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Campaign Corner: #SFWI

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Welcome to the world of the #

THE hashtag world of SFWI awaits you at this year’s Annual Council Meeting, with the Public Affairs team exploring ways to help members take part in our Plastic Free July.

Hashtags can tell us how we can make small choices that together have a big impact on our environment, with tips and ideas as well as facts and consequences in a stand against single use.

    • #SFWI is our generic hashtag which will be used on social media.The lower case letters refer to specific campaigns we are running.
    • #SFWIsayno will be part of the campaign where we suggest things that people can say “no” to and the alternatives that are available.
    • #SFWIswaps is where we encourage straight swaps, such as using cloth bags for shopping, reusable cups, taking containers for meat and buying soap instead of shower gel.

We hope to encourage social media use, introduce members to the hashtag world and build on their expertise with the swaps hash- tag so that all can get involved.

You might think some of what is suggested is simply common sense and doing what wise WI members have always done. But, as Angie Leach, who chairs the team points out: “If everyone was still doing it then we wouldn’t be in the mess we are.”

Book a ticket to the Annual Council Meeting.

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Discover Orpheus at our Annual Meeting

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A group from the Surrey-based Orpheus Centre will entertain members at our Annual Council Meeting at Dorking Halls on Monday, 16 March.

Orpheus is an independent specialist college that believes every young disabled person should have the same opportunities as their non-disabled peers and offers a personalised study programme focusing on building independence, communication and social interaction skills through the arts, supported housing and a personal care service.

Music weeks for disabled people piloted by Sir Richard Stilgoe and neurologist Dr Michael Swallow in the late 1980s were so effective that Sir Richard decided to found a place where disabled people and students could work together for longer than a week, creating new music and performing in public. The Orpheus Centre opened in 1998 at Sir Richard’s former family home in Godstone. Today it caters for 25 full time and 25 day students.

Its students have performed in venues all over the country, and appeared in the hit TV show Call The Midwife. Ann Lovelace, a volunteer with the centre, will tell stories of Orpheus and introduce alumni who will perform their chosen songs.

Book a ticket for the Annual Council Meeting.

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Calling all our talented flower arrangers

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COULD you represent Surrey Federation at the NFWI’s annual flower arranging competition: The Huxley Cup?

The 2020 competition will be hosted by Devon Federation at the Devon County Showground, near Exeter, on Wednesday, 20 May (staging day). Only one entrant per Federation is allowed, unless space is available.

It is an imposed exhibit: all materials, sundries and containers are supplied and entrants are given a theme to work to and same amount of time to complete their displays. The Federation will pay the £55 entry fee, travel, accommodation and refreshment expenses.

If you are interested, please contact Diane Sanderson at the office by 5 March as entries close on 25 March. Full details are available via MyWI on the NFWI website.

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Why are they waiting to join?

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DOES your WI have a waiting list, long or short? Then why not encourage those on the list to consider joining other local WIs who have space to spare?

This has been put to Surrey Federation by a WI which would love to welcome more members, while others nearby have waiting lists.

It does seem ridiculous that dwindling numbers are putting some WIs in danger of being suspended while not too far away demand for membership exceeds supply. I’m sure that a message to those on your waiting lists could shift a few who might face a long wait to join your WI.

For help with this, please contact your WI Adviser.

— Chris Butterfield, Federation Vice-Chairman

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What’s New from HQ (February)

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The mailing to secretaries at the end of January should include the following:

  • Presidents and Secretaries List 2020
  • Annual Review 2019
  • Membership Fees Form
  • Two copies of 2020 Yearbook (please use this to book speakers)
  • List of new speakers approved following the November auditions
  • Delegates’ programme for the Annual Council Meeting
  • Letter about the ACM together with Standing Orders for council meetings*
  • Minutes of the 2019 ACM
  • Nominations received for group officers
  • Surrey County Show schedule/entry form.*

To find non-data protected documents on this website, go to the Document Library page. This opens to show five tabs which organise the documents into five folders:

  • General Documents
  • Forms
  • Groups
  • Speakers
  • WI treasurers

Among documents available to download are Keeping of Records and The WI Year.
The Surrey County Show schedule is available from the Agricultural Shows page.
Most items can be emailed on request.

Remember that this is written before Christmas, so please check the letter sent with the mailing for full information on the contents. If something is missing, please contact the office as soon as possible and a replacement will be emailed or posted to you.

— Diane Sanderson, Federation Secretary

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Message from our Federation Chairman (February 2020)

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Yes, we CAN make a difference!

WILL YOU ‘Show the Love?’

On Christmas Eve, 1952, the winter of the Great Smog, I was born in Morley Hall, Leeds, the birthplace of Herbert Asquith.

