When the country went into lockdown, the Swallowtail WI Committee knew that we’d have to adapt if we wanted to continue to provide a WI experience to our members.
One of our main challenges was to keep up the connection between Swallowtails when the majority of the committee was still working full-time. Our priority was our meetings, and we were fortunate that we had some time before our April get together to change our format.
Our speaker, the writer and historian Lucy Santos had been scheduled to give us a talk about the curious history of radium at the Gage Road chapel. Lucy kindly recorded the talk as a private video on YouTube and then joined us on a Zoom call to participate in a Q&A session. Everyone who attended found Lucy’s presentation fascinating and the discussion that followed was equally as engaging.
For our May meeting, we decided to hold a quiz. Our secretary Kate acted as quiz mistress, and there were lots of laughs as we battled for the top spot. The winning Swallowtail was Suzanne, with Nikki coming in second. Both ladies received an Amazon voucher as a reward for their intellectual efforts.
In June, we’re trying something different again – a craft-a-long. Vice President Claire is going to teach the group to make butterfly garlands using a few easy-to-source supplies. Many of our members love crafting – we even have a dedicated craft group – so we’re sure this will be fun for all as we get crafty.
Our meetings are characterised by fun and friendship, so it was vital for us to keep in touch as much as we could. After a suggestion from members, we created the Swallowtail Chit Chat group which meets once a month for a Zoom call and also has a dedicated Facebook group for daily nattering. We know that everybody is having a different experience in lockdown, so being there to show support and provide companionship is vital. So far, it’s been a big success, and we’re looking forward to more of the same.
Claire took the time to write cards to each member to let them know we are all thinking of them and to extend the offer of help and support. We want our members to know that we are there to help and listen if they need it, so those cards were a personal reminder that each Swallowtail is in our thoughts.
Little groups of members have been keeping up on smaller Zoom calls together. One of our committee members works in A&E, so we have been keen to speak to her regularly and find out how she’s coping. Other members have been doing lots of community-spirited crafting, recycling and baking to help their communities. From making scrubs to making batches of cupcakes for the Baking-a-difference initiative, our girls have been working hard during the lockdown.
There are plenty of animal lovers in our group, so it’s no surprise that once lockdown eased, the dog-walking meet recommenced – complying to social distancing, of course. As well as our pet pooches, members have been captivated by the Hog Blog – run by our member Kirsty and her husband. They’ve cultivated a following after playing host to some adorable hedgehogs in their garden and updates from them on Facebook and at meetings have been a real treat.
We miss meeting up face-to-face, and we know it could be a long time until we can go back to our venue. But in the middle of lockdown, the friendship and bonds between the Swallowtails have only become stronger and it’s been incredibly moving to see. We want to thank our members for continuing to e\ngage and be a part of the Swallowtail WI, and we look forward to making new memories together in the summer.
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