1928/9 saw a range of new activities included in the programme:
The Florence Institute was a real haven for the boys of the district, many of whom now attended five to six times per week. Competition from ‘rival attractions’ remained, but did not make a significant impact, and the report observes that when one boy joined, he often brought with him one or two mates. Upon joining boys were assigned to one of the four divisions or ‘houses’, each divided by age into three sections:
Junior – aged 14-16
Middle – aged 16-18
Senior – aged 18-21
Corresponding houses competed with one-another, in as many activities as possible, with the best or most promising boys going on to represent the Institute against other clubs. ‘This arrangement gives the boy a feeling of allegiance to his House, which grows as he becomes older, developing a wider loyalty to the Club as a whole’. This ethos encouraged the younger boys to mix with their elders and seniors, thus developing a sense of responsibility, affording them greater experience to organise activities for others. Of course, the threat of delinquency was never far from the Committee’s minds: ‘The various competitions also serve as spectacles which help to solve the problem of finding occupation for the boys, and of keeping them out of mischief’.
Weekend camps to Heswall and Windermere were so successful the number wishing to attend far outstripped the amount that could, which averaged at 50. “It would be hard to speak too highly of the value of these opportunities for our boys to escape from the streets of the city”. Throughout the summer, there was a demand for cricket and athletics, with the Institute utilising the grounds of The Liverpool Institute for early evening training. Both the Seniors and Juniors must have practiced well as they both won shields in The L.B.A. competition. Swimming Club memberships also increased, with the desired effect of coming in as runners up in the L.B.A. Competition. It seems that by this point in the Institute’s history, the winning was as important as the taking part!
The Institute was keen to praise members, and as a reward for their educational efforts, one hundred and eighty boys received a special Christmas tea, ‘followed by a very enjoyable concert given by The Flashes’. The hard work of new Warden Mr F.T. Molyneux clearly paid off: ‘The boys have responded well to what has been done for them and an atmosphere of cheery loyalty and good fellowship prevails which is the best possible antidote for the surly discontent which might well be provoked by the difficulties which at present beset the lives of many of them.’
THE FLORENCE INSTITUTE
Registered Office: The Florence Institute Trust Ltd, 377 Mill Street, Liverpool L8 4RF. Charity Registration No: 1109301. Company Registration No: 05330850 (registered in England and Wales).