Wantage has one meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous on a Tuesday at 1945 and is held in the church hall behind St John Vianney Roman Catholic Church on Charlton Road. The entrance to the church hall is accessed on the right hand side of the church. The format changes on the 3rd week of the month when it has a Step meeting, the 4th week is an Open meeting and on the 5th week of the month they have a Traditions meeting.
WANTAGE Tuesday 1945
St John Vianney RC Church Hall
History of AA in Wantage
Tuesday (7.45 pm) St. John Vianney RC Church Hall, Charlton Road, Wantage Formed April 25, 1967
Bill of Bampton (see Bampton) was asked by Intergroup to find a meeting room Wantage as it was felt there should be a meeting outside Oxford. The first meeting was held on April 25th, 1967. It’s thought this was a public meeting and was chaired by one of the early European members who came over from Ireland. Founder members included Cyril S, who died a few years ago. Another public meeting was held in September 1988, though the only non-alcoholics present were David’s mother on holiday from New Zealand, and the local vicar! So much for public meetings – at that time at least! The original venue was at the top end of Mill Street in the upper room – a kind of loft – over the then Conservative Association Hall. The room was approached by steep stairs from the street. We had no separate kitchen; the sink, worktop and tea urn were along the west wall beneath a large skylight, permanently steamed up in winter. As it was just under the roof, the room itself was cold in winter and hot in summer! However, many people tottered up those stairs to fine eventual sobriety in it. In about 1976 we were asked to find another venue for our landlords had sold the premises. After a number of enquiries, Tom T and Cyril S. went to negotiate with the secretary of the Wantage Methodist Church, situated in Newbury Street, for a room in the former Methodist School behind the church. Terms were agreed for the use of a room and kitchen and, as a special concession, we were allowed to smoke in the room. Shortly after moving to Newbury Street, we started a Step meeting on the third Tuesday: Step 1 in January, and so on. In about 1993 it was decided to demolish and rebuild the old school and we were asked to fine a temporary venue until the work was completed, though meetings in future would have to be non-smoking. We were told that we were valued tenants! So we found our present premises: the superb Hall and kitchen behind the Catholic Church of St. John Vianney, and decided to remain here despite the non-smoking regulation and a high rent! We have a solid core of members ranging from 15-25+ per week, and have provided four Intergroup Chairmen. Tea and coffee are available before and after the meeting – a huge concession by the ‘Old-Timers’ who told us ‘The time for refreshments is after the meeting!’
Tom T (November 1997) and Barry W (February 1999)