Proposed Resolutions for 2018/19

  1. Improving Plant Biosecurity in UK
  2. Trees – Improving the Natural Landscape
  3. Pelvic Floor Education
  4. Suffering in Silence; end the taboo around menstrual health
  5. A Call Against the Decline in Local Bus Services
  6. Don’t fear the smear

2 of the above have gone through to be presented to the NFWI Annual Meeting:

5 A Call again the Decline in Local Bus Services

5 Don’t fear the Smear

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Kingham Lodge 2021

Kingham Lodge – NGS open garden

On a rather windy sometimes wet day a couple of intrepid WI members set off for Kingham Lodge to see the garden and view the sculptures.

We were lucky the rain passed through and the sun came out in time for a cream tea – covid style all packed in a box!

The sculptures ranged from colourful displays from local school children

to rather bizarre
But we enjoyed it!

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Thank you from the Women’s Refuges

We had a lovely thank you for our bags that Karen kindly delivered for us

Please pass on this thank you to those not in the WI

Dear Karen, and the B-c-S WI,

Happy New Year! I hope you had a restful Christmas and the new year has been treating you with kindness thus far.

I’m just emailing to thank you again for all your hard work rounding up donations, and to thank all of those who donated as well. It really has helped to make the world of difference to our women and their children.

I have attached a card that some of our residents helped to make as a small way to acknowledge all you have done to help them. Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you wish to support us again in the future.

Best Wishes,

Kirby Evans    Support Officer – Domestic Abuse

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Oxfordshire Annual meeting, via Zoom, 30/9/20

This had been delayed since the spring due to Covid19.

It was a fairly upbeat event with speakers trying to look on the best side in difficult times.

After an acceptance of standing orders, reminder of fire regulation and a muted version of Jerusalem, the formal business started with a welcome from the new Chair of Oxfordshire Trustees, Catherine Blaxford.

The financial report for 2019 was presented by the Treasurer. It showed an income of £70k but a deficit over expenditure of 7k, a similar position to last year. This is likely to get worse in 2020 if income does not increase.

The Chair thanked her predecessor Jane Probits who stepped down after 2 years in May this year (she would normally have given the report in March)

She highlighted some of the happy memories of the centenary year (2019). She mentioned that it was planned to change News and Views to digital and rename it as Oxfordshire Inspires. A couple of WIs had Centenaries this year but couldnt celebrate. Awards were made for the county competitions – raft, bowls.

A plea was made for new WI advisers.

It ended with a slide show of last year’s events to Vera Lynn singing ‘We’’ll meet again…”


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Groups keeping in touch

First news of one bookclub:

We zoomed for the first time on 20 April and our May, June and July meeting were also zooms. In August and September we met in members’ gardens and hope to do this again in October – restricting the numbers to 6. The lesser number has worked because members are away  — or in the case of our latest book from the Library Collection, hasn’t been greeted with much enthusiasm!

The full service from Oxford has now resumed and I think what we do in the future depends on whether we feel zoom is a satisfying substitute for meeting face to face. We’ll need to decide at our October meeting, and also comply with  government restrictions if/as the pandemic spreads.

Knitting Group:

Met in Annie’s garden just before the rule of 6 came in. Next gathering at Sue C’s (Monday 5th October) will be a 2 tier affair – 1 session 2-3 and 2nd 3-4 so that we can keep to 6 total. Annie is co-ordinating.

If all goes well we will repeat this for the evening of October 21st at Helen’s.


Travelling independently and booking sessions, some meet for coffee afterwards. Then of course once a month (3rd Monday) there is chance for a full english breakfast at Root One!

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Coffee Meet at Root One

17th August 2020 We can’t meet yet but we can do coffee!  17 members and friends came along to the Monday morning meet-up at Root 1 coffee shop . It was great to meet again (under their Covid rules) and have a good chat.

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Brightwell celebrates VE Day 2020 in style

Remembering family

From remembering those that were there to the very young, The village celebrates, at a safe distance, with food and wine (from spam sandwiches to fizz).

After weeks of isolation the community came together to celebrate 75 years since the end of the conflict.

Church Lane had a table outside almost every house, The Street celebrated with bunting and painted stones as well as booze.

Outlying villagers came to see all the fun and the children gathered goose grass (some things never change!)

At dusk candles were lit at doorsteps all around and “We’ll meet again” sung at 9pm to round off a magical day.

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Update from NFWI – 21st April

FAQs: COVID-19 impact on WI activities and members

We have received a lot of questions from members about the impact of COVID-19 on WI activities and members. We hope these FAQs will help to answer a lot of your questions.

Please note: These will be updated regularly as the situation develops, but please keep a very close watch on for the most up to date and relevant information and advice.

Should we cancel WI meetings and events?

The Government is advising everyone to stay at home in order to reduce social contact, particularly for those who are more vulnerable. As the situation is so uncertain, it is not clear how many WI meetings and events will need to be cancelled, but our advice will always be to prioritize members safety and wellbeing, ensuring that the Government advice is followed. Many WIs are already implementing alternative arrangements to ensure they stay connected and support members who may become more socially isolated without their WI meetings and the support network it provides. Please see our #MyVirtualWI page for ideas and inspiration:

How can vulnerable members be supported?

