2015-2016 Shortlisted resolutions

The NFWI has published the list of eight shortlisted resolutions for 2015-16. Why not have a read below and see which one might be your cause. We’ll all have a chance to vote later on in the year – look out for the voting slip in your copy of WI Life!


2015–16 NFWI Resolution Shortlist

1) Ban the microbead
Beach litter and floating plastic debris is more than just an unsightly problem. Scientific research shows that plastic microbeads, found in cosmetic and personal care products, are polluting the oceans and causing long-term health risks for both aquatic life and people. We call on WI members to take action to reduce use of plastic microbead-containing products in their own homes and communities; to raise awareness of the problems associated with plastic microbeads; and to lobby manufacturers, retailers and see the UK Government following in the steps of the Netherlands and other countries in proposing a ban on the use of these products.

2) British fruit: reviving our heritage
This meeting calls on the WI to spearhead a national campaign that creates a fruit revival in local communities, celebrates our WI roots, promotes health, addresses food security and reduces the carbon footprint.

3) Free sanitary protection for homeless women
We call upon WIs to campaign for homeless shelters to be provided with a funding allowance to enable them to provide sanitary protection (tampons and towels) for homeless women.

4) Prevention of sudden cardiac death in young adults in the UK
Every week in the UK at least 12 apparently fit and healthy people die suddenly from undetected cardiac abnormalities. The majority of these deaths are preventable. This meeting urges Her Majesty’s Government to put in place a national strategy for the prevention of young sudden cardiac death to ensure that all young people between the ages of 14 and 35 have access to heart screening by appropriately qualified professionals to identify any potentially life-threatening conditions.

5) First aid to save lives
The NFWI considers that suffering could be minimised and lives could be saved if more members of the general population were trained in first aid. We propose that HM Government should promote first aid training in schools, colleges, universities and in the workplace. Furthermore, that all WIs should support and encourage first aid training and volunteer first aiders in their communities so that we become a safer and better informed country ready to help save lives.

6) Mind or body – equal funding for care
The National Federation of Women’s Institutes calls upon the Government to ensure that the care of people with poor mental health receives funding and respect equal to that provided for people with physical health problems.

7) Avoid food waste, address food poverty
The WI calls on all supermarkets to sign up to a voluntary agreement to avoid food waste, thereby passing surplus food onto charities thus helping to address the issue of increasing food poverty in the UK.

8) Appropriate care in hospitals for people with dementia
We call upon HM Government and the NHS to provide facilities to enable carers to stay with people with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia that have been admitted into hospital.

WI Members Speak Up about Climate Change

Click here to read a nice blog post from NFWI about last month’s climate change lobbying day in Westminster. WI members from all over the country joined with about 9,000 other concerned citizens to share their concerns with their MPs.

The post includes a great quote from Pippa Stilwell of Zennor WI (and a lovely picture of her as well!).

Pippa Stilwell of Zennor WI talks to MP Derek Thomas about the threats posed by global warming.


Speak Up for the Love of …

For the love of bees, strawberries, cheese, bluebells and hedgehogs. For the local park and England’s beautiful seasons. For the food on our plates and the tea in our mugs. For the love of all the things that matter most, we’re taking climate change seriously.


Tomorrow has been designated a day of action and celebration by the Climate Coalition as we Speak Up For The Love Of all we hold dear. People from all across the country will be coming together in our thousands to ask MPs to commit to strong action on climate change to protect all the things we love. It’s our first opportunity after the General Election to tell our newly elected representatives what matters to us in this crucial year for climate action.

The Women’s Institute is a founding member of the Climate Coalition, and WIs from all over the UK have been getting involved.

Many have been making bunting displaying all the things we love which will be affected by climate change:

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… and others will be going to London tomorrow to lobby their MPs.

You can read about one WI member’s reasons for participating here.

Don’t worry if you won’t be there. There’s lots we can all do at home to help fight climate change:

  • Improve the energy efficiency of your home: remove draughts with draft excluders, insulate the loft, hang heavy curtains over doors and windows to keep heat in, and only heat the house when you need to.
  • Reduce food miles: buy local at local farmers markets, use local veg box schemes, and grow the things you like that are a bit pricey; eat seasonally if buying in the supermarket.
  • Reduce water usage/waste and the harmful chemicals you put in it: use eco-friendly detergents for washing clothes, dishes and home, and re-use your washing up water for the garden. Use rainwater to water the garden – this reduces mains consumption and is better for the plants as rainwater is chlorine-free. Having quick showers reduces water and heat needed – win/win.
  • Promote sustainable transport: use public transport for longer journeys if you can and if you’re travelling alone; walk rather than drive to the shop/into town to meet friends; cycle if possible; share lifts if you can.
  • Reduce waste/trash: compost what I can’t eat and try not to waste food; re-usebottles/jars for home-made things and recycle anything else. Try to avoid buying anything wrapped in polystyrene or other non-recyclable packaging.




