WI Support Team

TEAM LEADER:  Helen Ainley
We have 4 WI Advisers
JOIN OUR TEAMWe all help and support WIs throughout Nottinghamshire - we can start a new WI, help an existing WI, and will put on training events for new Presidents, Secretaries and Treasurers.

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If you would like to join one of our WIs in Nottinghamshire or start a new WI, Please contact the County Office 01636 673550 or email: secretary@nottswi.org.uk
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2024

JULY

Hello everyone, I am sure by now you will have seen all the reports on MyWI, Facebook and in WI Life about the June NFWI Annual Meeting in London.  Sadly, for the next two years it will be a hybrid meeting, but I thought if I told you about my experience of the meeting it may encourage more Nottinghamshire members to attend the next “in person” meeting in 2027, either as a delegate or observer.

We all travelled together on the coach to London on the Tuesday afternoon, this was enjoyable, with lots of exchanging of ideas and general banter! As with anything WI related, even if you arrive on your own you are with friends and there is great camaraderie. In the evening, we had dinner in groups, with no one left out, there was lots of laughter and maybe a little alcohol was consumed.

I must move on to tell you about the actual meeting on Wednesday 5th June, the atmosphere was amazing as soon as we stepped into the Royal Albert Hall, you could feel the air of excitement with so many WI members coming together to share the day in such a special venue. When we all sang Jerusalem to open the meeting the atmosphere was electric, it sent shivers down my spine. We listened to all the business of the day; Ann Jones, NFWI Chair, who is stepping down this year, told us that last year has been the strongest year for WI recruitment during her term in office and we continue to grow through our changing flexibility.

We heard very persuasive arguments for & against our resolution “Dental Health Matters” and then votes were taken & counted. The resolution was passed by a resounding 98%.

The morning speaker was Nazir Afzal OBE who gave a brutally honest & passionate talk about the day’s theme of “No More Violence Against Women”, from an expert prosecution & law perspective, which received a standing ovation. In the afternoon, Victoria Derbyshire interviewed Mel B, who shared her abuse story as documented in her memoir, it was moving to hear how openly Mel spoke to us.  Mel is a patron of Women’s Aid. This was followed by Melissa Green interviewing Timothy Watson who played Rob Titchener, an abusive partner, in the long running Radio serial “The Archers”.  This storyline hugely impacted on the public's awareness of domestic abuse.  Tim was joined by Teresa Parker from Women’s Aid who advised on the storyline.

The day ended with the rousing singing of the usual anthems accompanied again by the magnificent organ in the Royal Albert Hall. On the way back to Nottinghamshire we talked about the day and all agreed that it had been well worth taking the time to attend with so many like-minded women coming together to support all women.  As Nazir Afzal said, “to represent those without a voice”.  It was truly a wonderful experience to be involved in the day and made me very proud to be part of the WI.

JUNE

Gosh the year is flying by - we are practically halfway through the year and our gardens are flourishing; we are enjoying warm weather and lovely lighter evenings.

This month I thought I would take this opportunity to remind you that you can request a member of the WI Support Team to come along to help with your Annual Meetings.  They can guide you through the correct agenda for the meeting and conduct an impartial election of your President for your new financial year.  A form to request an adviser for your Annual Meeting has been included in this month's mailing.  Alternatively, two independent tellers may be requested from a neighbouring WI to conduct the vote for President, but they must be familiar with the correct procedure as set out by NFWI.  Advice about this can be requested from WIST.  Details of how to run your Annual Meetings can be found in the WI Handbook and on MyWI, but please contact us if you have any problems.

Our “Coffee Shop Visit” to Nuthall in May went very well with an excellent turnout of members and lots of exchanging of ideas went on.  One idea in particular we are hoping to develop into a WIST event for next year.  Watch this space!

This month for our “Coffee Shop Visit” we will be at the Welbeck Garden Centre coffee shop on Tuesday 11th June and not 12th as previously advertised.  Please come along for a coffee and chat we will look forward to seeing you.

As always you can contact me at helenainley@nottswi.org.uk or via Federation Office.

MAY

I would like to thank those WIs that entered the Sheila Norris Rose Bowl Challenge.  As this is a challenge not a competition there is not a winner, but I hope everyone enjoyed the display of them at the AFM.

Recently I have been on a family holiday to beautiful Turkey. However, I discovered that an increasing number of people are going there to visit a dentist, mostly for cosmetic dentistry but also for routine appointments.  I think this confirms the need for our proposed Resolution for 2024. The exact wording of the Resolution is:

‘There is a chronic shortage of NHS Dentists and people are suffering health issues as a result. The NFWI calls on the Government to increase investment in the training and retention of dentists and to review the current inadequate NHS contracts in order to ensure everyone can access an NHS dentist wherever they live.’

