When and where we meet:

Every 2nd Monday of the month at 7.30pm in the Memorial Hall, Leigh on Mendip

Visitors welcome!

For more details contact Mary Mears

or leave a comment here on our blog


Leigh on Mendip Community Coffee Mornings.

1st Monday of the month in the Memorial Hall from 9.45 to 10.45am.

Come along for a coffee and a chat! Everyone welcome.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Report from our delegate at the National WI AGM

2013   N. F. W. I.   AGM    Cardiff 1st June 2013
The meeting opened with the singing of Jerusalem
There was an Extraordinary General Meeting at the start of Proceedings
Special Resolution
‘It is hereby resolved by way of special resolution that the draft Articles of Association presented to the meeting marked A (the New Article) be and are hereby approved and adopted as the Articles of Association of the NF in substitution for and to the exclusion of all existing Articles of Association of the NF with effect form the date when the New Articles are filed with the Register of Companies, & the operative provisions of the Memorandum of Association having been consolidated into the New Articles, the existing Memorandum be amended & restated to include only the details of the subscribers set out in the Appendix to the New Articles.’
Resolution passed 5765 for 109 against

The AGM started with three Constitutional (Ordinary) Resolutions all concerning Article 38(g) which were outlined in the Blue and Green booklets
Clause 9    passed 5937 for 51 against
                passed 6044 for  38 against
                passed 5846 for 208 against
Chairs Address
Copy of guide re: WI Brand will be with WI’s soon, Moodle has been improved and made more accessible.
Membership is rising 500 new members each week, Denmam College was struggling, but that numbers were rising to 88% capacity. Numbers dropped 2011/12 but are improving, ‘Do It For Denman’ has raised £100,000, but needs £250,000, 5% (11632) members, 56% (3556) WI’s responded to the Denman questionnaire , there will be a report from and Independent Body in June, targets have been set for the next 3 years, Ruth Bond said the fate of Denham is in members hands. We were told that if we wished to make a donation to Denman , please send it direct. WI Enterprises are extending their range to include ’Cook in Sauces’ and Bake ware.
Hon Treasures Statement
Denman College funds reduced by 1.9 million and made a loss of £300,000 in 2012, WI Enterprises made £624,000 and the biggest earner for the NFWI is WI Life through the advertising. HMRC has said the membership fees are exempt from VAT, and NFWI will get another refund from HMRC of about £500,000. Subscriptions, 2/3rds of subs increase to got to the WI and 1/3 rd to the Federation, Subs for 2014 will be announced in July and will be in the August mailing.
The Accounts & Auditors report 2011/12 was adopted and carried
Guest Speaker: William Shawcross - Chairman of the Charities Commision
He spoke about his personal interest in the WI, his mother had been a member in the 1950’s, he had written a biography of the Queen Mother, 10 years ago, who was President of Sandringham WI for 65 years and her daughter is now the president. His post with the Charity commission, was to be the regulator on behalf of the public, he discussed the meaning of charity and what it meant to him, The Charity Commission are having tobe aware terrorism, fraud and the politicisation of charity fund raising, there are 30 new charities registered every day, roughly 5,00 a year
This was followed by the awards ceremony, of Lady Denman Cup, Huxley Cup, Elizabeth Bell, and National Quiz Award  etc….
Denman Report
The Denman Survey & Report  & financial situation had already been covered , so the question was posed ‘Why go to Denman?’Bookings have increased, there have had two open Gardens Afternoons, with cream teas proved very successful and more are planned. There are240 new courses, new tutors, new courses covering Upholstery, crochet, jewellery, embroidery, stained glass, rag rugs Thai cookery, History and Heritage plus ‘Men in the Kitchen’ ! and many more, there will be 3 new brochures a year, plus Denman road shows - one already held ,  which was a great success, there will be 10% reduction for new users, and 10% off for online bookings.