NFWI Centenary Annual Meeting

Today was the big day! The 2015 Centenary Annual Meeting at the Royal Albert Hall. Although nobody from Crowlas & Ludgvan WI was able to go, we did send our resolution vote (more on that below!) with our delegate from Porthleven WI and for the first time we were also given the rare opportunity to watch the meeting live online.


The Queen, Princess Anne and the Countess of Wessex were all there, and the Queen addressed the meeting after receiving the Baton.

During her speech, the Queen said, “In 2015, the Women’s Institute continues to demonstrate it can make a real difference to the lives of women of all ages and backgrounds”. You can say that again!

After her speech, Her Majesty pressed the button to begin a slide show highlighting some of the Centenary Baton’s journey around the country. And what a surprise it was to see our own Jane, Niamh and Pat up there on the big screen for all to see!

NFWI_AM slideshow

The important bit was the resolution, and that’s when things got rather heated! After a lot of discussion, both about the resolution and its proposed amendment, one member proposed that the meeting move to the next item of business. That meant that the would be no vote at all on the resolution. The proposal was seconded, and by a majority of more than three-quarters, the meeting voted to move on. In effect, the resolution was thrown out!

Here’s a photo I loved, posted by another WI on Twitter, of lunchtime at the Albert Memorial, then and now. Things don’t change much, do they?!

memoralThere have been a flurry of newspaper articles about the WI over the past day or two. Here’s a quick rundown of some we found, in case you missed them. The Guardian, The Telegraph, another from The Guardian, another from The TelegraphHello magazine, and some television coverage from the BBC and ITV.

If you missed the live feed but would like to see it, you can still catch the whole thing on YouTube (see below), including a lovely rendition of ‘Jerusalem’.

Speak Up to fight climate change!

Speak Up SMALL landscapeAs a founding member of the Climate Coalition (previously Stop Climate Chaos), the NFWI will be supporting ‘Speak Up’, a mass lobby of Parliament on 17th June. The Climate Coalition is the UK’s largest group of people dedicated to action on climate change and limiting its impact on the world’s poorest communities.

What is it about?
This mass lobby will provide people across the UK with an opportunity to speak up for the love of all they hold dear that could be lost to climate change, and to demonstrate to the new Government that strong UK leadership on climate change is important to the British public.

Why the NFWI is supporting this?
The WI has long been at the forefront of environmental action. From promoting debate on food security to cutting down on wasteful packaging, WI members have consistently turned talk into action and in doing so demonstrated positive ways of helping both their communities and the wider environment.

ftlo march event
2015: Why is it important?
In December 2015 Paris will be hosting the 21st United Nations Framework Commission on Climate Change Conference of the Parties (UNFCCC COP). The Conference will bring world leaders together to discuss how they can work together to tackle climate change, and it provides an opportunity to reach a fair and legally-binding global deal on cutting carbon emissions. People all over the world will be calling on their governments to support the conference and reach an ambitious deal that will limit global warming to 2˚c.

What can you do to help stop climate change?
1. Make meat a treat – Go meat free for just a few days a week – be kind to your ticker and to your wallet, but also be good to the planet.
Why? Roughly 18 per cent of greenhouse gases are caused by livestock farming. Producing just one beef steak emits more CO2 than you would by driving for an hour and leaving all the lights on at home.

2. Drive with smooth style – Cut down your speed on the road, use less air con, take any unnecessary items out of the boot and make sure your tyres are fully inflated. This will improve the efficiency of your vehicle and get more miles out of the tank. Not to mention the safety benefits.
Why? Road transport in the UK produces around a quarter of our national CO2 emissions. Driving at 80mph uses 25 per cent more fuel than driving at 70mph.

3. Don’t over-boil the kettle – Only fill up the kettle with the water you need. Save water, save electricity.
Why? Over 30 million litres of water are boiled in the UK every day only to go cold again.

4. Turn off appliances at night – Turn off computers, lights, televisions and any other appliances at night.
Why? It may be one of the oldest energy saving methods but it’s also the simplest. If all the UK’s 17 million office workers turned off their computers at night, the carbon savings would be equivalent to removing 245,000 cars from the road.

