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Choose a new name for SWIN

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We asked you to suggest a new name for Surrey WI News, aka SWIN, our monthly Federation magazine.

Here is the shortlist of names have been put forward, and now it’s your turn to choose the one you prefer.


They have been presented to give you some idea of how each suggestion might look if it became the new title for the magazine. There are also explanations as to the reasoning behind each suggestion. If you wish, you can vote to keep the status quo (option E). Please submit your choice in one of the following ways:

  • email your choice to info@surreyfedwi.org.uk (mark your email “SWIN Title”),
  • submit your response online via our Doodle poll, or
  • post it to Surrey Federation of WIs, 6 Paris, Parklands, Railton Road, Guildford, GU2 9JX by Friday, 30 April 2021.

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Give this Easter classic a try – Simnel Traybake

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Give this Easter classic a try – Simnel Traybake

Try this Easter recipe — selected by Betty Dominy, chair of our Home Economics, Craft and Gardening Committee. Simnel tray bake (pictured) as tested by Barbara Cavalier. 

Originally Simnel cakes were baked by girls in service to take home on Mothering Sunday. It is now more usual to eat them at Easter with eleven almond paste ‘eggs’ on the top rep- resenting all the Apostles except Judas. 

Ingredients

  • 150g butter, softened;
  • 75g light muscovado sugar;
  • 75g dark muscovado sugar;
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup;
  • 4 medium eggs, beaten;
  • 200g plain flour;
  • 1 tsp baking powder;
  • 1 tsp mixed spice;
  • zest of one lemon;
  • 350g mixed dried fruit;
  • 200g white or yellow marzipan;
  • 3 tbsp jam; and
  • icing sugar. 

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180c/fan 160c/gas 4. Grease and line a 7in square tin. 
  • Sift the flour/baking powder and mixed spice together. Put the butter, sugar and syrup in a mixing bowl and beat until light and fluffy (by hand or mixer). 
  • Gradually add the beaten eggs, adding a little flour if the mixture starts to curdle. Stir in evenly the flour mix, lemon zest and dried fruit. 
  • Spread half the cake mix evenly across the bottom of your lined tin. Coarsely grate the marzipan over the mixture and even out. Cover with the rest of the cake mixture and level the top. 
  • Bake for 30 – 45 minutes or until just firm to the touch.
  • Cool in tin for 10 minutes then put on a cooling rack to get cold. When cold dust with icing sugar. 
  • The cake can be decorated as follows:
    • Warm the jam and glaze the top of the cake. Lightly dust your work surface with icing sugar then think roll out the marzipan. Cut into 5mm strips and weave over the top of the cake to make a basket effect.
    • Or: glaze the top of the cake and roll out the yellow marzipan on a surface dusted with icing sugar. Cover the top of the cake with the marzipan and decorate for Easter.
  • The pictured cake (above) was left undecorated and cut into 16 portions. 

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There is no vaccine for climate change

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There is no vaccine for climate change 

The threat of climate change has gone from something that’s going to happen ‘some day’ to something that is happening now. Hence, Climate Emergency!

Through the campaigns run by the WI we have learnt so much about how we, as individuals, can reduce the damage inflicted on our environment.WI members have been bold enough to put forward resolutions and then determined enough to follow them through. I have huge respect for their efforts. 

We have hidden the clingfilm, mended our clothes, made soup using leftovers, walked to the shops with a shopping trolley, turned down the thermostat and put on a woolly jumper, changed our energy supplier to a renewable source — the list goes on. 

I would be the last person to discourage these efforts. Individual changes to reduce our carbon footprint are good because they normalise those choices and encourage others to do the same, but on their own they are never going to be enough to achieve the level of change needed. We need to prioritise the health and wellbeing of ALL life over money and profit. 

We can learn to live without fossil fuels and luxury but we can’t live without nature. Or maybe we can learn to live with different luxury, the luxury of birdsong, of clean air, of streams and woods full of life, of children’s voices echoing around neighbourhoods instead of engines. 