Guest Speaker: Griff Rhys Jones - Hon President of Civic Voice (previously Civic Trust) -which represents Local Amenities Groups
He spoke about the new planning laws and how it would affect towns and villages, especially the allowing of extensions up to 8 metres, with no planning permission needed. He was very enthusiastic about people volunteering to improve our own environment - he quoted Ellingham Park and the great difference made there. He had been touring North Kent in his capacity as President , and had visited Ramsgate, Margate Faversham & Canterbury, which were all making great strides into preserving the older parts of the towns. He was very enthusiastic about the WI resolution.
Marylyn Haynes Evans proposed the resolution and it was seconded by Sybil Graham of the Cheshire Federation.
The two expert speakers for the resolution were Sean Spear from the C.P.R.E., for the resolution, he spoke about the’ Local Food Map’ and ‘Tool Kit’ for helping and supporting Towns and Villages (He suggested looking on the C.P.R.E. website for more information)
He was followed by William McKee CBE, against the resolution, he argued that the High Street will never go back to what it was , on-line shopping will increase, he calculated that 40% of existing shops will close in the next 5 years, that some Town High streets would become destination/ experience High Streets. Higher rates and  higher parking charges will contribute to 2,800 town centres failing out of 4,000 in existence . He stressed the point that there must be a mix of work places, entertainment and homes for a high street to survive. There were many questions from the floor, too many for all to be heard, there was considerable agreement with William McKee, some did not like the wording of the resolution, and there was heartfelt questions in strong support of the resolution
The resolution was passed
For 5266 - 87.41%
Against 758
Guest Speaker: John Humphrys - Radio 4 ’TODAY’  
John Humphtys asked for questions - this proved an aid for some very funny anecdotes featuring mainly his interviews with politicians, but when asked what his most memorable moment was, he related the time he was in Soweto, to cover the first elections, he spoke to an elderly woman who was waiting to vote (for the first time) and asked her if it was important for her, she said no, it was too late for her, but then indicated the pregnant lady next to her and said it very important for the unborn child. John Humphrys has written seven books, the proceeds from which go to his Charity, ‘Kitchen Table Charity’ this funds small projects mainly in Sub Saharan Africa, and is run by him mainly on his kitchen table - hence the name.
Chairs Remarks
There would be work carried out on the WI web site which would last 6-8 weeks over this summer.
2015 - the WI Centenary 1429 responded to the questionnaire, the O2 Arena was too expensive, so it will be held in Albert  Hall, attendance is expected to be high, so, possibly,  the proceedings will be beamed to Federations. A Baton for the celebrations will start in 2014, the ‘Inspiration Rose’ will be available in 2014, there will be a stamp, centenary collectables, (not decided yet)

Guest Speaker: John Willcocks
John Willcocks  is the singing/choir support for the WI.  He was there to encourage more WI  to have singing groups.  There will be a choir competition in 2015.  We all took part in an action song with gusto. .

The AGM closed with singing of the National Anthems and Jerusalem

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Another successful village fair!

Thank you very much to all of our kind members who worked very hard before and during the fair today to make it a success - despite the best efforts of the weather! Our table was laden down with beautiful cakes, bread and a variety of gorgeous hand made items. There is clearly a great deal of skill and talent amongst our members, as well as the will to work together and produce some rather stunning results. We also sold 27 of our Leigh on Mendip cotton bags! Sue's duck pond was a great draw, as well as the lucky dip.
Here is a message from Val, who planned and organised the whole thing:
A big thank you to everyone who helped in any way with the fete stall, we made a fantastic £265 that is £22 more than last year.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Another benefit of being a WI member!

Another article about WI membership from the Telegraph! I think we all knew about this particular benefit, didn't we?

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Mercy Ships meeting

What a fascinating insight into the work of the Mercy Ships charity! It is quite amazing to realise just how many people are prepared to devote their lives to helping others; not simply giving their skills and time but paying their own expenses in order to do so. You can be certain that every penny of your donation to this charity goes to the work they do.
Our bring and buy sale raised £58 for them, so well done everyone!

Our secret ballot, held to find out what kind of format to the meetings our members prefer, actually hasn't helped us very much! The vote was shared equally between both options! We will decide how to structure the 2014 meetings at the programme planning meeting on 16 September, bearing in mind these results and the comments we've received. If you want to have your say, you need to be at that discussion!

Friday, 7 June 2013

Ladies who lunch...