5. Adjust your computer power – Fine tune your computer settings to make sure it turns off when you’re not using it and that its brightness settings aren’t unnecessarily high.
Why? 65 per cent of energy used by computers is spent on running idle, not on actual computing.

6. Walk more – Instead of spending money on bus fares, train tickets and fuel, try walking whenever possible instead. It really is that simple.
Why? It improves your health, saves you money, gives you time to think, chat and dream, reduces stress, makes you more alert, more productive, and increases independence. It also emits no pollution and is totally carbon free.

7. Eat seasonably and locally – Slim down your carbon footprint and stop eating things like tomatoes in winter. Did you know that over half the food imported to the UK could have actually been sourced within these isles.
Why? Local means less road miles travelled and therefore cuts down on carbon emissions. Seasonal means the food may have needed fewer intensive methods to grow it.

8. Take short, sharp showers – Cut down on the length of your shower in the morning. Each minute you shave off your time in the bathroom will save around 10 litres of water.
Why? On average we spend eight or nine minutes a day in the shower, making up about 12% of our water usage and costing up to £918 a year. Cutting down will reduce your water bill and save electricity.

9. Receive less junk mail – Register with the Mail Preference Service and have your name and address removed from all the direct mail databases. You still get the post you want, without the junk.
Why? Around 2.7 billion pieces of junk mail are delivered in the UK every year, using up paper, using electricity to be printed and using fuel to be transported. Also, who wants yet another menu from the local pizza joint to add to the dozen you already have stuffed in that drawer in the kitchen?

Craftiness on the Moodle

Heart-4I wonder if you all know how many wonderful crafty resources are available on the WI Moodle!

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Moodle, let me explain. It stands for Modular Object Orientated Dynamic Learning Environment. That’s quite a mouthful and doesn’t really do the Moodle justice. Really it’s an area of the NFWI website which is restricted to WI members and which enables you to view information, download documents, communicate with other members and learn new skills.


As well as committee training information, the Moodle contains a wealth of information about everything to do with the WI. But I want to talk about crafts here.

There’s a blog written by NFWI’s Craft Adviser and which is full of crafty news. There’s a calendar of craft shows and exhibitions around the country. There’s also a forum where you can chat with other WI members and exchange projects, patterns, etc. Some people are even offering items for sale!

The best bit, however, is the list of projects available. Some are simple, some intermediate and some require more skill – so there’s something for everyone! The projects range from knitted items, like these lovely bunnies:


… to beautiful fabric-covered lampshades like these:


There are instructions for creating birthday cards, making a crochet hat, upcycling old clothing, making a cake topper for Valentine’s Day and beading a necklace.

To access the Moodle, you will need a password. This ensures that it’s a ‘safe’ area and is only for us, the WI members. To get a password, drop Helen a line on crowlasludgvanwi@gmail.com and she’ll request one for you. You’ll have it in 24 hours and will be on your way to crafty fun in no time!

2015 Short Listed Resolutions

The NFWI Resolution Shortlist Selection meeting was held earlier this month, and the following seven short listed resolutions were decided upon for 2015:

The next 100 years
As we mark 100 years of the WI, we deplore the unacceptable level of gender discrimination that still exists. We call decision makers to remove barriers preventing today’s women and future generations reaching their full potential.

Plant a tree for the future
The NFWI urges Her Majesty’s government to start a continuous national broadleaf tree planting programme to replace vital woodlands lost in previous decades. WIs in consultation with their local councils and community groups will be asked to plant trees in celebration of their centenary and to benefit future generations.

Public access defibrillators
There is an urgent need to widen public access to defibrillators to significantly increase the survival rate following a cardiac arrest. This meeting urges WI members to work with their communities to install public access defibrillators.

Failing to care – assessment of need in long-term care
This meeting calls on HM government to remove the distinction between nursing care and personal care in the assessment of the needs of individuals, in order to advance health and wellbeing.

Cutting back on food waste
Everybody loses when good food is thrown away. We call on WI members to reduce their own food waste and all public and private sector organisations to do more to minimise food waste and protect our finite resources.

Ending FGM
This AM welcomes the progress that has been made towards ending Female Genital Mutilation. We call on political leaders and the UK public to maintain momentum behind all efforts to eradicate this abuse of human and child rights.

To curb the use of antibiotics
In view of the problem of increased microbial resistance to antibiotics, this meeting urges HM government to work with health professionals and the public to raise awareness of, and encourage the appropriate use of, antibiotics in human and animal healthcare.