Last month many of you responded to the Show the Love campaign, part of the Climate Coalition’s response to the climate crisis.You made green hearts and displayed them where you could make an impact. The WI was one of the founder members of the Climate Coalition. MPs tell us that they don’t get much correspondence about the climate crisis from their constituents. We can change that — in your February WI Life there was a postcard for you to send to your MP. 

A recent poll showed that 80% of the British public recognise that we have a climate emergency. There is no vaccine. No-one is immune. 

A Private Member’s Bill introduced to Parliament in 2005 led directly to the 2008 Climate Change Act, at the time the most radical piece of legislation in the world. But we have more data now and we know that aiming for zero emissions by 2050 will be too late. 

Why are we moving so slowly?

The measures that are needed may be unpopular. They won’t win votes. If I was an MP I wouldn’t want to risk losing my seat. BUT if my constituents were repeatedly asking me to take stronger action, I would be more confident.

The Climate and Ecology Emergency (CEE) Bill, is a Private Member’s Bill, and needs the support of over 200 MPs to progress through Parliament.It is a response to the precarious situation we find ourselves in and is rooted in science. Its three main points are: 

  • We must stay with a carbon budget calculated to remain at or below 1.5 degrees C of warming and this budget must include our real carbon footprint based on ALL our consumption emissions and not based on ‘pie in the sky’ carbon capture technology. 
  • 􏰀We need to repair the habitats for our wildlife to halt the sixth mass extinction. 
  • The measures needed will be much more acceptable if they come from a cross-section of society, a Citizens’ Assembly to advise the Government.
  • Does your MP support the CEE Bill?

We mustn’t get disheartened by our individual efforts’ we do make a difference with every decision that we make. We can encourage each other to contact our democratically elected representatives to support the CEE Bill so that we can approach the COP 26 meeting in Glasgow with confidence and determination. 

Now where did I put that postcard?

Rosemary Horton, Climate Change Advocate

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Invitation to tea with the World President!

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Invitation to tea with the World President! 

As Surrey’s ACWW Representative I was invited to a virtual tea party with our World President, Magdie de Kock. It was uplifting hearing my fellow representatives being acknowledged as they joined the meeting; it reinforced the feeling of being part of Women of the World uniting to work for women’s empowerment. 

Phillipa Croft, Southern Counties representative co-ordintaor, hosted a Zoom information and discussion session with Tish Collins (Chief Executive Officer) and Nick Newland (Policy and Communications Manager). Items arising from the meeting to note are: 

  • Cheques, either for individual membership fees or donations can still be sent to ACWW, A04 Parkhall, London, SE1 8EN. A member of staff collects the post and does the banking twice a week. Please do not send money for ACWW to the Federation office. 
  • Please carry on knitting jumpers and hats, but hang on to them for the time being as the post box at ACWW office is too small to take parcels.
  • An appeal for funds has just been sent out – look under SupportACWW on www.acww.org.uk for ‘2021 Secure ACWW for Future Generations’ appeal. They are looking to raise £50 from each member or member society by April 29.

Jill Mulryan, ACWW Representative 

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Meet Ruth, the newest member of the BOT

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Meet Ruth, the newest member of the BOT

Ruth Williams, who has just joined the Federation’s Board of Trustees, has been a member of the WI for over eight years, firstly with Ewell Court and then Stoneleigh where she has been President since 2017. 

Ruth grew up in Fulham and went to school in London. Her working life was in marine insurance as a Lloyds broker, when women were in the minority, and then in the legal world as a fee earner with London solicitors in the litigation department. 

Ruth is a member of the Arts Society and volunteers as a church Recorder. She spent many years with amateur dramatic companies, sourcing, making and managing props. She enjoys a variety of crafts and says she loves a new challenge. She is researching her family tree, learning French and re-visiting Russian, keeps fit with pilates and has added more walking to her regime. And she admits she never resist a rummage in an antiques shop! 

Ruth says: “I very much value the WI, and am proud to have been co-opted to the Board of Trustees. I am looking forward to this next chapter with the WI.”

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Subscriptions Flexibility

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Subscriptions are due for renewal next month (April), and this will be the renewal month in future. The 2021-2022 subscription is £44, of which your WI keeps £21.60, the Federation receives £10.30 and the NFWI £12.10. Dual members pay £21.60 to their second WI.

