Every year we try and include a charity crafting session in our programme. In the past we have made pillowcase dresses for the Dress a Girl Around the World charity, and nose bands for abused horses and donkeys. This year we decided to make twiddlemuffs as it ties in well with the national federation resolution of better care for dementia patients in hospitals. Twiddlemuffs are usually knitted tubes with various embellishments sewn on to them which dementia patients find calming to fiddle with.
One twiddlemuff has already been donated to a local day care centre where a couple of our members work. The others will be given to a local representative from the Dementia Friends programme once they have been finished.
Our meeting in July was “Can I help you, I’m a Paramedic?”
Our speaker, Bob Harding-Jones, is the oldest paramedic in the East of England. This came about as he is still licenced but officially retired. He joined the service in his 40s after a career as a dairy farmer, and spent 26 years on the front line.
Bob told us many stories from his time as a paramedic, including learning on the job about how to talk to patients, dealing with warring pensioners, coping with timewasting calls and sorting out genuine emergencies.
One of problems he had to deal with was the rigid automatic triage systems which couldn’t cope with 3 month old babies (“Can the patient form sentences?”) or 84 year old women (“Is the patient pregnant?”). Needless to say, common sense prevailed.
Even “Dr Google” had his moment of glory in helping a patient diagnose a serious poisoning case themselves. Bob explained that the key is to ignore the first sensational diagnoses and probably look for the NHS entries.
2016 NFWI Annual Meeting Notes
Chair’s Address – Janice Langley
Janice looked back on the centenary – including the fruit cake! – the WI Fair in Harrogate and the Nutcracker at the Royal Opera House.
She spoke about Denman and how with the extension of the campus, costs have also increased. Only 3% of members use Denman and NFWI want to increase this. Maintenance will be looked at by a professional survey company.
There will be a healthy eating week in June 2017.
The website will be updated with ‘Have a go at…’ projects to download.
NFWI can send someone to talk to groups with more than 50 members to tell them about the NFWI.
MCS currently shows 226,402 members.
Hon. Treasurer’s Statement
Income £6.83 million
Expenditure £7.28 million
Net deficit £450,000
Subs are likely to increase.
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.’
3305 for, 856 against – motion carried
Guest Speaker – Rona Fairhead, BBC Trust Chairman
She showed a montage of BBC clips and Tom Hiddleston’s appearance received plenty of attention.
She congratulated the WI on achieving so much in 101 years.
Financial pressures mean there will be tough decisions in the future but they will continue to Inform, Educate and Entertain.
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 on to charities thus helping to address the issue of increasing food poverty in the UK.’
5146 for, 1080 against – motion carried
Guest Speaker – Baroness D’Souza, Lord Speaker
She explained the procedures that occur in The Lords when bills come to them for approval from The Commons.
Although the age distribution, race and religion mix are changing, there is still a long way to go. There are more than 800 members of the Lords – only the Chinese National Congress is larger – and she believes that it is too big. It is also getting too politically biased and there are relatively fewer cross benchers.
The WI will continue to develop in the future.
More use will be made of the website and social media.
September is the next MCS month.
There will be a members only section of the website with exclusive resources, projects and recipes.
Moodle will be developed in it’s training role.
The WI wants to improve communication.
There will be a NFWI census for all members online and in WI Life so that members can express what they want from the WI, how it spends it’s money etc.
The meeting finished with the National Anthems plus a selection of Proms inspired songs.
