How One WI Is Fighting Loneliness Online

The Brentwood Belles WI has been around for nearly 9 years now, and is characteristic of many newer WIs in that it has a large number of members who are time poor whether due to work, or looking after children or grandchildren. Many of their members join as they wish to make new friends within the local area. However, the Belles were finding that whilst their sub groups and trips were well attended, they still weren’t accessible to everyone. As a result, their social media team came up with a cunning plan to use social media for good purposes and to link it to the Alleviating Loneliness resolution. So for several of their sub groups, they now have online versions as well. President, Jane Miles, explains more,

One group that many were keen to come to, but just couldn’t afford the time, or couldn’t attend when it was on, was our Happy Hookers crochet and knitting group. So we started a closed online Facebook group that is made up of both those who are new to the craft and those with plenty of years of experience. It has nearly 20 members and there are posts and comments most days, plus the girls organised an impromptu get together the other weekend too. It’s been brilliant for the newbies too as they can post pictures showing what’s happened and get advice really quickly.”

hho

As a result, the Belles have now also made the following online groups too:

Business Belles – for those who own their own business, or who work along at home

Bookworms Online – an extension of their book group

Techno Belles Online – their technology advice group which means people can ask questions and support each other

And they have also launched a new Facebook only group, The Buddy Belles. Jane says, “this was the brainchild of our Membership Secretary, Margaret. It’s a group where if you are planning to go somewhere in the next couple of days and fancy seeing if anyone else wants to join you, then you can post and see who is around and wants to join you. Or, if you want to plan a trip to somewhere that the Belles aren’t going to, you can see if anyone else fancies it as well. It can be an impromptu thing, or more planned. But the key is that its about putting ideas out there of ways we can all meet up and get together, that we might not have thought about otherwise. Overall, all of these groups are about alleviating loneliness and making sure that the friendship and camaraderie that is unique to being a WI member, is available to everyone who joins, regardless of their work or home situation.”.

To find out more, please either email Jane at president@thebrentwoodbelleswi.co.uk, or book a place on our Let’s Get Digital help day, as Jane is one of the trainers at that event: Let’s Get Digital

LINK TOGETHER (ALLEVIATING LONELINESS):

Download the Action Pack here: Alleviating Loneliness: Link Together Pack

This meeting calls on every WI and the NFWI to work alongside health and social care providers and their local communities to raise awareness of the causes and impacts of loneliness, thus ensuring better identification of lonely people in order to be able to offer them the appropriate support and assistance.

North Cave WI, East Yorkshire Federation

Alleviating Loneliness

Please follow the link below to find out the full information.

https://www.thewi.org.uk/campaigns/resolutions-and-mandates/2017-annual-meeting-resolutions

The Great Get Together 2018

Supporting the Jo Cox Campaign to Alleviate Loneliness

 

In June 2017, the Jo Cox Campaign held the biggest neighbourhood celebrations since the Jubilee street parties. Due to its great success, The Great Get Together will be happening again, in 2018.

We would like our WIs to get together with their neighbours and friends to share food and celebrate all that we hold in common. It could be a street party or a shared barbecue, a picnic or a bake off. What matters is that we have fun and bring communities closer together.

Whatever you decide to do, do let us know by dropping an email with the details, and any digital photographs, to admin@essexwi.org.uk

Here’s one their latest resources, The Missing Million, for your reference:

The Missing Million Report