CHAIRMAN’S MESSAGE – 3 MARCH 2021
Hello, I hope that you have been able to enjoy the Spring like weather of this past week. Unfortunately, according to the forecast, it is going to get much colder again by the weekend which will be a great shock to the birds and plants as well as to ourselves. The ducks I can see from my window have been really amorous, so I hope they have somewhere cosy lined up!
On Monday (1 March), myself, Gail Pussard our Federation Treasurer, and WI delegates attended a virtual meeting called by the NFWI under the rules of the Companies Act. This was held as part of the legal procedure necessary to amend the WI Constitution and other documents so that, in the future, other ways of holding meetings and voting can be used when it is not possible to meet face to face. There are clear definitions of the circumstances to which this will apply. Every WI in the UK had had the opportunity to vote on these changes and these votes were carried forward through the Federation Representatives and Link Delegates and officially recorded at this meeting. The result will be published soon and will appear on our Hampshire website.
The votes for the 2021 resolution have now been collated and ratified by NFWI, so that later on in June, after the NFWI AGM another vote can be held to confirm our new campaign. The winner by a huge majority was the resolution calling on everyone to raise awareness of the subtle signs of ovarian cancer.
At the time of writing, I have not received any updated details about the NFWI Annual meeting, but either Karen or myself will keep you updated with this when the new plans are published.
Plans for our Hampshire AGM/SCM are moving forward rapidly and yesterday Karen and I met on Zoom to discuss the Agenda, timings and script. It is just under three weeks away, on the 23 March, so please support your Federation by reserving your ticket now. The price is just £10.00 and more details and the application form can be found by clicking here on the Hampshire website, Events page.
Talking of tickets, have you booked your place for the presentation by Alan Pascoe on the 19 March? Adam is a horticulturist and journalist and will be giving a presentation entitled ‘Create a Garden for All Seasons’ - a must for everyone with a garden whether it is large or small. Please click here for more information.
Also, have you ever made your own fridge magnet? Now is the chance to have a go. On Saturday 27 March, Fareham Town WI member Mady Oakenfull is hosting an Easter Bonnet fridge magnet ‘make along’. The basic ticket price is £5.00 but for an extra £3.00 a kit will be posted to you including the magnet and other vital pieces, so that all you have to find are two milk container tops, pva glue and masking tape. To join in and think that you may already have all of the materials needed, or just wish to be an observer, then you do not have to buy the kit, so the cost is only the £5.00 ticket price. Again, please click here for full details or the ‘events’ on the website. I am going to have a go and hope to see you there.
As we go into this gradual unlock, some plans are being amended and new ones coming into play, so please keep an eye on our website for the latest news.
Until next time,
HAMPSHIRE FEDERATION TREASURER, GAIL PUSSARD
Dear Fellow Members
Whilst I think we all suspected there would be a restriction in the South because of the Covid-19 virus, possibly by moving from tier 1 to tier 2. The sudden full lockdown was a shock. Especially as the Federation was moving to have our furloughed staff back (albeit on reduced hours) and to reopen WI House. So WI House is closed again and staff are working from home. However, someone does go into WI House on a regular basis to check on the house and also to process the post (bank any cheques and record any event applications etc).
I am very conscious of the need to get the refunds out to everyone who have paid for any event which has been cancelled due to Covid-19. It would really help to speed up the process if we did not have to write cheques – it is very time consuming to write the cheque and envelope; then we need to get the cheques to two signatures to sign; and finally we need to post them.
A quicker method is for the Federation to pay any refund by Bank Transfer. Although this needs two Trustees to authorise, this is done electronically and there is no requirement to travel to pass pieces of paper. I know we have heard the comment “we don’t do internet banking”. However, the Federation paying you by bank transfer does not require either you as an individual or your WI to be doing internet banking.
So, if you are seeking a refund for any event cancelled, please would you email me the following information:
If tickets were purchased by your WI, the Federation may not know exactly which members have paid. Therefore, we will be crediting your WI. If you are the WI Treasurer and your WI hasn’t provided the above information, please would you send me your WI’s bank details.
I can promise you that for individuals, the bank details will not be retained and only used to refund any money due to you.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Based on the government’s published roadmap, detailing the possible lifting of restrictions over the coming months, it is evident that we will be unable to deliver the Annual Meeting in June in the way we had initially anticipated.
Though we had hoped not to have to use it, a huge amount of work has been going on behind the scenes in order to be prepared for this scenario. As a result the team will be working over the coming days to finalise a revised plan for the event and to share these details with you. Our NFWI Board are meeting this week and need time to consider the various options and agree how to proceed. However, as I am sure you will understand from your own event planning, we will need to do this carefully and sensitively, ensuring we have engaged fully with the Royal Albert Hall and our speakers in the process before publicly changing our plans in any way. We are particularly conscious how difficult today’s news will be for the Royal Albert Hall, especially in what is their 150th anniversary year.
I wanted however to contact you this evening to simply acknowledge the impact of the government announcement, reassure you that we are working towards an alternative plan and let you know that we will be in touch shortly. We will of course contact you with the revised details for the Annual Meeting before we share this more publicly. We will however put a ‘holding’ message on our social media channels this evening, acknowledging the impact of today’s announcement, which will hopefully reduce the many inevitable questions directed at you and us over the coming days.
We know this has been a difficult topic, with our members so divided between those who have access to and who have embraced technology and those who feel disenfranchised by digital events and are keen to see the NFWI resuming some face-to-face activities, but as it is this is now out of our hands. I know many of you will be in similar situations with events during the late Spring and Summer and so will also have difficult decisions to make. If you do speak with members however then please do reassure them that NFWI will still have an Annual Meeting this year (it is not our intention to ‘cancel’ it) and that we will do everything we can to make this an exciting and accessible event, just not in the way we had initially planned for. Despite the challenges posed by ongoing restrictions, we still have a fantastic programme scheduled with some incredible speakers and so it is our intention to simply deliver the event in a different way. Therefore please don’t delete the date from your diaries and we will be in touch with an update later this week, including information that will help you decide on how to proceed with any bookings you have placed.
The WI is a democratic, social and educational charity and gives members the opportunity to build new skills, make new friends and be inspired. We encourage members to take part in a wide variety of activities and to campaign on issues that matter to them and their Communities. WIs meet once a month.