What we've been up to...
Our blog shares the highlights of our previous meetings and activities. Don't forget to sign up to our Newsletter on the Contact page to keep up with everything we're up to inside and outside our monthly meetings!
Lyn Pardo from Friends of Spital Cemetery gave a fascinating talk focussed on some of the women with memorials in Spital Cemetery and the contributions they made to Chesterfield town's history.
Our Annual Meeting provided an opportunity to review our time at CTWI in 2018 and elected the committee for 2019/20. We also discussed and voted on the proposed resolutions which were both subsequently passed at the NFWI Annual Meeting in June. The formalities were followed by a beetle drive.
Unfortunately local musician Adam Parrish was unable to joins us but we hope to welcome him back in the future. We celebrated 5 years of Chesterfield Town WI with a beautiful cake created by one of our talented members and enjoyed a raffle with a twist!
Helen from Jetsam Yoga joined us to speak about the history of yoga and led us in some chair yoga. She also showed us how to sit down properly - hands free!
Courtney of Courtney Paige Makeup demonstrated how to achieve a daytime into evening look and answered members' questions. She also showed us pictures of her Halloween inspired creations.
It's an exciting time for Chesterfield Town WI - a whole new committee has stepped up to take over and run things! We are so pleased to hand over to our fabulous new President, Bex, and her wonderful new team. It's going to be lovely to see what new ideas they come up with, and we wish them all the very best.
Our last meeting was our chance to say our thank yous to our outgoing President, Michelle. Michelle has done do much for Chesterfield Town and has been an inspirational and enthusiatic leader. And we've had a lot of fun along the way!
Let's hope that 2019 is a great year for us - we celebrate our 5th Anniversary in the spring too! Thank you to all our lovely members for making our WI such a nice place to be and here's to the next 5 years!
Michelle, Sally, Bex, Becky, Jeannette and Sally
It's been another busy few months for Chesterfield Town - but now we need your help. Our wonderful president, Michelle, is stepping down due to work commitments, and four other members of the committee are also standing aside! We are very lucky that we have an amazing president-elect - Bex has so many great ideas and will lead us into an exciting future. BUT she can't do it without the help of our members. Your WI belongs to you, and you have a chance to shape it and bring in fresh ideas. Please consider helping our wonderful WI - our members make it what it is and we're all very proud of it. Over the last few years our committee has put so much time, effort and heart into building it up and now it's time for a new and fresh bunch of people to take the baton! Please let any of the committee know if you'd like to help. We have vacancies for Secretary and Treasurer, and also general committee members.
Bex, Michelle, Sally, Jeannette, Samantha and Becky
One of our fab committee members, Bex, went to a WI convention at the Royal Albert Hall, London, in March. She had a fantastic day and has written this blog post to share it with us....
It was 05:30 on a misty Saturday in March. I was seriously questioning my decision to book an early train to London but little did I know quite what the day had in store. From coffee, cake and conversation to suffrage, solidarity blankets, swans and security guards, it all had one thing in common: I wouldn’t have experienced any of it if I hadn’t joined the WI!
The Royal Albert Hall organised the three-part talk, entitled ‘The WI: Past, Present, Future’, as part of its ‘Women and the Hall’ and ‘Talks and Screenings’ series. Members from across the country joined together in the striking North Circle Bar for three inspiring and informative talks from three wonderful WI women:
It’s quite well-known that early leaders of the Women’s Institute were also involved in the suffrage movement. So it’s no surprise that one of the primary aims of the Women’s Institute was to give women the tools to become partakers of public life. Lady Gertrude Denman, national chairman, wrote ‘Procedure at Meetings’ to teach members how to run meetings – it’s apparently a very serious book!
Democracy and self-governance is at the heart of the WI.
In fact, WIs were voting by secret ballot at a time when Parish councils were not!
The jam and Jerusalem stereotype doesn’t do justice to the hard work the WI puts in to campaigning on important issues and there’s no shying away from tricky issues. The first resolution was encouraging adequate and affordable housing, the second was in favour of female representation on Parish and District councils, and by 1922 the WI was raising awareness of venereal disease, then campaigning for research into AIDs and HIV in the 1980s.
This longstanding tradition of campaigning remains relevant today with 2017 resolutions on Plastic Soup and Alleviating Loneliness. A number of newer WIs are embracing “Craftivism” – the combination of craft and activism – to raise awareness and bring women together. The Shoreditch Sisters’ have some great examples and channel the media attention they receive into raising awareness and promoting the causes they believe in: in 2008/9 they took part in Tara Scott’s ‘Embroideries’ campaign and created a vulva quilt to raise awareness of FGM. More recently Shoreditch Sisters have created a solidarity blanket to not only raise awareness but also to stand in solidarity with the women being held in Yarl’s Wood Detention Centre. This year they’re working with Bloody Good Period, a charity which provides menstrual supplies for asylum seekers, refugees and others who can’t afford them.
I’ll finish with one of my favourite anecdotes of the session: how Lynne Stubbings, NFWI Chair, ended up joining the WI. Lynne told us how she’d moved to a new town and was invited to go along to a WI meeting. Reluctantly, she attended with the intention of getting to know a few people and slipping away, but 38 years and a few months later…. She’s not only still a member but NFWI Chair. There have been plenty of other roles at local, federation and national level, and lots of training to go along with it between those two points. What a motivating and relatable story!
I left the session feeling immensely proud to be part of such a wonderful organisation and inspired to play my part in its future. It was a day of trios and there were 3 key aspects of the WI which really resonate with me:
As for the swans and security guards… that’s another story for another blog post!
We're well in to March and at last the spring feels like it might be on its way. Here at Chesterfield Town WI we haven't been hibernating over the cold winter months though! We've enjoyed a bingo night (and some winnings!), sampled burlesque dancing with the fabulous ladies from Absinthe and Lace, and learned how to perform reflexology and other relaxing therapies. And all that before our April meeting in a couple of weeks, where we'll be enjoying a night of comedy! We've also managed to squeeze in being transformed into a choir for one night only - and of course our Christmas party, complete with quizzes, music and Secret Santa.
Next month we will be starting our popular knit and crochet-a-longs, and our craft and cinema clubs will also be running as usual. If you'd like to come along and haven't been before - we'd love to see you and we really are a friendly bunch. Come and have a cup of tea and see what we're like. Next meeting is 3rd April.
If you're already a member, don't forget to enter our photography competition - the theme is 'Spring'! We love to see our members getting creative!
See you soon
Our November meeting is nearly here. We are all really looking forward to an evening of Christmas crafts! One of the things we will be doing is completing our crocheted leaves, which will adorn the Chesterfield Town WI Christmas Tree. This is our contribution to the Chesterfield Festival of Christmas Trees in the famous Crooked Spire church. It's a great favourite for people of all ages to come and see the beautiful church full to the brim of Christmas trees representing many local groups and businesses.
Our December meeting is a Christmassy sociable affair. We have quizzes and games, and perhaps some festive nibbles! We're also hosting our local WI family (De Rodes group) in a special Christmas meeting where we'll be transformed into a choir for the night!
We have a well-earned break in January, but we're back with a vengeance in 2018. Take a look at our fantastic programme, which we have just completed. There really is something for everyone, from dancing to crafts and even a murder mystery night. So come along and give us a try! You will be made welcome and are sure to have a fun night!