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Chairman’s NewsAnnie Rodwell 2019
Anne Rodwell (Great Doddington Evening WI)

I am writing this looking out at a very wet day in the middle of a wet January!  Reflecting on the pandemic and how it has impacted on every aspect of our lives and wondering if we will ever get back to “normal”. So whilst having to stay indoors I shall phone a WI friend to share a story, or follow an interesting thread on WI Facebook page, I might even have a look at Chris Farmer’s “Thought for the Day” on her Facebook page.

If you too are looking to fill your time until we can get together again I would encourage you to book onto any or all of our forthcoming Zoom talks advertised in this newsletter. They range from a talk by a pilot from the Red Arrows, a Safari around London, an Art Workshop by the Quirky Bird or taking afternoon tea with Baroness Bolsover. Hopefully something for everyone there. For now, I will go and bake a cake (and probably eat most of it too), what else can be done in Lockdown? (Answers on a postcard please








The WI Inspiring Women

Here is some news that NFWI has asked us to forward on to you.

/Together survey

The NFWI is part of /Together, a coalition of organisations like the NHS and the Scouts as well as local community organisations. The coalition is now running Talk/together: the UK’s biggest-ever conversation about what divides us, what unites us and what will bring us closer together. They would love to hear the views of WI members and therefore are asking all WIs to contribute by sharing the survey and encouraging as many members as possible to take part.

The survey should only take five minutes and can be found here. The deadline to complete this survey is the end of December.

Updated resuming meetings guidance

In light of the recent changes to Government guidelines in England and Wales, we have updated the NFWI resuming meetings guidance on My WIhere. If you copy and paste this information to share with members, please be aware that the guidance sometimes changes daily, so please direct them to Gov.uk for the most up to date guidelines.

Please be aware that there will be a number of appendices that will give information on specific areas such as any exemptions, accommodating visitors and new members and a risk assessment template. These are not ready yet and will be added to My WI as soon as they have been approved. There is a full list of the topics that will be covered at the end of the main guidance.

Pro-rata subscription rate

We are delighted to announce a change to the former pro-rata subscription rate ineligibility period of 10 years. Following feedback from members and very careful consideration by the Board of Trustees, this ineligibility period has been reduced to 1 year.

The aim is to maintain the function of having an ineligibility period for former members so WIs are not disrupted by individuals switching their membership on and off, while bringing in the most welcoming and encouraging approach possible for our former WI members who wish to re-join. This will also support WIs wishing to reach out to their former members and invite them back – helping to retain as many members as possible.

This will come into action from 1st April 2021 so it can be active and applied throughout the next pro rata year.

There are so many life events that can lead to women feeling they have to give up their WI membership, such as moving house, new career, becoming a mother, periods of debilitating illness, increased demands on time due to caring etc. We know that many of these members would like to re-join as soon as they feel able to and their WIs want to be as accommodating as possible to help them do so. Reducing the pro rata ineligibility period to 1 year will we hope be a very practical and impactful way of enabling WIs to offer this understanding and support.

There are a few elements we want to clarify that you may get questions about:

  • This only applies from April 2021 going forward (no retrospective refunds or arrangements can be made for former members who re-joined before this date).
  • The rules on dual membership remain the same. Dual members only pay the WI portion to their second WI so there is no pro rata rate for this.

All levels of the WI (NFWI, federations and WIs will obviously need to review their literature / websites / Facebook etc. to make sure all the wording on joining the WI reflects this change from April 2021.

This will also be communicated to members via WI Life, My WI and social media.

Step into the WI Winter Warmer

We have launched a virtual winter fair with festive craft projects, recipes, quizzes, puzzles and information about supporting local food banks, women's refuges and women’s prisons at Christmas. This will be live throughout December and the beginning of January. Visit our website to step inside.