All the short listed resolutions will be discussed in greater detail in the November issue of WI Life, so look out for your copy. Also in the November issue will be a selection slip for you to fill in and choose the resolution you favour to go forward.

In February 2015, we’ll find out which final resolution(s) have been selected, and we’ll then have the opportunity to have our own discussion at our Resolutions Meeting in May.

Food, Glorious Food

As part of NFWI’s ongoing Great Food Debate, a full day was held recently at Chy Noweth on the subject of food waste. Titled ‘Food, Glorious Food’, it dealt with the issues of food production, sustainability and security.


Andrew Holden, Procurement Director at the Eden Project, gave a brilliant talk about Eden’s food story and food ethos – linking the plant to the plate. We could have listened to him all day!

Then Colin Olver, a regional manager with the Co-op, gave the supermarket perspective on food waste. He introduced Monica Price, a dynamic nutritionist and broadcaster who also demonstrates at the Royal Cornwall Show, and she introduced us to the “Love food, hate waste” campaign.

Esther O’Bearagh from Cornwall Council – a great speaker herself – gave us the scary facts and amusing anecdotes about household food waste, landfill and recycling.

Paul Sousek from Cottage Farm
Paul Sousek from Cottage Farm

Then Paul Sousek from Cottage Farm, a sustainable organic carbon neutral farm powered by renewable energy energy and producing organic beef and lamb, gave us his own local sustainable farming experience.

After that Gill Keeble (from the Environment and Public Affairs subcommittee) and Dot Rogers (from the Home Economics subcommittee) took the stage with their lively and entertaining cookery demonstrations on our theme “too good to waste”. They gave us lots of lovely simple innovative ways to use leftovers. And we finished the day with a feast of delicious tastings. A good day all round and we ended with lots of ideas to take forward!

Dot Rogers and Gill Keeble
Dot Rogers and Gill Keeble

Click here to find a few handy and easy recipes for using up leftovers and helping to fight food waste.


iamwi_15 iamwi_1 iamwi_11Today, October 1st, was a very special day for the WI in the world of social networking. We set about to dispel all the old stereotypes about WI women and to show the world that we come from all walks of life, are women of all ages and we’re also a little bit nuts.

WI members were asked to take ‘selfies’ of themselves holding signs saying “I am WI” and to post them on Facebook with an #iamwi tag. Women from all over the country joined in!

Here are some of our favourite photos:

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If you haven’t posted your photo yet, it’s not too late! Get that phone or camera out and snap away, then post your picture here.

‘Time to Talk’ about Organ Donation

The WI’s Time to Talk Campaign is about making sure we all know what our loved ones’ wishes are about organ donation. The decision to be a donor is up to each of us (you can become Registered Donor here if you like), but in the end, it’s left to thousands of families every year to turn those wishes into actions.

We know talking about donation with our loved ones can sometimes be difficult. So we’ve come up with a way to use WI members’ talents to show their leadership in finding the Time to Talk.

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We’re starting the Big Conversation, which means we’re asking each and every WI member to:

  • Find the Time to Talk and have a conversation with their loved one about their organ donation decision
  • Get creative and make something through craft or illustration to show who you spoke to
  • Take a photo and send it to us

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Did you sit down to a cup of tea with your husband? Did you mention it to your children when you were cooking dinner in the kitchen? Maybe you mentioned to a close friend after getting your driving license renewed? Perhaps reading a story about donation in the paper prompted you to talk to a family member.

Transform who you spoke to (or are going to speak to) and the context of that conversation into whatever craft or creative project you like. It can be as skilful (crochet, pottery, decoupage, quilling, embroidery) or basic (spell out their name in icing or take a selfie spelling out who you told!) as you want.

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Take a photo of it and post it to social media using the hashtag #WITimetoTalk. Or email it to the NFWI Public Affairs team (publicaffairs@nfwi.org.uk) and we’ll publish it for you.

The results will be shared online over the next year on Twitter, Facebook and an online photo gallery. At the end, we will create a massive mosaic of photographs of all the WI members’ crafts for a special exhibition as part of the WI’s centenary year.

With each photo representing a real conversation, together they will show how WI members have found the Time to Talk, and inspire others to do the same. Remember every single discussion about organ donation is part of a bigger conversation.

You have until Friday 27 March 2015 to share your conversation photos with us. Get crafting!

Click here for more detailed instructions on how to participate as well as some ideas to get you thinking creatively!