2019 NFWI Annual Meeting Delegates report

NFWI Annual Meeting 2019

Bournemouth International Centre - Wednesday 5 June

We boarded the coach at Kettering, Moulton, Towcester and Brackley and then we were on our way.  41 members of those we had 22 delegates plus a guide dog. Very shortly after picking up at Brackley we stopped for a coffee break.  This was after having an hilarious introduction from our driver Stewart, it does make a difference when your driver is friendly.  We then went on to Winchester where some of us picnicked on the green in front of the cathedral before it rained.  We had two hours there so had a good look around this beautiful city. Then it was on our way to Bournemouth through rain, sun, more rain and then settled sunny weather.  We arrived at our hotel about 4.30 pm and settled into our rooms which were very comfortable. What a brilliant hotel to be staying in opposite the conference centre, wheel and pier and a stone’s throw from the beach.  Perfect, well done Laura on your choice.  Some of us discovered other bridge players so settled down to a few hands, others paddled in the sea and many looked around the town.  We met up at 7pm for dinner where we had a room to ourselves which meant we could enjoy each other’s company. Friends together, you don’t need to know anybody because you make new friends so quickly on these trips.  Each table had a Membership & Training member to keep us in line! Jackie gave out the delegate information and advice was given to those who had not been before.  A few drinks passed our lips and then onto bed although some of us went out for an evening stroll.

Up for breakfast at a reasonable time as we did not need to be seated until 10.15 am and we literally had a 2 min walk to the centre, although we did have to queue to get in. We met other federations and had some good banter while we were waiting.  Once inside we were frisked (only joking) bags were checked and we then tried to look at the stands.  Difficult to do as it was so crowded.  We made our way to our seats and everybody was seated in good time.  What an amazing crowd of ladies numbering approximately 6000.

Lynne Stubbings welcomed us to the 2019 annual meeting and we sang Jerusalem with great gusto. Always moving. Lots of emotions passing through the hall.

Lynne opened the meeting reminding us it was the D-Day celebrations with the Queen and Donald Trump and other dignitaries.  It was also Environmental day she mentioned later.  Lynne went on to talk about the areas that were thriving in our WIs, Walking Netball, in which she took part not very well, although scored a goal in the practice,  I was at Denman when they hosted the England Netball ambassadors. Art and the female body is the next theme to take place, Performing arts 14 – 21 September when she hopes federations have some workshops etc taking place.

It has been 100 years of campaigning in October and there has been a lot of media interest on television and in the national papers.  Make time for Mental Health has been ongoing with action through postcards.  Health and Well Being launch 10 – 14 June when courses in armchair yoga, and other techniques can be learnt.  End Plastic Soup continuing to be addressed, on beach at Bournemouth dressed in blue.  Make do and Mend, Selby WI on the Breakfast Couch with the BBC, and so it goes on keeping all our campaigns alive with the public.  ‘Time is Now’ for Climate Change and there will be a mass lobby at Westminster on 26 June.  Lynne is asking all of us to contact our MP’s.  Cambridge Federation have made a scarf 5 metres long with the temperatures from 1918 -2018 to show climate change.

Finance is healthy and Denman is doing well but still has a deficit so keep going on those courses. There have been a number of legacies to help.

Attending this event makes you realise what a force we are to be reckoned with.

The two resolutions were both discussed one in the morning and one in the afternoon.  These were supported by expert speakers although no one spoke against Fear of the Smear.  Both were debated by the floor and were quite emotional.  They were both passed overwhelmingly and now resources will be produced by NFWI for use by our members.

The keynote speaker in the morning was the Right Hon Lord Bradley who is the chair of Care not Custody. This is an area close to the heart of a previous resolution and he works closely with the NFWI. Prizes were given out and then onto lunch.  Good sunny lunchtime so the delegates and others enjoyed the seaside,

Our afternoon speaker was Maggie Philbin broadcaster and many of us remember her on Tomorrows World, Swap Shop, The Big Bang etc.  She now heads up Teen Tech which takes technology into schools which is a big success. A very interesting speaker

Lynne finished the day with the words which describe the ethos of the WI membership.  FELLOWSHIP, TRUTH, TOLERANCE AND JUSTICE.  How thought provoking and useful to finish on such a topic.

Jerusalem, Land of My Fathers (in Welsh) and the National Anthem.  What an amazing sound.

The journey home was quick and uneventful with lots of chatter then quiet reflection.  Thank you to the Federation Trustees for inviting us and the office staff for organising such an amazing few days.

Jane Cooke

Yardley Hastings WI