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Zoom with June – Our SWIN Editor

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Surrey WI News editor June Green is now on Zoom. If any WI would like to host a session, she would be pleased to join a discussion about SWIN and answer any questions about the magazine you may have. You can also see her in all her lockdown hair glory.

Please email her on if you are interested.

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Getting Your WI Online – We’re here to help!

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Getting your WI online – We’re here to help!
We know that the last few months have not been easy for WI’s, with meetings and activities being cancelled and face to face contact not being possible. Now more than ever, it’s so important to keep connected and in touch with family and friends, with the WI being able to play a vital role in making our members feel less isolated and alone. 
We’ve been hearing some great stories from WI’s across Surrey who have been able to engage with their members during lockdown, through holding some of their meetings and activities online, helping to provide a little slice of normality. However we completely understand that not everyone feels comfortable and confident in being able to join or run a meeting online. 
Would you like to hold a WI meeting online but don’t know where to start? 
SFWI are here to help! We here to support WI’s to run online meetings through Zoom (an online video calling service) and to help members feel confident in accessing it. Zoom can be used to host a speaker for members to listen to, or you can run a quiz or just have a social cup of tea and a catch up together. 
It is really simple and easy to use and can be accessed on a laptop, computer, iPad or even a smart phone. We are here to provide 1-2-1 or group training and step by step support to help you feel comfortable using it and to answer any questions or concerns that you may have.
If you would like some more information, please contact Becky Warburton on, who will be more than happy to help you get started.

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Message from our Federation Chairman (August 2020)

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It’s time for some ‘blue sky’ thinking 

As July morphs into August, many of us can celebrate, for the first time since March, a little freedom; the opportunity to spend un- limited time with our family and friends, and even to go on holiday. It has been a long and challenging and sometimes also an enlightening journey. There have been many hardships and deprivations and for some, the requirement to endure these alone. Different for each one of us, but nevertheless very real. It is now time to look forward, perhaps with a little trepidation for fear of the unknown, but we can all now take small steps into a new future, into the post Covid-19 world. 

But first I would like to look back over the recent times, not to relive or to recount, but to acknowledge the wonderful deeds that members of WIs across the county have undertaken. I have read in SWIN over the last few months of the generosity of WI members, whether it be sewing or baking, shop- ping or caring, phoning and supporting. 

It seems that every member has done their best to make the lives of those around them, in their WIs, communities and families, better and safer through the precious gifts of time and skill. 

I am in awe of what you have achieved, and immensely proud. Never let it be said that the WI is an organisation of the past, of Jam and Jerusalem. Yes, we can and do make jam, and we can sing Jerusalem, although, for the moment it must be sung outside, socially distanced and at a reduced volume. 

As a musician I find it bizarre but understand- able that to sing, a practice that is an integral feature of every culture on the planet and has such healing properties, is strongly discouraged. Once again we have demonstrated that, in a crisis, the WI can make a significant difference. 

So, what of the rest of 2020 and onwards into 2021? Many of us will find comfort in know- ing that as soon as we are able, many of our much loved and well attended Federation events and workshops will return. But, at the moment, it is time for ‘blue skies thinking’, very appropriate for the beautiful July morn- ing on which I write (and a memorable one, as the wren I have watched backwards and forwards to her nest has just introduced her four tiny fledglings to our world). 

But I digress. We have learned, through these difficult times, that although personal interaction is key to our existence as humans, at times of crisis we can find other ways to communicate with family, friends and fellow WI members. 

Will we, and how can we, now make use of these newly found skills? This is a challenge that the Federation committees are currently addressing. Watch this space. 

This is where you also come in as a WI member. There may be little opportunity to meet together in large groups for some time, so what can you do as a WI committee to replace your monthly meeting in a hall? 

For a time, small may well be more beautiful. How can you integrate communications technology to deliver a meeting? There are many WIs who are already enjoying their monthly meetings using
conferencing technologies like Zoom. There are still another three months of the year when socially distanced walks, garden events and outdoor visits can take place. Why don’t you take this opportunity to arrange one for your members before the winter sets in? You don’t have to be a committee member to arrange an informal meeting. 

