Public Affairs News
All the latest on NFWI campaigns and how you can get involved!
Keep in touch with NFWI Public Affairs Team
If you are interested in public affairs and our national campaigns, then did you know that you can receive monthly updates direct from NFWI by signing up to their Public Affairs Digest by emailing email@example.com with your name and email address.
Plan Bee – To Mow or Not to Mow? What’s best for the Bees?
How about the best of both worlds? In the charity Plantlife’s survey last year they found that lawns that are mowed once a month attracted 10 times more bees than lawns mowed more often. That’s because by mowing less plants such as daises and clover can bloom for longer. Mowing just once every four weeks to a height of one or better still two inches is recommended. If you can, leave some small areas of long unmown grass as well to allow wild flowers such as ox-eye daisies and knapweed to flower. Head over to plantlife.org.uk to find out about taking part in their “Every Flower Counts” survey this year between May 23rd to 31st.
Fighting Climate Change- Rainfall Rescue Project
April Showers? Stuck indoors? Getting bored?
Here is something WI can get involved with.
The aim is to better understand wet, dry and normal periods in our history and help water companies plan for every eventuality that Climate Change might bring about.
The problem is that before 1961 there were actually thousands of rain gauges but the data has not been transferred from the original hand entered paper records to something digital so that we can use it.
The paper records have been scanned so all you have to do to help is enter the rainfall figures into a spreadsheet. It is all automated and can be quite therapeutic I have been entering a couple of sheets of figures a day.
Click on this link to register and start entering the data. https://www.zooniverse.org/projects/edh/rainfall-rescue
Tree things to do!
Many of you will be social distancing but that doesn’t mean you need to be stuck indoors all the time. It is good to get out in the fresh air and get a bit of exercise so long as we keep a good distance between ourselves and others.
Trees produce phytoncides which have been found to boost the immune system. Spending time in forests or woods is known as Shinrin Yoku in Japan (literally forest bath) and is encouraged by the Japanese Government as a way of reducing stress, improving your mood, reducing high blood pressure and accelerating recovery from illness.
We are lucky to have lots of woods, forests, parks and public gardens in Essex so why not make the most of them? You could even visit some of the trees we planted at Hylands Park, Compass Gardens, Earls Colne, Colne Engaine and Wakes Colne.
In total our members planted 2,242 this winter in response to the 10,000 Trees project a further 519 were donated to the Woodland Trust. Planting a tree is a practical way for us to help in the fight against climate change but as the tree planting season is coming to an end what else can you do?
You can, of course, continue donating to the Woodland Trust throughout the year but how about spending this spring and summer recording and cataloguing trees? If you have a tree in your garden start there then branch out into your community and enter the information about each tree on Treezilla. Treezilla aims to map all of Britain’s trees, recording vital data about tree disease and the environmental benefits that trees provide. www.treezilla.org/treezilla/map/ It is an ambitious project and they need all the help they can get.
Whatever you decide to do, stay safe.
Chair, Public Affairs Committee
Plan Bee Campaign 2020: Protect our Pollinators
Bees are important but they are on the brink of extinction. It is estimated that one third of the food that we consume each day relies on pollination mainly by bees, but also by other insects, birds and bats. Take a look at the plate of food on your dinner table, bees have played their part either pollinating the many vegetables and fruits we eat directly, or pollinating the food for the animals that we then consume. And that’s not all bees do for us – honey and wax are two other important products that come courtesy of bees. In 2009 the WI recognised the importance and risks and campaigned to save them. The SOS for Honey Bees campaign is as relevant today as many species of bee are still on the brink of extinction in parts of the UK. Bees are disappearing at an alarming rate due to pesticides, parasites, disease and habitat loss.
In 2020 we are encouraging members to become Bee friends and WIs to reach out into their communities to raise more awareness of the plight of bees and what the public can do to tip the balance in their favour. We have put together some ideas to inspire you to action and these can be found in our free Plan Bee. To get your copy, click on the link below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many of you have donated bee friendly seeds towards this campaign. These have been sorted, packaged and labelled ready for you to hand out to the public. There is a small charge of £1 per packs of 10 to cover costs.
Numbers are limited so don’t wait too long to contact the WI Centre on 01245 382233 to order your seeds.
Were you aware that the WI were founding members of the Fairtrade movement?
Why not celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight 2020 at one of your meetings?
Fairtrade Fortnight is 24th February until 8th March and is an action-packed highlight of the year, when campaigners, businesses and groups show their support for the farmers and workers who grow our food in developing countries.
Free resources are available at : https://shop.fairtrade.org.uk/fairtrade-fortnight-2020
Don’t forget to let us know what you get up to for Fairtrade Fortnight and email your pictures and copy to email@example.com
Resolution Resources For Your WI
Full links to the NFWI resolution resources can be found here Resolutions Page
Essex ‘MHM: Where To Find Help’ Guide Available
Our team at Essex WI are delighted to fully support the Mental Health Matters campaign with a guide designed to provide a comprhensive list of contacts whether you are someone in need of support, know someone who needs support, are a carer, or a WI member who wishes to campaign with us on this issue.
We hope you find this a helpful resource. If you feel we have missed out any useful contacts, then please do email us on: firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know.
Great Food Debates II: Food Poverty Toolkit
NFWI are asking WIs and Federations to organise debates on the topic of food poverty so that together we can collectively consider what steps need to be taken to ensure everyone had access to affordable, healthy food.
Our toolkit will help you organise your own debate, and includes background information, discussions point, and actions that your WI can take to help tackle the issue in your local area.