However, the NFWI has decided to let each WI choose how much of the £21.60 to collect from its members. NFWI decided to introduce this after requests from members, discussion at Annual Council and a comprehensive survey across a range of WIs. Your WI committee now has the power to decide whether to:

(a) reduce its share of the subscription, or 

(b) waive it altogether. 

The amounts payable to the county and national federations remain the same. So if your WI decides to waive its share completely, a year’s subscription to the WI will only cost £22.40.

In a statement accompanying this major alteration, the NFWI says: “This decision must be made whilst ensuring that your WI still has enough funds year on year to carry out its charitable objects and offer a meaningful WI experience. 

WIs need to ensure they are making the best decision for their WI, and although we advise WI committees to discuss this annually with members, the decision is ultimately down to the committee based on the above considerations.”

If your committee decides to reduce or waive the WI portion of the subscription, members can still opt to pay the full amount as a donation to WI funds.

Alteration to the WI portion will also affect the pro rata rate payable by new members joining during the year, although their contributions to the NFWI and SFWI will remain the same. 

The NFWI recommends taking the following action:

1. Organise a committee meeting where the committee will go over the WI programme and budget for the coming year in order to present a decision to the members on what to do about the WI portion of the subscription. Ensure the decision is minuted.

2. Consider new members and how your WI would cater for an increased membership. This is particularly important if your WI is waiving or reducing their portion, as this might attract new members (including new dual members) and your WI needs to be prepared, logistically and financially, for this.

3. Present the decision to your members, giving the rationale and background to your decision as appropriate.

4. Ensure that all members are aware of the decision in time for membership renewal in April, and that you promote this to prospective members when thinking about recruitment.

5. Always remind your members that any decision made is only for the coming renewal. It is not a permanent decision, and the WI portion of the membership subscription will be reviewed every year.

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Surrey Federation E-News – launching soon!

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Surrey Federation E-News – launching soon!
If you like receiving your news, direct to your inbox, then you’re in luck, as Surrey Federation are launching their brand-new email newsletter – Surrey Federation E-News!
Starting in March and coming out once a month, Surrey Federation E-News will make keeping up to date with our campaigns, events and activities, easier than ever before. Anyone is welcome to subscribe, whether you’re a WI member or not.
In a world of bulging inboxes, this is one newsletter you’ll look forward to opening every month, so click here to sign up to make sure you don’t miss out.

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Printed copies of SWIN available

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We are aware that many members are unable to access SWIN online and would love to read a printed copy each month. But that this can prove expensive for some WIs. 

The office can print black and white copies and post them to your WI for you to distribute. The high quality of the office copier means that they are still easy to read. 

The proposed monthly charges to WIs are: 1 copy: 40p; 2-3 copies: 75p; 4-5 copies: £1.10. If you would like more than five copies please contact the office for a price. We can do colour copies, but that would be an extra 75p per copy, making the cost of one copy £1.15, for example. 

In the days when your WI had five copies of SWIN delivered every month, £1 a month was charged for postage, so the charges have been set to reflect this. 

If your WI would like to request copies, please can one of your officers email the office at info@surreyfedwi.org.uk stating the number of copies required and the delivery address. The WI will be invoiced once normal printing is resumed and not each month. You can order copies of the March edition of SWIN, and once in place your order will continue until the publishers start printing the magazine again. 

Sheena Landgraf, Federation Treasurer

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What’s New from HQ (March 2021)

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What’s new from HQ

All WIs should have by now received the secretaries’ mailing that was sent out at the end of January/ early February. If you have not received this, please do not hesitate to contact the office via email sfwi2dr@yahoo.co.uk so that we can get this re-sent to you.

Please could you all make sure that the Presidents’ and Secretaries’ list 2021 is checked, and any errors or changes are emailed to us as soon as possible, together with any changes to your meeting places etc. Don’t forget that non-data protected documents can be downloaded from our document library. This includes a new, updated version of the Treasurer’s Handbook.

Karen Whitehead, Federation Secretary 

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Message from our Federation Chairman (March 2021)

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Will hunger be the next pandemic? 