As we open our eyes to a new world, post- Covid, let’s not forget that the key challenge of our time, climate change, is the crucial one. Our growing Public Affairs team, under the leadership of Hilary Brooks, is keen to engage you in campaigning. This is one of the key ways that the WI has made significant changes for the better to the lives of women over its 105-year history, and today is no different. So get involved in the ‘Stem Cell Donation’ and ‘End Modern Slavery’ campaigns. 

Very many of you have selflessly given your time and energies since March. Some of you will have put your own lives at risk for the benefit of others. We are most grateful for all that you have done. 

As we move forward let’s retain this sense of community and solidarity. Let’s realise once again that together we can make a difference. Let’s ensure that together the WI takes a leading role in this new world. Let’s craft it in a way that improves the lives of women. Let’s see this as a time of rebirth and renewal, an opportunity to rethink the way we do things. 

And finally let’s share in the inspirational words of Malala Yousafzai: There are two powers in the world; one is the sword and the other is the pen. There is a third power stronger than both, that of women.

Carol Gartrell, Chairman

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Southey Cup 2020 – Winners Announced

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This year’s competition for The Southey Cup was designed to discover how you advertise your WI and promote it to attract new members. Entries were to be no more than two sides of A4 paper containing either:

  • Your written programme;
  • a download from your website or social media;
  • photographs; or
  • something else.

The results of the 2020 Southey Cup are as follows:

1st Streatham WI

2nd Cuddington WI

3rd Cheam WI

The membership committee would like to thank all of the WIs that entered this competition.

Next years schedule will be announced in the near future.

Please also find here the two sides of the winning entry which creates a tri fold, menu style programme. Streatham WI say that they thoroughly enjoyed the process of selecting dishes that made the final cut on their menu and those they were able to taste before and after lockdown.

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August Surrey WI News now available here

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

In this month’s edition there is plenty of interesting reading including: the Southey Cup winners, the proposal to close Denman, the Black Lives Matter movement and much more.

It is available to view on your phone, tablet or computer via Flipsnack@ August Surrey WI News.

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Important update about Denman

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On behalf of the NFWI Board of Trustees, it is with great sadness that we announce our proposal to close Denman permanently. We appreciate this will be difficult news for you, as it is for the NFWI Trustees and our staff. Most of all, this is a difficult time for the dedicated and passionate Denman staff team who are at risk of redundancy.
For a number of years, Denman has been operating without unrestricted reserves and operating a cash-flow model reliant on future bookings. This has always made Denman vulnerable to any economic changes and particularly so during this period of complete lockdown.

Cancellation of the AFM 2020

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It is with great regret that the Board of Trustees has taken the decision to cancel the 2020 Annual Federation Meeting, that was to be held on October 5th.

At the present time, Dorking Halls do not know when they will be permitted to open or how many people they will be able to admit. It would likely be a significantly reduced number. It would also be unlikely that, under social distancing rules, we could have the stalls that you so enjoy and the great raffle. If we were able to run the event it would be at a significant financial loss to the federation, which would not be appropriate.

I very much hope that ‘We’ll meet again’ at Dorking Halls on Monday 15th March 2021.

Carol Gartrell, Chairman 

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NFWI Raffle is going ahead

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NFWI Raffle is going ahead

We’re pleased to confirm that the NFWI Raffle is going ahead this year.

NFWI have informed us that other than the first prize, all the prizes have been given to the Raffle free of charge by very generous donors and the WIE Board decided that the Raffle will continue to go ahead as planned.

The Raffle closes on Friday, 25 September 2020. The draw will take place as advertised on Friday, 9 October 2020 and the prize winners will be announced as usual during National Council towards the end of October.

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What’s New from HQ (July 2020)

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Message from our Federation Treasurer 

I am hoping to hold more workshops for Treasurers, Assistant Treasurers and anyone thinking about taking on the role during August/September, but as at the time of writing we do not know what the rules will be by then for social distancing we might be limited on numbers. If there is some sort of lockdown in place it may mean we will not be able to hold them at all or might have to change venues, but hopefully this will not be the case. 

The proposed dates and venues are: 

SFWI HQ, Guildford: Saturday, August 22, 10am-12.30 and Tuesday, August 25, 1.30pm-4pm. 

Oakhall Church, 181 Chaldon Road, Caterham, CR3 5PL: Wednesday, August 26, 1.30pm-4pm and Thursday, September 3, 10am-12.30pm. 

