreed in May 1973.  The buildiing needed £45,000 for renovation and furnishings.  Wokingham Borough Council, The District Council and the County Council between them donated £20,000 towards the renovation;  WADE along with local organisations and individuals produced the other £25,000 and the buildings opened as a Day Centre in 1974.

Little Court, the present site, was purchased by WADE in 1981 from the County Council for £10,000.

By this time the success of WADE had brought its own problems, as the accomodation was proving to be insufficient.  Dining space for only 30 people meant they were having to have 3 sittings each day.  This led to the launch of an appeal for £100,000 and the new dinint area was opened in 1984 by Mr. Lewis Moss, Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire.

In February 1980, Mrs Jean Davy was awarded the MBE for services to the community.  When asked by the Queen where she lived, she answered Wokingham, and the Queen remarked ‘oh, near me!’  referring of course to Windsor Castle!


WADE has changed significantly since the beginning, to cope with the changing needs of the members.  It is a sad fact that isolation is becoming a big problem among the elderly, as it can result in depression and related illnesses.   These days people are  living well into their 90’s, some with mobility issues or cognitive challenges.


WADE provides a safe, caring and stimulating environment, where members can come, meet old friends, make new ones and have a good nourishing midday meal, freshly cooked by our kitchen staff.

WADE is also aware that these days there are many elderly people at home caring for an equally elderly partner.   For this reason WADE now provides and are pleased to be able to offer them respite so they can leave their loved one for the day, knowing that they will be safe and well cared for.

WADE has a team of trained carers now who as well as looking after the needs of the members, arrange numerous activities.  There is also entertainment, the musical entertainment being one of the most popular.

WADE now has 2 minibuses (purchased with very generous legacies).  These provide a door to door service for those members who are unable to make their own way to the centre.

WADE also provide a weekly hairdressing service and once a fortnight a podiatrist is in attendance.

They also have a very busy charity shop within the Town Centre.  This provides an additional income stream, along with membership fees.  They have many loyal volunteers who help at the shop and the centre, and also at fundraising events.

These days the need for WADE is greater now than it has ever been.

(source: WADE)

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