......even when it rains! The lovely garden café in Mells was enjoyed by an intrepid few today. I'm sorry to have missed it.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

NFWI AGM in Cardiff 1 June

Six of us from Leigh on Mendip WI were lucky to get tickets for the National WI AGM (and EGM!) in Cardiff yesterday, and we had a great time! It certainly was a bonus to have the event held so close to us! We joined with about 4,000 others to participate in the rather lengthy Extraordinary General Meeting, where debate and voting took place on the amendments to the WI constitutions at national, federation and institute levels. You may recall our November meeting, 2012, when I announced that I had read the documents and noted that the only significant change for us was that use of electronic methods for communication and decision making are permitted and acceptable provided that every member agrees. We asked if you all agreed, and the members present at that meeting did! So, we'll carry on with the emailing and blogging! That section of the day was a little tedious! However, the legalities and the opportunities for members to put their point of view all had to take place.
The other change mentioned for National level was concerning the voting on resolutions at the AGM, which (if I have this right...) would mean that delegates will continue to participate in the debate on the day but the voting will take place later once they have had a chance to report back to their Institutes. That will be so much more relevant as each institute will be able to make a decision based on the full information and a better understanding of what is actually meant by the resolution.

The speakers were cleverly spaced throughout the day, and, in my opinion, were increasingly interesting! The head of the Charity Commission headed the list and gave a detailed talk about his work - I wondered if he might have looked at our history of responding to speakers we don't like, as he was excessively complimentary to the WI! Next came Griff Rhys-Jones, who spoke passionately about his work as President of Civic Voice which campaigns for the protection of ' our green and pleasant land'.
Our final speaker, John Humphreys, gave us a fascinating insight into his life as a journalist using a very clever device to engage with us all. Early in the day it was announced that he wanted questions to answer during his talk - so Ruth Bond had a pile of questions, some pretty feisty, too, for him. So, he told us about interviewing Tony Blair, Margaret Thatcher (and how she made mincemeat
of him!), meeting the Queen and asking if he could interview her - to which she said 'No!', as well as numerous humorous incidents.

The debate on the High Street resolution was fascinating - almost every speaker from the floor echoed the debate we had held at our meeting! Parking and business rates being the main culprit. Including several references to the fact that the resolutions over recent years have been worded ambiguously, making it impossible to make a clear decision. People don't want to lose their high streets (with the possible exception of High Wycombe, where members there suggested they would be glad to see it disappear and that a bomb should be dropped on it!) and recognise that people will not alter their shopping habits. It was very interesting to note that the only practical  suggestions about how the decline could be prevented came from the speaker who opposed the resolution! He
suggested that local government agencies and offices could move back into high street premises. No one else had any ideas to put forward at all apart from expecting individual WI members to support local businesses. Several comments were made regarding the rural nature of the majority of Institutes,  and the response from the resolution  proposer, Marylin Haines-Evans, National Chair of the Public
Affairs Committee, was that those of us in villages should support our villages: pubs and shops if we have them.  The voting was overwhelmingly for the resolution: in excess of 5,000 for and 700 against.

Denman College is still in financial difficulties! However, things have begun to improve and they are still very keen to encourage us to use it. In the Denman survey results a number of members suggested making donations to Denman. If anyone would like to do that, their donation will be very gratefully received! Cheques should be sent direct to Denman College.

Arrangements for the centenary AGM in 2015 are that it will take place in the Royal Albert Hall and if there is sufficient interest, the meeting will be streamed live to Federations. This means that members across the country could travel a relatively short distance to a venue chosen by their county federation in order to watch the National AGM together on a big screen. There will also be a range of commemorative items on sale, and from January 2014 a baton will be passed from Federation to
Federation around the country. ( in the style of the Olympic torch - possibly without the white track suits and media circus in tow!)

The 2014 NFWI AGM will be in Leeds on Saturday 7 June.
Up-to-the-minute WI members photographing the fabulous display of quilts!

Here we all are, looking forward to our day!

How to post comments on this blog

Dear Leigh on Mendip WI,

I was just polishing up the blog, and I noticed that not many people were leaving comments. I asked Sparks about it and she said that people weren't too sure how to, so I thought I'd make a simple tutorial to show you how!

1) Here's the blog as it is when it opens

2) here's a single post, and here's the link that currently says ' 0 COMMENTS'
but will change as comments are left.
Click on this link. 

3) When you've clicked on that link, this screen  opens. I have written 'here's your comment' in the box.
where it says 'comment as: ' click on that box to select. 

4) select 'Anonymous'. This means that the website will not display who you are, or where you are  with your comment, and it means you don't need to 'log in' to post a comment. 

5) The finished article! As you can see, my comment has been posted, with no indication of who I am. You might, therefore, want to sign off your message with your name! 

I hope that helps! It's been so lovely to see you all enjoying the blog.