Please send in your booking or book via our website as soon as possible so we have it ready to process when we can confirm dates. If there is a large demand I will try and arrange additional dates, so early book- ing will enable me to review the need for more sessions. I will try and accommodate all bookings received by July 31 but it will be on a first come, first served basis. 

As in previous workshops I plan to cover what I consider the essential areas together with the areas I am asked about most often. These include: 

  • 􏰀What is the role of the treasurer? 
  • 􏰀How or where to record transactions; 
  • 􏰀Reconciling the bank account; 
  • 􏰀What is an agent? 
  • 􏰀Discussion of the type of expenditure that is allowed; 
  • 􏰀Practical problems resulting from bank closures; 
  • 􏰀Other topics as required. 

The workshop format means you can have input and will learn from other treasurers, not just me. Participation is helpful but not essential. However, this also means the top- ics covered in most detail are flexible as I will concentrate on what appears to be attendees’ main requirements. 

If you have specific queries about your WI’s figures I might have a chance to answer them, in which case please bring your lap- top or accounts book with you. WiFi ac- cess cannot be guaranteed. The current version of the Surrey spreadsheet and the treasurer’s handbook are available in the treasurer’s section of the Surrey Federation website.

Tickets cost £9 for the session. You can re- claim the ticket cost and reasonable travel costs from your WI if the members agree. Tea and coffee will be provided. I look forward to seeing you there. 

Sheena Landgraf, Federation Treasurer

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Message from our Federation Chairman (July 2020)

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Let’s celebrate the can, not the cannot 

Thirteen long weeks and counting! A time of great sadness as loved ones are mourned, of disappointment and frustration as anticipated days with family or friends have been lost, never to be retrieved. 

It has been punctuated by the love of those close, yet at a distance, of a first meet up with family and yet at two broomsticks’ length, from a two-year old grandson who reaches out for a helping hand that you can’t give. It’s heart breaking. Right now, I just want to meet ‘normally’ with my children and grandchildren and to meet informally with friends. 

At last there is a glimmer of the new future. Parks and gardens have thrown wide their gates, and non-essential shops are opening, but with socially distanced queues and floors criss-crossed with tape, inviting one to play hopscotch? 

I gaze at my diary that now records the past, rather than planning the future. It still records the WI summer that would have been, with dates crossed out only as I reach them, just in case. I live in hope. 

But there have been glimpses of normality. A socially distanced chat with SWIN editor June, in her beautiful garden, under the apple tree in much welcomed mizzly rain; long and wide ranging telephone conversations with Sheena, our Federation Treasurer, whom I have come to know so well, as we set both the WI and the world to rights. We have be- come much closer friends than we were pre- Covid. 

I am minded to reflect, although it’s quite hard to, on the benefits of the lockdown. The UK has been over 60 days with coal-free power production. One rotation of a wind turbine now produces enough to power a house for a day. 

How I long to see those great giants off Cromer, to hear the roar of the waves and swim in the sea. We are growing more and making-do-and-mending all manner of things. Many have re-engaged with the earth, whether it be a new allotment (Betty Dominy I am in awe!) or salad leaves on a window sill. At home, bottles have replaced plastic as we engaged a milkman, and car mileage is non- existent. 

But there have been unanticipated negatives. As we move into ‘Single-Use Plastic Free’ July, a global movement, supported by the Federation, there has been an increase in the use of single-use plastics, with increased numbers of take away meals, disposable face masks falling from overflowing bins, rubbish scattered at beauty spots and on beaches, left to disintegrate and to pollute water courses and seas, as people have been re- leased. 

What can we do to make a difference? Challenge yourself with the ‘Single-Use Plastic Free Bingo’, announced in the June edition and repeated on Page 9 of this one. Small changes can make a big difference. Challenge your fellow WI members, Zoom it. Even trustees play Zoom bingo, with Toto James as caller! I have already hidden my clingfilm, a great incentive to find alternatives. 

As the girth is slackened and we get back into the saddle, let’s take up the reins of life, to celebrate what we can do, rather than what we cannot. 

Let’s look forward to the second half of 2020. There is plenty of time yet to enjoy WI Life, even if in a different way. Let’s plan for the now, a socially distanced afternoon tea or walk, a picnic lunch outdoors or an open-air book club. But most of all, let’s celebrate that which is central to the WI — friendship. The thing that has kept us going through these long weeks and has made life worth it. Long live the WI! 

Carol Gartrell, Chairman

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