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York IVC - the beginnings

How it all began

So it was on June 16th 1998 York IVC hosted its first formal event, it was attended by three people; Clare Arnold, Julia Soukup and Katrina Bracchi, sat in a rainy field at Harewood House listening to music from the musicals while eating our damp strawberries. This was what transpired to be the first event in what was to become York’s leading social club for graduates and young professionals.

So how did it all start, well having moved to York in summer of 1997, I looked around for social clubs similar to the one I had been a member of in Surrey, West Surrey IVC. While there were established clubs out there in York nothing offered me the same experience and opportunities I had in Surrey. By this time 1998 was well advanced, I had met a few folk through a variety of different means, also looking for a social club that would provide a programme of a wide variety of events, and the forum to meet others who have similar interests. It was around this time that I learnt that the national body the Association of IVCs would like a group starting in York. Following some discussion with a few people, and AIVC, a grant of £100, York IVC was born.

The following months involved a plethora of meetings and organisation as the club started to take shape and we gathered an ever-expanding group of interested parties. Everything had to be decided and agreed from what are going to be the membership fees, how and where are we going to publicise the club, build a programme of events, print the bulletin ….and so the list went on.

There however, comes a point when you have to actually launch this social club, and ready or not go for it, and the 16th June was decided as our launch date. So it was that we had a programme filled with events, admittedly some borrowed from neighbouring clubs, like Leeds and Teeside, but it illustrated how the club could look, and it was not too long before we had a bulletin full of events run by York members for York members. We had our regular ‘Pete’s Plethora of Pubs’, and ‘International Cuisine of York’ - did you know it was possible even then in oldie worldly York to try a different nationality of cuisine every month?

This was in the days before the Internet and people rarely had a mobile phone, and well a private email address was positively science fiction! So publicity relied on the good old media, of the free press, posters in the library and leaflets in the cinema, leisure centres and anywhere else we could think of, and as ever word of mouth.

So after the first two years of the club we had about 125 members, received about ten enquiries a month and had an events programme that did everything from meals out, to walks to cinema nights. So while times have changed and the way the club is managed, everything is web based now, it's very rare for anyone not to have an email address or a mobile phone, the principles of the club have not changed, and the activities we get involved in are still much the same.

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