Report by Louise – President – Puckeridge WI
Our June meeting caused a bit of a stir in the village when a group of women were spotted roaming around with cameras. Was Tom Hiddleston expected in Puckeridge? Were William and Katherine popping down to the Crown and Falcon to avoid the crowds in Cambridge? No, it was Puckeridge WI out on a photo walk.We started off at the hall and were given a worksheet by Fallon, our expert, giving examples of things to try including close ups, filling the frame and shooting without looking through the viewfinder.Simple every day objects were given the paparazzi treatment and studied in close detail.Even the weather, which earlier had threatened to call the whole event off played ball in the end and helped with the photos, even if there was no chance of getting the lens flare shot ticked off the list.I will never look at a brick wall in the same way again!No matter whether we had a DSLR, a small compact or just a camera phone, we were all able to take part. Fallon was also helpful answering questions about cameras and pointing out different angles and shots to try. This was such an enjoyable meeting and one of my favourites so far. Our next meeting is on 12th July. For more information, look at our About page and drop us an email to get on our newsletter mailing list.
Our May meeting was our Annual Meeting when we looked back on the last year’s events, elected a new committee and president, reviewed the accounts and debated the shortlisted Resolutions.
Resolution 1: 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”. Following a discussion, members voted unanimously for the resolution and unanimously voted to give Louise discretion at the Annual Meeting in Brighton should any additional arguments arise.
Resolution 2: 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.” Following a discussion, members voted unanimously against the resolution and unanimously voted to give Louise discretion at the Annual Meeting in Brighton.
Your new committee is Louise, Yvonne, Karen and Emma, so please chat to one of us if you have any questions or suggestions.
We are asking members who knit or crochet to make up some Twiddle Muffs for us to complete and embellish at our September meeting. Twiddle Muffs, also known as Sensory Bands, are textured and embellished bands which are given to dementia patients. Fiddling with them can comfort and calm them and help with their symptoms.
Any donated materials are welcome, and patterns are available online. One example is Sensory-band-pattern, and we have a local charity willing to accept them, as some hospitals have sufficient supplies for now.
She told us a bit of the history of Holloway which opened as a mixed prison in 1853 and was built to resemble Warwick Castle. In 1903 it became a women’s prison, and there have been 5 executions there including Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be hanged. She also revealed details of her ‘encounter’ with the ghostly Grey Lady.
She mentioned some of the diverse characters she met in prison: the repeat offenders, the criminal family ‘business’ members, the young mothers, the violent prisoners and the lawbreakers who used their time inside to get education and made the effort to rehabilitate. Pauline pointed out that rehabilitation is only complete if there is acceptance on the outside once their prison term is over.
There were plenty of questions afterwards, and we all agreed that she was a very informative and entertaining speaker.
Next month will be our Annual Meeting. We will be debating the two resolutions to be taken to the NFWI Annual Meeting in Brighton in June “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 on to charities thus helping to address the issue of increasing food poverty in the UK” and “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.” We are also holding elections for our committee, and as a reward for all of that, there will be desserts and wine.
New members are always welcome, and your first meeting is free so come and give us a try!
Anne Luder came to our March meeting to talk about Gardening for Wildlife.
She started her talk highlighting the numbers of native British birds, animals and plants that we have lost or are in danger of losing. The WI has previously campaigned on the decline of the bee population due to decline in a favourable habitat, disease and climate change, but other factors are threatening other species. The introduction of an aggressive American crayfish is endangering our smaller British native for example. Cuckoo populations are in decline due to being hunted as a game bird in West Africa on their migration route. Pollution, pernicious weeds, agriculture, loss of hedgerows and over-development also affect the habitats traditional British flora and fauna depend on.
Anne highlighted various ways we can make simple adaptations in our own gardens to encourage wildlife.
The RHS have a Perfect for Pollinators scheme which highlights good plants to include in your garden. Leaving sections of the lawn uncut and planting wildflowers create habitats and food for beneficial insects and animals. Making sure planting is dense and at different levels from ground cover to shrubs, climbers and trees offers protection for a diverse range of animal life, and ensuring your garden contains plants that flower at different times of the year to provide food for a wide range of pollinators. Leaving plants to set seed rather than tidying up provides food for bird life and cover for bugs.
Putting bird feeders in your garden can also help, as can various types of nest boxes, bee houses, insect hotels and bat boxes, and putting water out, or having a pond or water feature adds to the diversity of your garden.