For the first 18 years of my life I lived in the heart of the West Yorkshire woollen district, above the South Yorkshire coal field and in the middle of the Rhubarb Triangle. It’s not surprising therefore that many generations of my family had worked ‘down the pit,’ or serviced it, until the demise of coalmining.

A life in the industry brought both advantages and disadvantages. Of benefits there were many: relative wealth, security, housing, education, free coal and community.The disadvantages included chronic lung disease and the constant risk of injury or death.The latter was a reality for my family. In 1973, seven men died underground at Lofthouse Colliery, the seams of which ran under my home. My great uncle was the area engineer.

Fossil fuel was central to my community during my formative years. Coal provided our income, powered local industries, the woollen mills, the brick and gas works and, of course, fuelled the rhubarb sheds. It kept families warm and children fed.

Coal, or Black Gold, as it was known, was literally the bedrock of my life and the lifeblood of my community. Smog, the blackened facades of grand public buildings built on the proceeds of industry, the stench of the coke ovens, the constant drumming of the Worsted mills, the extensive spoil heaps, were everyday images. But slowly, very slowly, this was to change.The relationship between the burning of fossil fuels and health and climate change was recognised and initiated the beginning of the end, and a new beginning.

Recently I started to make a patchwork climate scarf. As I pieced it together it revealed to me the climate story of the century. It also prompted me to reflect on significant events of my life that correlate, possibly in a naïve way, directly with climate change.

My climate history begins with the winter of 1962-1963. I recall snow level with our garden wall and the road reduced to a narrow snowwalled path. I remember viewing Ladybower Reservoir in 1976, when the water level had reduced to nothing, revealing the villages that had once stood there — an event that was repeated in 1995 and 2018, all hot, dry years. And in stark contrast, the big freeze of the winter of 2009/2010, recorded as the coldest for 100 years.

Climate change is a reality! How can we make a difference? There are so many ways that we can contribute to reducing climate change. Consider waste, travel, food and home. Identify a change, however small, that you can make every week. Small actions by many can be decisive. Share your passion for your planet. Make a climate scarf and display it. Craft green hearts and share them with your community. Send one to your MP, display them at your monthly and group meetings. Be an advocate for the climate, it needs YOUR voice.

Recently I returned to my birthplace. Long gone are the collieries, mills and fossil-fuelled industries. But where pit ponies once grazed, fossil-fuel guzzling “architect-designed houses” now stand with not a scrap of green space or trees. And what of the community spirit that was once so strong? I see one institution filling that gap for women — the WI. In my home town the aptly named Rhubarb and Custard WI are making a significant impression on their community. Just as the industrialists of old, the WI now offers friendship, support and education. As WI members we should be justly proud.

— Carol A. Gartrell, Federation Chairman

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February SWIN now available

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There are lots of events to choose from in this month’s magazine – continental cookery, creative crafts, popular pastimes such as Mah Jong and Bridge, quizzes, and guidance on showing and running your WI. We need a talented flower arranger to represent us in the Huxley Cup and there’s the full line-up for what promises to be a stimulating Annual Council Meeting in March.

You can view it online through your My WI account either directly, or by using the link at the bottom of the Surrey WI News page.

If you don’t currently but would like to receive copies of the magazine in the future, please speak to your WI secretary who should review the number of copies already ordered and contact the office if more are needed.

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Denman Update – Places Still Available

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ALTHOUGH a ballot had to be held for places on the stained glass course, you can still book to study/discover Modern Vegetarian Cookery, Creative Writing for Wellbeing, Code Breakers and Command Posts in WW2, Doodles in Stitches and Wildlife Walks: Rivers, Greenham and Beyond at our Surrey at Denman weekend, 10-12 July.

Our Experience weekend (7-8 March) also has some places available: learn how to make bead and wire jewellery, fuse glass (one place), improve your digital photography and take part in a watercolour workshop.

Please let us know as soon as possible if you would like to come. Application forms are available using the links on the Denman page. And if you have any ideas of what courses you would like in 2021, it’s not too soon to let me know!

A reminder that you can win Denman vouchers in the Denman Dip at the Annual Council Meeting on March 16. Put £1 in an envelope with your name, WI and phone number on it and if you are not attending, ask someone from your WI who is to bring your entries.

Last year the dip helped nine lucky winners experience the delights of Denman!

— Lesley Earl, Denman Ambassador

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Surrey County Show 2020

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Develop Your Skills is the theme for the WI classes at the 2020 Surrey County Show, which takes place at Stoke Park, Guildford, on Monday 25 May.

We have chosen a variety of activities to include drinks and baking, crafts and salt dough modelling. There are 6 classes to enter and the full details are available from the View Document button beside the Surrey County Show section on the Agricultural Shows page.

Why not test your skills with us this year?

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