The beginning of the year is always an exciting time for the WI. It’s a chance for our individual groups to look ahead to a carefully co-ordinated programme of events that we can all enjoy together and for the WI’s National Federation, it’s a time to get active. Every year, the WI engages with the wider community, and indeed the country, by voting on the resolutions that have been put forward as our potential initiatives for the year. In January, every member of the WI gets a vote on which of the resolution they would choose as the main focus, and there were plenty of good causes to hear about.
The Swallowtails are a busy bunch, so we were incredibly grateful to our member Jenny who went to discover all about the six resolutions that were being tabled to give us an overview. Jenny relayed unbiased information relating to each resolution, and we went on to have a group discussion about them. The issues being considered are all emotive and important, and you can read up on them here.
• Alleviating loneliness
• FGM (female genital mutilation): More awareness for more action
• Equal access for all who need specialised maternal mental health services
• Provision of appropriate welfare and safe spaces for women and children in refugee camps
• Supporting women’s refuges
• Plastic soup: Keep microplastic fibres out of our oceans
It was interesting to find out how many of us had voted for each one. However, the most popular resolution in the room was ‘alleviating loneliness’.
After all this serious thought and discussion, it was time for a bit of fun as the second half of the meeting commenced. While the majority of the Swallowtails headed over to be taught crochet by Vicky, our treasurer, the rest of the group got down to some serious board game action. We had a lively game of Family Fortunes in which some of us got so excitable (Ok, it was me) that poor Vicky struggled to be heard talking stitches. But it was so much fun that there’s already talk of doing a social event involving board games this year outside of the meetings. Goodness knows what the volume might be like with added alcohol!
Six years ago I made a new year’s resolution to meet new people. I was stuck at home and bored, so I decided it was time to go out and try something new. I wasn’t sure where to start, I looked into volunteering and social groups but nothing felt quite right until I read an article in the Norfolk Magazine about the Golden Triangle Girls WI. I hadn’t considered joining a WI because I thought I was too young but this one was run by people my own age. It was just what I was looking for.
Trying something new is always nerve wracking. I can still remember the sick feeling as I walked into a room full of strangers. I also remember that I was ready for a change, ready to meet different people and hopefully make some friends. Little did I know that I sat down at a table with someone who would become one of my best friends and we would go on to start our own WI.
It took time to get to know the other members but just showing up and seeing the same faces every month really helped. I could take things slowly and as I relaxed I talked to more people. It was great having the speaker or activity as a focal point, there was something to chat about. I soon joined the committee and the craft club. All of a sudden I had a social life with dates in my diary, events to look forward to and lovely women to share them with.
Joining the WI was one of the best things I’ve ever done. I’m always happy to renew my membership as I know I get so much value from it. If you join in January it costs £39.00 and for that you get a minimum of eleven meetings and eight copies of the WI magazine, WI Life, as well as access to the resources and information on the members only website. To find out more visit the WI website.
If you’re feeling restless and want more from life you should try the WI. You’ll have an instant social life, meet incredible women and develop amazing new friendships. I certainly did.
First appeared in the EDP WI Week column, 31st December 2016
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