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Club Shalom

A few months after a social evening in 1969, a group of adults discussed the need for a Jewish club for teenagers to meet and mix, and Club Shalom was born. One of the parents, Derek Jay, was chairman of the Liberal shul and some of its rooms were opened up for the club on… Read more »

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A few months after a social evening in 1969, a group of adults discussed the need for a Jewish club for teenagers to meet and mix, and Club Shalom was born.

One of the parents, Derek Jay, was chairman of the Liberal shul and some of its rooms were opened up for the club on Sunday evenings. The others involved in the setting up of the club were the Bass, Cobbs, Jackson and Phillips families.

As many as 120 teenagers attended the weekly gatherings paying all of 2/- (10p) or 5/- (then 25p) for a special event. Activities included: snooker, Subbuteo, gender-specific talks from experts and unisex talks on such subjects as the dangers of drugs and, of course, music and discos provided by Trident Disco aka Graeme Jackson, Howard Kruger and Michael Ross.At the time, Sally Becker (who was later to become famous as the “Angel of Mostar”), was also a member. Refreshments and security were provided by a rota of parents and the club was hugely popular.

One of the main attractions for the boys was the football team. Set up by Stanley Lerner with the assistance of Alan Bass, the team joined the Mini-Minor Sunday League and were allocated a home ground at the often bleak and windy Wilson Avenue. The league generously accommodated the Jewish boys and moved games from Sunday mornings to afternoons so not to interfere with their bar mitzvah lessons.  An excellent first season was followed by varying fortunes, some good years and some not so – an 11-0 defeat was not our finest hour – but the boys never gave in and now, in their mid-50s, many are still friends. Putting up nets with freezing fingers and heated discussions over whose turn it was to wash the mud-caked kit still looms large in the memories of the various managers.

When Ralli Hall opened in 1976, the club moved in, however this seemed to be the club’s downfall. Most of the original members were now too old, had been lured away by more sophisticated entertainment or moved on to national clubs like BBYO.

Sadly the club closed, but it had fulfilled its mission, filling a huge gap in the social lives of teenagers from the community when it was needed most.

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