The groups in Oakengates started about 1980 and meetings were held on Wednesdays and Saturdays, then a bit later a Sunday meeting started. For a short while there was also a Wednesday dinner time come and go meeting, this meeting was started by Kevin to give those who were out of work somewhere to go.
Together with the hospital meetings held in the grounds of the Wrekin Hospital, held on Mondays and Fridays they were the only meeting in the newly formed Telford New Town.
The early Oakengates meeting were quite small and were held in one of the Social Services offices with access to the kitchen for making tea. Towards the end of their stay at the Social Services offices the meetings had grown to 30-40 strong most nights. They were now held in the main meeting room. Sometimes suffering acts of vandalism, it was not unusual to have to clean up glass from broken windows and inform the caretaker before the meeting could start. Luckily this did not happen too often.
With the crowded conditions and people smoking up to 10 cigarettes in an hour an a half meeting it is not surprising that many a conscious meeting was called to see what could be done about the smoke, by the
end of the evening you were lucky if you could see across the room. Another favorite subject for the conscious meeting being interruptions to shares by people making tea or by the tea being brought round.
It was just after we obtained permission to install a smoke extractor that it was announced that the building was to be knocked down to make room for the doctors surgery next door to expand.
Despite all the drawbacks many look back on the meetings held in these offices has being strong on AA principles and run according to the guidelines. They are looked back on with fondness and gratitude for the support offered.
When the Social Services building in Oakengates was knocked down in about 1997 the groups had to move. They could not find anywhere suitable in Oakengates that all three meetings could be held, and rather that split up moved to the Community Centre in Leegomery.
The groups remained at the Community Centre Leegomery for a few years but never really felt at home.
The meetings were often disrupted by the youths who hung around outside and it was intimidating to walk though these youths to get to the meeting. The picture on right is of the Leegomery Community Centre. The window on the top right is were the meetings were held. If the window was open you never knew what might be coming through it
When the Salvation Army built its new citadel in Oakengates around 2002 the group was offered a room, it took no persuading to convince the group members that it would in their best interests to move back to Oakengates.
All three groups moved at the same time and it was very nice to have meetings that were relaxing, The only disruptions that occurred were caused by those attending the meeting.
On Saturday 16 September 2006 the Shropshire mini convention took place at the Salvation Army Citadel and despite clashing with the Al-Anon convention in Birmingham it was a success. The Salvation Army allowed the use of whole of the building, including the church for the main meeting. They even went as far has to record the top table shares. The picture is of the Salvation Army Citadel. (image
by Barry P)
In 2008 a new group started in Oakengates. They held meetings on Monday afternoons in the Methodist Church Hall, Stafford Street.
This group lasted a couple of years.
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