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Something to look forward to in 2021

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Something to look forward to in 2021 

The Entertainment, Leisure and Fund Raising Committee has been working tirelessly during lockdown to investigate virtual events for members. The following events have been booked provisionally, so please save the dates. Full details will be in February’s magazine and watch out for them on Eventbrite.

  • Thursday, February 18: An Insight into Forensic Science with Hayley Scott, 6-7pm; £5.00
  • Thursday, February 25: An introduction to painting with acrylics with Alice May Tompkins, 6pm-7pm, £6.50; 
  • Monday, March 8: The Birds of Surrey with Alan Sharpe of the RSPB. 6-7pm. £5.00

Also in the pipeline are: 

  • 􏰀Virtual tours of places in the UK with perhaps a venture overseas; 
  • 􏰀Art tutorials, from taster to refresher classes; portraiture, landscape, buildings and architecture, town, country and coastal scenes; 
  • 􏰀Live talks/interviews with authors. 

Thank you for supporting the virtual events that have been organised during this dreadful period. We look forward to welcoming you in 2021. 

Marion Mitchell, Chairman, ELF committee 

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A coffee a week can do so much 

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A coffee a week can do so much 

ACWW would like you to consider donating a small amount of money regularly — as you would if you were attending our monthly meetings. 

Pennies for Friendship was based on small donations from individuals over a vast membership which can sustain the work of the ACWW. Together we can achieve more. 

ACWW does not receive any government funding, nor does it rely on grants or funding partnerships with bigger organisations. It is fully reliant on its membership and supporters to continue with its vital work improving the lives of rural women around the world. 

In many ways this is a good thing. It means it has the freedom to pursue only the interests of its members, and only in the ways that it knows from more than 90 years of experience will benefit them. 

It is not constrained by funding agreements or government priorities; in fact, it is able to hold governments, companies, and even international bodies to account without any fear, because it knows that its members are the only invested stakeholders. 

So, please consider making a regular donation of a small sum. The price of a cup of coffee a week soon mounts up. See the donations page on — look under Support ACWW. Thank you. 

Jill Mulryan, Associated Countrywomen of the World rep 

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Wanted: Digital champions to help other WIs

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Wanted: Digital champions to help other WIs 

Have you embraced technology more this year, and do you want to share your newly learned skills? 

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown (nearly) all of us that we need to use the digital world in both our personal and WI lives. 

Members have embraced a number of digital initiatives, from online courses to Facebook, and we want to assist those who are not as comfortable with getting online to develop this important part of their journey. 

The Digital Working Group is looking for members to assist and train other members on how to set up and use the IT facilities that are now or soon to be available within the Federation. 

You must have some IT experience, mostly using Microsoft programmes. Ideally you will need to have experience in set- ting up computers/tablets/mobiles and possibly the Apple equivalents. 

Experience of social media would be great. We will provide training for aspects of work we’d like your help with. 

We are planning to roll out Office 365 to all levels of the Federation. Our Digital Champions will help members get online and learn how to use Office 365 and new email addresses, and be involved with other ex- citing digital projects we’d like to roll out to help members feel more comfortable with the online world. 

The Digital Champion is expected to promote the use of the Federation and NFWI websites, and and MyWI Websites, MCS, social media and Zoom across Surrey, and provide train- ing and assistance where necessary on all things digital. 

If this sounds like something you’d like to be involved with, please contact Toto James, Head of Digital, via the office. 

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The 2021 Eileen Bowler Competition

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Something to keep you occupied in January — the 2021 Eileen Bowler Competition! 

This year it is for a child’s outfit made from an article bought from a charity shop. You may add any sewing accessories and a little additional fabric if you wish, but it must make up less than a quarter of the total. A picture of the original article must be included with your entry. 

Details of where to send entries will be given in the February issue of SWIN, depending on whether the Federation office is open and able to receive them, or whether they need to go to an Home Economics committee member.

Meriel Sexton, Home Economics, Craft and Gardening Committee. 

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What’s New from HQ (January 2020)

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What’s new from HQ

A mailing will be sent to all WI secretaries at the end of January/beginning of February. We have spent a lot of time working through the information forms provided by WIs to check that the information on MCS is correct, so that these lists are as accurate as possible. 

