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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 84

The Sixth Annual Report of the Alexandra Home for Friendless Women, Newtown

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The Sixth Annual Report of the Alexandra Home for Friendless Women, Newtown.

The Managing Committee of the Alexandra Home for Women, in sending out their Sixth Annual Report to the subscribers, desire to express their thankfulness for the continued well-doing of the Institution.

The conduct of the inmates, especially of the permanent ones, is, generally speaking, very good, and the measure of success which has attended the efforts made to help those who, after one fall, were anxious to redeem the past, has been very cheering.

On the other hand, there have been several failures in the attempts made to reclaim some whose friends have placed them in the Home to be out of reach of temptation to intemperance. As there can be no such thing as forcible detention in the Home, those who are not really in earnest in wishing to reform, or who fancy that they are quite safe for the future, are apt to leave at the end of a few weeks, in spite of all entreaties, and too often return to their old habits in the course of the first few days.

The addition of the word "Alexandra" to the title of the Home was made necessary by the fact that the Female Reformatory, opened last year in Majoribanks Street, was constantly mentioned in the papers as the "Home for Friendless Women," and was therefore mistaken by many for the older institution at Newtown. As it is one of the rules of the Alexandra Home that no woman of known bad character is to be admitted, grave mistakes were becoming frequent in consequence of this misconception, which have been now put a stop to.

The Ladies' Wellington Christian Association has just been incorporated as a "separate institution" under the new Charitable Institutions Act. This has necessitated the election of six trustees, who will be responsible to the authorities for the expenditure of the funds, and for the general management of the work of the Association. It is to be hoped, however, that the present system of management of the Home, which has worked so well hitherto, will not be materially affected by this change.

The number of respectable women in poor circumstances who, from various causes, such as ill health, have been glad to come to the Home for a time, has been greater than during any previous year.

It is almost needless to say that no charge is made except to those who are able to pay, but the Committee find they have to be very careful not to encourage anything like voluntary pauperism.

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The great industry of the Home, the laundry work, the receipts for which this year have amounted to £288 10s. 2d., as against £231 1s. 0½d. for last year, has been admirably managed by two of the younger inmates, who now receive small salaries, and have the entire direction of the work subject to the supervision of the Matron. As the able-bodied inmates are always very much in the minority, hired labour has to be employed in the laundry every week, and this, with the expenses of cartage of linen, must be deducted from the gross proceeds before an accurate idea of the actual profits can be arrived at.

A reference to the balance-sheet will show that the sum of £120 has been expended in new buildings. These comprise a large drying-room, with furnace and large pipe for heating; a store-room; luggage-room for large boxes, &c.; and a few other necessary additions and alterations. The drying-room has been found a most valuable addition to the laundry, and one which is indispensible in the winter months.

The number of admissions during the past year has been forty—thirty-six adults and four children. Average number of inmates, exclusive of the Matron, twenty-one—fifteen adults and six children. Number of births, ten. Deaths, one (that of an infant two months old). Seven of the inmates, as well as the Matron, have been in the Home during the whole year.

The following cases are selected as illustrations of the different classes of persons admitted during the year:—
(a.)Respectable woman, thirty-five years of age, not long from England. Is in very delicate health, and has no relatives or home in New Zealand. Does a little light work when well enough.
(b.)Young unmarried woman, aged eighteen, daughter of respectable parents in England. Mother of infant born in the Home. (See Rule 6 for cases of this sort.)
(c.)A somewhat similar case to the last one. Left at the end of her six mouths' probation (during which time she behaved very well), put her child out to nurse, and is doing well in a good situation in a private family.
(d.)Respectable elderly woman, suffering from cataract. Had successful operation performed free of charge by one of the doctors visiting the Home, and returned to her family when able to travel.
(e.)Respectable married woman in poor circumstances, admitted for her confinement. Remained after the birth of her child until strong enough to go to work again.

The Committee gladly take the present opportunity of acknowledging their great obligations to Archdeacon Stock for bis weekly services at the Home; to Mr. Gaby, who holds a service there on one Sunday in each month; to a lady who reads with the inmates on a other Sundays; to Drs. Collins, Fell, Hassell, Hutchinson, Kemp; and Mahon, who have all kindly given gratuitous medical attendance; to Mr. Hoby for his gratuitous professional services; and to Mr. Fitchett, who has, as usual, generously supplied the Home with milk page 15 for five months free of charge. They have further to acknowledge many kind gifts of books, fruit, clothing, etc., from several who for years past have taken a warm interest in the welfare of the inmates. Some of the regular annual subscribers, who have visited the Home during the past year for the first time, have expressed themselves as being much pleased with the appearance and management of the institution.

The Committee have been obliged, though very unwillingly, to expend part of the sum which they had put aside towards the erection of a Children's Cottage Home. They are very anxious to replace this, and to add to their "Cottage Home Fund" during the coming year, and will be very grateful for any subscriptions, either for this purpose or for the enlarging of the Alexandra Home, where a few more rooms are much needed.