As I gaze out of the window, I look on a dull, grey sky, skeletal trees, a freeze- dried garden covered in icing sugar-snow, with no sight of bird nor beast, all frozen in time, or so it would appear. Is today a metaphor for the last 12 months when, en- trapped by Covid-19, all that we knew to be normal was paused? Theatres and sports venues closed, family meetings forbidden, holidays cancelled, non-essential shops closed and even travel to the next village discouraged. Can this be real? How could this have happened? But this is not the first time. 

Did you know that in 1592, during the ‘London Plague’, public houses and theatres were closed for two years and Queen Elizabeth I was evacuated to Windsor Castle, mirroring last year? Maybe we should be grateful as, once plague had been diagnosed, the whole family was locked up and the door anointed with a red cross, effectively signing the death warrant for all. 

Fortunately, this has not been repeated, although being voluntarily confined to one’s own home for months on end has been particularly challenging. 

Perhaps we haven’t had it so bad after all. 

With the roll out of the vaccine, there may be light at the end of the tunnel. 

So how have you passed the time? Food has certainly been a focus in our lives. Mealtimes have established routine and celebrating events on our own, normally shared with family and friends, has marked the passing of time. 

Have you shared a family birthday cake virtually? Have you experimented with that random selection of ingredients left in the fridge or cupboard prior to the next food delivery? Have you faced the challenge of online food shopping where an item ordered is replaced by something completely different? 

Sustainable 

I am currently enraged by having to receive my shopping in single-use plastic bags to save delivery time — a letter of complaint is on its way! 

On retirement, I had committed myself to living a more sustainable life. Therefore, pre-pandemic, I sought to buy locally, reduce food miles, eat seasonally, grow fruit and vegetables, and throw away as little as possible. Why has this become such a challenge? 

As a child I could hop over the garden wall, pick mushrooms in the sheds, and leave payment in a tin. This week, much to my horror, the mushrooms that I purchased came from Poland! Thankfully, the rest of my vegetables came from the UK. Buying local, when travel has been limited to one’s own village, has become such a challenge. 

Disappointment 

A change in our food buying habits, accelerated by the pandemic, has been greater use of the corner shop, although on closer inspection it’s clear that most are owned by supermarkets or are franchises. What a disappointment. 

My grandfather managed a corner shop in my hometown. I recall sacks of flour and sugar, huge truckles of cheese, loose vegetables in plentiful supply and butter in barrels, the hoops of which I detached, carefully removing the nails, and used as hula hoops. I was fascinated by the hams hanging from the ceiling ‘in the back’ where, each morning, Grandad would scrape off the maggots and then rinse. Nothing was wasted. 

During the pandemic, despite early concerns, our food supply chains remained remarkably resilient. Any shortages were due largely to our initial overbuying and differing food demands as more meals were being cooked at home. 

Problem

For the developing world, however, food security is a huge problem. In December 2020, the World Food Programme (WFP), established 60 years ago ‘as an experiment to provide food aid’ and just as necessary today, won the Nobel Peace Prize. Its aims: to ensure that all people always have access to nutritious food necessary for an active and healthy life. 

The WFP predicts that due to war, climate change and the widespread use of food as a political and military weapon, this huge problem which was already unfolding has been greatly accelerated by the pandemic and that 2021 will be the year of the ‘Hunger Pandemic’, for food and peace are inextricably linked. Without food security there can be no peace; without peace there can be no food security. 

This year 270 million people are on the brink of starvation and 690 million go to bed hungry every night. 

Difference

What can we as WI members do about this? How can we make a tangible difference? Maybe we could look closer to home. 

As the clutches of the pandemic weaken and we can engage with our community, can we make a difference? Covid has propelled many families in the UK into financial difficulties, with a doubling of the number depending on food banks. Currently 4.2 million children in the UK live below the poverty line, particularly from lone parent families, black and ethnic minority communities, and large families. 

Although a relatively prosperous county, ten per cent of children in Surrey currently live below the poverty line. It may be a relatively small percentage, but any is too many. 

How can we, as WI members re-engage with our communities to the benefit of the lives of women and children? The Let’s Cook initiative springs to mind. What ideas have you? Could they provide a project for your WI in your community? 

Carol A. Gartrell, Federation Chairman

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