The WI has a wonderful reputation for being a hub of crafting, cooking and creativity, but it also has serious political clout. Over the years, our members have campaigned for all manner of different causes – from saving the bees to ‘Keeping Britain Tidy’. This year, we’ve been asked to vote on two issues that may be taken forward as the official WI resolutions for 2017. They are ‘Alleviating Loneliness’ and ‘Plastic Soup: Keep microplastic fibres out of our ocean’.
What’s interesting is that loneliness is still seen by many as something primarily affecting the elderly. But the truth is that people of all ages can face loneliness, even if they are in perfect physical health and full employed. The Swallowtails had a good debate about the issue of loneliness, and we were keen to explore ways we could help younger people dealing with it and finding life tough. After our vote found the members unanimously in favour of the resolution, it looks as though we’ll be busy doing our bit to help alleviate loneliness in our community shortly.
The second resolution also found favour with our members. Many of us wear synthetic clothing, and it was shocking to hear details of how washing those clothes contributed to the microplastic contamination of our oceans. It was interesting to hear the views of our members on the subject, especially when we considered whether it should be the role of government to tackle this problem or that of the manufacturers of washing machines or the retailers who make and sell synthetic clothes.
We won’t find out whether one, both or either of the resolutions will be carried forward by the WI until the votes are announced at the National Federation meeting in Liverpool later this summer. It’ll be interesting to see how the rest of the membership feels about these complex subjects.
After the serious business was over, we got stuck into some serious crafting. The challenge was for us to all decorate a triangle of bunting to showcase the eclectic talents of our group. There were some magnificent pieces made, and it’ll be awesome to see them joined up and accompanied by our name in the finished bunting. Now we just need to throw a fabulous garden party to display it!
At our May meeting we’re going to be voting on this year’s proposed resolutions, one of which is alleviating loneliness. The resolution calls on WI members to work alongside health and social care providers and our local community to raise awareness of the causes and impacts of loneliness. The aim is to better identify lonely people and offer them assistance and support.
I think that joining a WI is a great first step for any women who feel lonely. It gives you something to look forward to every month and many WIs have groups and activities between each meeting. I have something WI related nearly every week and it has filled my social calendar and helped me make friends. I’m not isolated anymore and I’m definitely much happier.
I love flower arranging and find it really relaxing, so I can’t wait for the Swallowtails to get involved. I and some of the other members are going to be putting together a few small posies to leave locally - so keep an eye out for them. Hopefully they will cheer people up and maybe even encourage some new women to join the WI.
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