This time will be particularly difficult for vulnerable members, especially people who live alone. Without WI meetings taking place, take time to check on members in your community in other ways. For members who may not have access to a computer or mobile phone, telephone them on their landline regularly to check in and see if they need any support. You may wish to set up WI WhatsApp groups or Facebook messenger groups if you haven’t done so already, to keep in touch with your members. Sub-groups don’t necessarily have to stop, for example, you could try holding your craft groups, book clubs or film clubs via Skype or free conference calling software. See for more information.

The uncertainty of this situation can be scary and affect our mental health. It is normal to feel vulnerable and overwhelmed as we read news about the outbreak, especially if you have experienced trauma or a mental health problem in the past. While social media can be invaluable for staying connected, it can also circulate a great deal of scaremongering and untrustworthy information surrounding the virus. You can hide content and unfollow pages that are making you feel uneasy alongside stopping news notifications on your phone.

What are the consequences of not having 11 meetings a year as stated in the constitution?

With the uncertainty of this situation and how long it will go on for, it is not possible to say how many meetings may have to be cancelled due to the virus. In order to try and maintain the 11 meetings a year, WIs could consider holding virtual meetings using Skype or Zoom (which are free) where possible. This may be slightly easier for some WIs than others depending on how big their membership is, along with their access to the software. In other instances, WIs could move one or more of their cancelled meetings to August or December, which are the two months when many WIs don’t meet or even hold more than one meeting per month later in the year.

A lot of WIs have also been concerned about cancelling their Annual Meetings and elections, and the consequences of this on their WI operations.

These are unprecedented times, so please try not to worry about the constitutional consequences, as many organisations and charities are asking the same questions and the Charity Commission is aiming to be as flexible and pragmatic as possible to help organisations to continue to function effectively during this period. We have sent official legal guidance to all federations, and would also suggest that members continue to review the latest information on the charity commission website, as advice and information is changing regularly as this period of lockdown continues.

For the time being, we ask WIs to please focus on supporting other members and keeping connected during the period you are unable to meet.

Can subscriptions be refunded to cover the WI meetings that will be cancelled?

Due to the unprecedented nature of this situation, refunds for cancellations of meetings are not being considered. While it is a very frustrating situation to not be able to attend meetings covered in the membership subscription, the financial implications for WIs, federations and NFWI would be significant if we were to refund or roll-over existing membership subscriptions. We will all, of course, continue to have fixed running costs that will still need to be covered.

What should we do about events and venue cancellations?

The financial implications of event cancellations will vary depending on the venue you have booked with. You should seek advice directly from the venue along with your insurance company regarding their policy. If your WI’s insurance is managed at federation level, please contact your federation.

Are the NFWI offices still open?

As of Wednesday 18 March, the NFWI London, NFWI Wales and NFWI–Unit offices have closed and staff are working from home. You are still able to contact all staff via emails and telephone as normal.

Please do not send anything urgent via post as we are not currently accessing the office buildings at all. If you want to send us anything that cannot be sent via email, please call us to discuss alternative arrangements.

Are all NFWI events cancelled or postponed?

The Annual Meeting at the Royal Albert Hall on 4 June has been cancelled, and the Wales Conference on 26 April has been postponed until later this year (date TBC). We make the decision to cancel the Annual Meeting with great sadness and we know many members will be very disappointed, as we are, but we always prioritise the health and wellbeing of our members above anything else.

You will still receive your Annual Meeting documentation in the upcoming NFWI mailing as this was signed off at the end of February. Please retain this documentation and we will be in touch to confirm how we will proceed with regard to the selection of this year’s resolutions.

There is more information here:

When will Denman re-open?

Denman has postponed all on-site courses and events until 1st July 2020. We will review all future courses at the earliest alongside the guidelines from the government and will update you accordingly.

Visit for further information and regular updates.

Can WI members and WIs help to craft items such as face masks and uniform bags for the NHS?

Over the past couple of weeks, we have received a number of queries about whether WI members can craft items to support the NHS. The NFWI is very concerned at reports of shortages of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other vital items of clothing and equipment and urges the government and NHS to make sure that all healthcare staff get the right protection to carry out their vital roles.

It is important to note that many items of PPE are single-use and produced to strict specifications, so in many cases, crafted items would not be appropriate. However, we are aware that there are a number of local projects underway to respond to a local need for other, reusable items or alternatives such as laundry bags and scrubs.

At present, these projects are being managed locally by various volunteer groups to respond to particular local need. The NHS is under significant pressure at the current time, and so we want to make sure that any contribution members make to support our NHS is timely, useful and responds to local need. As needs vary by area, the NFWI is not currently running a national appeal for these items, but we are keeping this under constant review and will review our approach should the situation change.

If you are aware that your local hospital or other health or care services are in need of these items and are calling on the community for help, please do organise this on a local level. If you are able to contact your local hospital, you can let them know your WI is available to support with making these items if necessary.

This page was last updated on 21 April 2020.

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Summer programme 2020

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