Download it here: NFWI Poverty Toolkit
What is the role of supermarkets in food waste?
The latest research from environmental organisation, Feedback, about just how much farmers have to waste each year and the role that supermarkets play in this process, can be found here: Global Feedback Report
Resolution Resources For Your WI
Full links to the NFWI resolution resources can be found here Resolutions Page
2018 Resolution Confirmed By NFWI
NFWI have confirmed the 2018 resolution with the following statement on their FB page:
“Over 100,000 members have taken part in the 2018 selection process, the highest turnout ever. Thank you to all members who have taken part. One resolution has now been selected to go forward to the final vote at the Annual Meeting in Cardiff on 6th June.
The resolution is: Mental Health Matters
Mental health matters as much as physical health. The NFWI urges all WI members to recognise the importance of parity between mental health and physical health, and take action to make it as acceptable to talk about mental health issues as much as physical health issues, and to lobby government for better support for mental illness.”
The resources for you to debate this effectively will now be prepared by NFWI and we will share these with you as soon as they become available. The FEWI team will also keep you up to date with information and will be running their Pros and Cons workshop in March to support you too – see above for details.
We’ve seen on our Facebook page, what The Brentwood Belles WI and New City Girls WI got up to for #showthelove2018…
We also have our brand new, fabulous Climate Change blog from Jill Bruce of Chappel and Wakes Colne WI, who is our Climate Change Ambassador – read it here: Jill’s Blog
Don’t forget to tell us what the rest of you have been up to as well! Send your pics of your green hearts!
Pros and Cons Workshops – Dates Confirmed
Following on from 2 very successful Resolution Workshops in November, based around the short list of 5 proposed resolutions, we will be holding Pros and Cons workshops for the final proposed resolution(s) in March and April 2018. Please ring the office to reserve your place. The dates are as follows:
Tuesday 27th March: FEWI Centre, Terling, Hatfield Peveral, 10am – 1pm
Celebrate Our Democracy
In 2018 it will be one century since women were granted the vote. And it will be 90 years since all women were able to vote at the age of 21. Coincidentally, 2018 is also the centenary of the passing of the earliest WI resolutions – these focused on the need for sanitary housing. To find out more ways you and your WI can get involved, download the NFWI toolkit.
Insurance For Craft Stalls At Meetings
Following a couple of queries to the Federation Office, we would like to clarify the position on the above. If a member wishes to have a craft stall at a meeting, and they operate as a business already, then you need to check their Public Liability Insurance certificate to ensure that they are covered in the event that someone is injured or harmed by their products. Food stalls need to be able to show your their Food Hygiene certificates too. For stalls run by members where they are selling items purely made as their hobby, then they are covered under the Essex Federation’s Public Liability Insurance. However, we would need you to complete a Health and Safety check of their stall prior to the start of the sale to ensure there are no things such as trip or fire hazards etc (this list is not exhaustive).
If you are unsure and wish to double check with someone, then please call the Federation Office and ask to speak to Tony.
Purse Project Donations To Dagenham
A boot full of purse project donations, recently sewn by The Brentwood Belles WI Sewing Bee, left FEWI to go to Dagenham Homeless Hostel on Tuesday 31st October. There were 35 purses in the package which will be much appreciated by the hostel. Thank you to all members who took the time to produce some purses across the whole county – they are going to make a real difference for many ladies.
2017/18 Resolution Shortlist Released Early
Take advantage of this early release and get your WI prepped and up to speed ready to make their first decisions about the resolution(s) we will support in 2018/19!
Below is the final shortlist of resolutions for the 2017/18 resolutions process. This list was developed by federation representatives at the Resolution Shortlist Selection Meeting on 2 October. Briefing materials to support WI and federation discussions on the shortlist will be published in the November edition of WI Life and on the website during first week of November. Our Resolutions page will have more details once released.
1. Positive body image in a digital age
This meeting urges every WI and the NFWI to campaign to ensure that government and the media industry promote healthy body images and ensure diversity is represented in the media.
2. Stop female genital mutilation
Almost 200,000 women and girls in England and Wales are affected by or threatened with the risk of female genital mutilation (FGM). This figure rises to 200 million worldwide. FGM is illegal in the UK, but it is still happening. We urge the NFWI to use its collective voice and influence to raise wider awareness of the traumatic health consequences of FGM and support and partner with agencies that are working to end this practice in the UK and worldwide.
3. Raising awareness of modern slavery in the UK
Modern slavery affects thousands of people in the UK every year, and leaves them facing servitude, forced or compulsory labour, sexual exploitation and human trafficking. This meeting calls on every WI and the NFWI to raise awareness of this important issue and to lobby for more effective support for the physical and psychological health of victims of this crime.
4. Mental health matters
Mental health matters as much as physical health. The NFWI urges all WI members to recognise the importance of parity between mental health and physical health, and take action to make it as acceptable to talk about mental health issues as much as physical health issues, and to lobby government for better support for mental illness.
5. Healthier Mouth, Healthier Body
Health research suggests that there is a link between gum health and serious illnesses such as heart disease, stroke and even dementia. The NFWI calls upon the government to raise awareness about the importance of oral health and the impact that it can have in preventing life changing acute and chronic health conditions.
- Briefing notes and the selection form will be published in the November edition of WI Life.
- Additional supporting materials including detailed briefing notes, PowerPoint presentations, quizzes and videos will be published on the NFWI website and MyWI during the first week of November.
- The deadline for members to return their selection slips to federations is 9thFebruary. This deadline will be published in WI Life.
- Federations must return their tallied results to the NFWI by close of play on 16th February 2018.