What happens next is voting for or against this proposal. The voting will be done in your WIs, but you may like to do some research before your next meeting. Your WI will have received an information booklet and there are lots of resources on MyWI.

  • Detailed briefing on the resolution
  • PowerPoint presentation on the topic
  • Quiz to test your knowledge.
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) document about the resolutions process
  • Discussion guide with ideas about how to discuss the resolution in your WI.

If your WI needs any support with this your WIST are always available for you. All WIs get one vote - for or against the resolution. WIs may choose to give their link delegate discretion to decide how to vote after hearing the speakers and the debate at the Annual Meeting. Please ensure your WI makes it clear to your link delegate whether you are granting her discretion. As always, I can be contacted at helenainley@nottswi.org.uk or by calling Federation Office.

APRIL

Gosh! How can we be into April already? I am still finding pine needles from the Christmas tree in the oddest of places! As you are reading this, we will have held our Annual Federation Meeting at Southwell Minster School, if you were there you will have heard me speak about the WI Support Team’s new initiative for this year, our Coffee Shop Visits.

Last year we opened Federation House in Newark for any members to come along and visit, have a look around, meet the Trustees and find out a little more about your Federation, which went very well. Following on from this we thought it would be good to come out to you in your villages and towns to meet casually for a coffee and a chat so on Wednesday 8 May we will be at The Nuthall, Nottingham from 10am-12noon, 12 June at Welbeck Nursery from 10am-12noon and 2 July at The Rushley from 11am-12.30pm. We, as your Support Team would like to get to know you better so you feel you have a stronger connection to your Federation. You may want to just join us for a chat, or you may have questions that we can hopefully answer for you. Either way we would like you to feel that we are an approachable bunch and not as we sometimes hear when we visit WI’s, “Oh no the Advisers here, we must be in trouble!”  Yes, we do visit WIs if there are problems, but we also enjoy visiting you as fellow WI members to see how well you are doing and giving friendship and fellowship to your members. We have a problem though... we don’t know where all the good coffee shops are, and this is where you come in, please will you let us know where they are so we can arrange a visit? You can contact me directly at helenainley@nottswi.org.uk or Federation Office as usual.

MARCH 

Well, here we are already in March and the start of Spring is on Tuesday 19th. I wonder if you are like me and looking at those spring cleaning jobs that need keeping up to date with? If you are a Trustee of your WI one of your jobs may be making sure that all your WI details are up to date. Did you know that if you change the name of your WI, the venue for your meetings, the date of meeting or the time of meeting you first need to seek your members’ permission? You can do this by a show of hands with a majority of three quarters of those present and then ask permission from the Federation. You might ask why there is a need to seek permission from the Federation, this is so we hold the correct information about your WI and can update the changes in the Yearbook. We understand there is always a sound reason for making these changes which benefit your members and their enjoyment of your WI. As always, the WI Support Team are here for you if you need any assistance, you can contact me at helenainley@nottswi.org.uk or ring Federation Office.

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Be BOLD, Be INCLUSIVE, Be FLEXIBLE and GROW 

Be BOLD – Have you had a speaker talking about the achievement of a woman? Has your WI offered members the opportunity to do something different?

Be INCLUSIVE – Are you really friendly and welcoming to new members or do you have to sit where and with whom you always sit?

Be FLEXIBLE – Have you surveyed your members to see if the time and place of meetings, including committee meetings and activities, are convenient for everybody?

GROW – Is your WI on Facebook and is it used well for promotion? If not, apply for funding from your local MP and for 3- 6 months send out a newsletter to 50-100 houses in the area.

These are just a few suggestions, we bet you can think of and do more.

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Data Protection for ALL members. When sending out emails to more than one WI member it is important that you put all recipients in BCC (blind carbon copy) not CC, as you are breaching data protection by showing other members’ email addresses. We are sure that everyone knows that members’ emails are for WI business only.

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How many committee meetings should be held in a year.  The constitution says a minimum of 6 meetings a year should be held. However, your WI may well need more meetings in order to keep up to date with news and events and of course planning for your main meetings may take some time.  Remember the saying that "If you fail to plan then you plan to fail". I am sure that doesn't affect your WI but planning is an essential part of running a good WI and this is generally done at your WI Committee meetings.

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Question

My new member hasn't received WI Life why is this?

Answer.

In order to receive WI Life your new members' details need to be added to the MCS register with a date of joining.  After her details are added she will start receiving WI Life, she will receive a New members pack from the Federation via her email or the Hornblower envelope sent to your WI and she will also receive a new member pack sent to her from National but only if her details are put on within three months of her joining. It is important that the MCS is kept up to date not only by adding new members but deleting members who are no longer in your WI.

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