Apart from our paid staff — a full time Federation Secretary, part-time administrator and part-time book-keeper — everything else at Federation level is undertaken by unpaid volunteers. This includes the Board of Trustees (Chairman, Treasurer, plus nine Trustees, seven Advisers — one of whom is also a Trustee — plus two in training, committee members and those who hold Federation posts).
It is these volunteers who shape and deliver, in their own time, everything offered by the Federation.
We provide a wide range of ‘services’ that are available to members. Here are some examples, although the list is not comprehensive.
Education and Events
As a charity, the WI’s prime aim is, and always has been, education. We offer a wide range of events, such as online talks on a variety of subjects, outings to places of interest, workshops in cookery, craft, gardening etc. Many of these events are put on at cost, and many members who attend our workshops share the knowledge and skills they have acquired with their WIs, for the benefit of all.
Coupled with education is our role as a vehicle for providing training opportunities. These include preparing for the role of Treasurer or an Independent Financial Adviser, Food Hygiene Certificates, WI officer roles, public speaking, demonstrator training, craft and cookery judge training, information technology etc. Not only can the acquisition of these skills also benefit the member’s WI, but some members have found they have boosted their employment opportunities.
WI Advisers are available on request to support all aspects of the day to day running of the Federation’s WIs. The training of Advisers is done by NFWI but paid for by the Federation.
We are active in public affairs, providing briefings on resolutions, affiliation to the Associated Countrywomen of the World, and participating in campaign initiatives.
We have groups catering for those interested in photography and craft work and hopefully our choir, the Surrey Serenaders will be back in song next month.
We have an archivist who advises on the keeping of current records and manages the preservation of past Federation and WI records.
Our magazine editor is a retired professional journalist who edits and designs our monthly magazine from home and also produced the booklet Stitches in Time featuring the wall hangings kept at HQ and the stories attached to them.
In addition, there are other, less visible (and glamorous) tasks, which members carry out for the Federation:
- We have just completed a lengthy, time consuming and complex legal process to ensure that the NFWI and SFWI Articles of Association (AofA), and the WI Constitution are compliant with the Companies Acts 1985 to 2006 and the Charity Commission.
- The Federation’s Policies and Terms of Reference are constantly appraised and revised to ensure that they are fit for purpose in an ever-changing environment.
A link between our members and the National Federation of Women’s Institutes
Our role also includes processing, interpreting, disseminating and implementing NFWI processes, policies and the election of the NFWI Board members etc.; administrating and ticketing of the NFWI Annual Meeting (which is a requirement of the AofA) and disseminating information about NFWI events, initiatives and guidance on matters such as resuming meetings.
Marketing the WI
This includes new branding for the Federation: a logo, new website, our monthly magazine and a much more visible social media presence in order to raise the profile of the Federation and its constituent WIs and aid recruitment. We ensure that the WI is represented at county shows to highlight our work, raise our profile and recruit new members.
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