The mailing will include the following, but please check the accompanying letter for up to date details: 

  • 􏰀Presidents and Secretaries List 2021
  • 􏰀Annual Review 2020
  • 􏰀Two copies of 2021 Yearbook

Please use this edition to book your speakers. 

Non-data protected information can be found under the document library on our Federation website, — the Membership Fees Form; Keeping of Records and The WI Year. 

Please look at the website, which is regularly updated with new files and documents and contains lots of resources. Let us know if you would like a hard copy of any document and we will post if to you. 

Karen, Jeanie and Katie would like to wish all members a healthy and happy 2021. 

Karen Whitehead, Federation Secretary 

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Message from our Federation Chairman (January 2021)

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Let’s make it a Happy New Year! 

As the New Year 2020 dawned I made a resolution on our behalf, that we would “resolve to recognise and utilise members’ strengths, celebrate our differences and work together to further progress our WIs.” 

Little did any of us know what the world would throw at us and how you, as WI members, would rise to the challenge. What you have done during 2020 far out- strips anything I could have imagined in the way that you have served both your WIs and your communities. What you have achieved is extraordinary. 

But why, I ask myself, do people respond to a crisis in such a way? I was reminded of a phrase in the Prince of Wales’ address at the Festival of Remembrance when he said that “many have offered a shining example of selfless commitment and how those, even in their later years, can achieve so much good by placing others ahead of themselves.” This led me to muse on the theme of service. 

I was educated in a northern grammar school in the 1960s whose motto was To Learn, To Serve. This characterised the ethos of our school and fashioned every aspect of our education. It’s not surprising therefore that the idea of service has guided my personal philosophy. 

It is a complete coincidence however that I have lived for over thirty years in the village of Deepcut, that has been driven by its dedication to service for generations as home to the Royal Army Ordnance Corps, sadly not for much longer as the barracks are being replaced by a huge housing estate. I do find it intriguing that the Garrison Church is dedicated to St Barbara, patron saint of all things explosive! 

But I digress. Service has always been a factor in the life of my family, whether it was my grandfather in the Royal Horse Artillery at nearby Aldershot, post-World War 1, or my parents taking on many voluntary roles in the community. It’s not surprising therefore that the WI found its way into my life. What was your journey into the WI? 

The year 2020 has not only been the year of Covid-19, but it also marked the 75th Anniversary of VE and VJ day; the former, many of us celebrated in our gardens during lockdown. There was a sense that we shared a communality with the people of those times as we battled with all that Covid-19 threw at us. 

I was deeply moved by further sentiments of the Prince of Wales at the Festival as he spoke about the way that peoples’ response to Covid-19 had “reaffirmed our faith in each other and in our communities and seen afresh that service to others underpins our community” and that “the very best of our country has been on conspicuous display” throughout the pandemic, reminding us that “heroes and heroines are all around us and take many forms.” You, the ladies of the WI immediately sprang to mind and should be justly proud. 

I was touched also by the words of Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, in a re-broadcast of an edition of Thought for the Day to mark his death. It was a reflection on the theme of loving life and wanting to improve the life of others. 

In it he considered the cornerstones of our lives — the physical, the intellectual, the spiritual and the moral, thoughts that must have correlated with our own personal reflections over the last year as we have had time to ponder on such matters during the pandemic. 

It further prompted me to evaluate what WI members have achieved during 2020. You have never given way to disillusionment or despair but have lived life and loved life, and in so doing have greatly enhanced the life of others in your communities. 

I want to leave you with one final reflection: to belong to things is crucial to both our community and our identity, whether it be country, faith or an organisation like the WI. As we are slowly eased out of lockdown and return to some sort of normality, the WI will play a critical role in this process, and each of you can be key players. In 2021, let us continue to work together to serve and to enrich our communities and, in turn, to raise the pro- file of our organisation. 

Let us together make this a Happy New Year.

Carol A. Gartrell, Federation Chairman

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January Surrey WI News now available here

By News

January’s Surrey WI News is now available for you to read online.

In this month’s edition you can see the new and exciting virtual events coming up in the new Year, updates from HQ, ACWW news, how you can support your fellow WI’s with getting online and much much more.

Please click on the following link to view on your phone, tablet or computer via Flipsnack the January edition of Surrey WI News.

If you would like some help accessing the digital version of SWIN, there is now a user guide on how to access the online version, download it and print it. The user guide can be read here.

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