Last month Kate and I attended the Federation Annual Meeting. It was my second meeting and I was again overwhelmed by how many members of the WI filled St Andrews Hall. Women from across the county came to hear three amazing female speakers including Jane Whitbread from Schoolreaders, Sarah Cross from the Jon Egging Trust and Felicity Aston MBE an Antarctic scientist and polar explorer.
As a writer and avid reader I was particularly interested in Schoolreaders, a national organisation that arranges for volunteers to go into local schools to hear children read. It’s so important for children to get support and encouragement as they are learning to read. Many don’t have an adult who is able to take the time to sit with them, so Schoolreaders provides an invaluable service. I was shocked that one in ten households in Britain don’t own a single book. I can’t imagine my life without books. Some of my favourite memories are being read to as a child or escaping to my room to get lost in a Nancy Drew or Famous Five novel.
The WI supports Schoolreaders and they are keen to get more volunteers. It’s very accessible, the organisation matches you with a local school and you let them know the day and time that’s best for you. You only need to volunteer for an hour or two a week and they understand if you need time off to go away on holiday. It’s something I would love to get involved with and I heard a number of women expressing an interest. You can find more details on the Schoolreaders website.
In the afternoon we were surprised to discover that the Swallowtail WI had won an Adviser’s Accolade in the New Institute Category. It is a huge honour and one that I and the other Swallowtails are very proud of. We were commended for our enjoyable monthly meetings, interesting programme, community involvement and friendly members. These are all qualities we aim for within our WI and it is wonderful to be recognised by the advisers.
EDP WI Week for 1st April 2017 - Claire Wade
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