More from CAW  

I recently met someone at a social gathering and we fell to chatting, as one does. She spoke of Citizens Advice Woking (CAW) which is at risk of closing due to WBC’s decision not to award discretionary grants to the voluntary sector.  

Back in September CAW was informed that  its core grant of £189,000 would cease to be paid  as from April 1. This has given CAW no time to make alternative funding plans. It should be stressed that WBC does not fund CAW for all of the services delivered: CAW has funding for other projects which brings in another £200,000 per  annum.

WBC proposes to give CAW a one-off payment of £30,000 from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund to restructure its organisation and to find alternative funding. My contact points out that it is not possible to do  all this work for £30,000.  

“The council is not  giving us any  money for the work we do with vulnerable clients,’’ CAW has said.

 ‘‘The council’s own Equalities Impact Assessment shows that vulnerable groups will be impacted.”

This raises the questions – why are the council creating a new post with a budget of  £50,000 for a debt co-ordinator when CAW already does that work at a much lower cost?  

Why does the council think that faith groups, with untrained volunteers, can start to do the work CAW already does?  

Why does the council think it a good idea to dismantle CAW when it is a tried and tested model, and reinvent something else that, even if it is successful, will take more than a year to get going?

In  the meantime, where do people go for help? Yes, there are other voluntary groups, but although there may be small overlaps in what they and CAW do and there are some mighty big holes between them through which the vulnerable may tumble.

Is it too simplistic of me to think that Woking’s ailments are caused by greed, and the only remedy is in the hands of a party of willing volunteers who, essentially, are totally non greedy: if they were, they would demand payment for their good, and essential, work.

Drama at the Fiery Bird  

There  is proof that the Fiery Bird is not only a home for modern music-makers but for very modern drama-makers.

The Man in The Moon runs drama classes for children. They are billed as being original, creative, inclusive, exciting and, very importantly, reassuringly affordable.

It is suggested that children will make new friends, learn to work as part of a team, improve concentration, develop social  skills and learn to communicate more effectively. That last comment  is, I think, even more important these days when people, not just the young, have forgotten how to communicate face to face, only screen to screen.

There are also classes for adults. Check out for all the details. Classes start on Thursdays from February 29 when Man in The Moon will be landing at the roost of the Fiery Bird which is just a couple of minutes’ walk from Woking Railway Station: next to Woking Fire Station  at 32 Goldsworth Road, GU21 6JT. There is parking available.

Fiery Bird: A Good Egg!  

I don’t know the etiquette for patting a fiery bird on its back – are asbestos gloves called for? 

Whatever, this bird deserves  praise. Recently The Fiery Bird received some good news on its business rates issue. You can read all about it on its website, – but the short version is that it has had  its home revalued and consequently the bill has been significantly reduced. Like any self-respecting phoenix, it has had its problems which it has overcome by somehow managing to burst back into life. 

Its several reincarnations are due to a lot of hard work and dedication from a team of enthusiasts who recall the past successes of musicians from Woking and want to give present Woking musicians a chance. 

Hence its regular Open Mic nights, every Thursday 7.30-10pm. It also hosts a variety of entertainers, so do check out the website, but I can tell you that February 22 will see Laugh Out Loud Proud Comedy; February 23 The Velveteen Orkestra and February 24 TheTR5s.

Henry (Cawsey) Plaza  

It has been some time since I  wrote about this  rather dismal and misnamed area. 

Sean Henry’s two large people continue to stand there gloomily. I am still hoping that at some time it will be made obvious that the Henry in question was Mr Cawsey. He was a borough and county councillor and Mayor of Woking just after the Second World War. Henry Cawsey was a borough councillor for more than 50 years and one of the first eminent citizens of Woking.

I have noticed that Export House have quite an imposing entrance to their building in said Plaza (what’s wrong with Place?) 

Just around the corner is a sign advising visitors that the entrance to Export House may be found in Henry Plaza. The postal address for Export House is still Cawsey Way, Woking GU21 6QX, even though what is left of the old Way is now rather hard to find.

DNA wanted!  

How many delightful old stories would have been ruined had DNA been around. 

Shakespeare, with his twins, and females masquerading as males, and the other way round, would have had to rely on his history and drama plays. So many of his comedies would just not have worked. Luckily there was plenty of fun to be had before a character could so easily prove their heritage with little more than a hey nonny no! Or even a nonny yes!

DNA would have been useful in the Kingdom of Barataria. OK, so you can’t find it on the atlas. That’s because it is fictitious. A figment of the brilliant minds of Arthur Sullivan and WS Gilbert. 

They, well I suppose it would have been William, as the librettist, came up with an idea which the other William, Shakespeare, might well have used. Or it might, at a later date, have been used as the basis of a Whitehall  Farce.  

When a young bride-to-be, the heir of the Baratarian throne, arrives in Venice to join her husband-to-be he cannot, alas, be identified. 

As a child he had been entrusted to the care of a drunken gondolier who somehow mixed up the young prince with his own son. 

Perhaps the foster mother  to the prince can determine which of the lads is the rightful king, but she seems  have been mislaid. 

That’s not the end of  the young bride’s problems, for both of the young men, Giuseppe and Marco Palmieri – gondoliers by trade – have recently married local girls.

Oh, and just to add to the general chaos, the young bride has another young man in mind as a husband.

Gilbert & Sullivan, as ever, managed to make this a satire of class distinctions. It was the last of their great successes. 

It premiered at the Savoy Theatre in December 1889 and ran for 554 performances until the end of June 1891: that made it, at that time, the fifth longest-running piece of musical theatre in history.  

KASJOG, the Knaphill and St John’s Operatic Group, will be rowing this delightful entertainment into the Rhoda McGaw Theatre at The Ambassadors in Woking, from February 28 to March 2 with performances at 7.30pm every day plus a Saturday matinee on March 2 at 2.30pm.

This will be KASJOG’s sixth production of this title – I hope they will have found that foster mother by now.