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Annual Meeting 2023 Cardiff Report by Felicity Jennings

Updated: May 20

This year 3 members of Spa Sweethearts WI, Charli Hatton, Sam Pugmire and Felicity Jennings attended the National Federation of WI’s Annual Meeting in Cardiff. We were nor delegates this year but attended as observers. St David’s Hall was a lovely venue and there were information and merchandise stalls in the foyer as the place filled up with WI women from around the country. We began by singing Jerusalem before the address by NFWI Chair Ann Jones. Ann is an excellent speaker and her enthusiasm for WI shone out. She had the exciting news that the WI’s education wing, Denman at Home, will be offering free courses to WI members as a vision for the future. Treasurer Jeryl Stone went through the financial report before the first Speaker, Ebony Rainford-Brent gave an inspiring speech about her sporting journey to cricket success and the inspiring women who helped her on the way.

This year’s resolution was a campaign for clean rivers for people and wildlife. As ever the issues were hotly debated. Proposed by WI members, we heard from experts for and against and many great points were made in the hall from people passionate on the subject. 84% of members voted to support the resolution but in the hall it was very difficult to know which way it would go.

After lunch we had 2 excellent speeches from WI board members about campaigns from the past. It was again inspiring to hear how the WI were the first to campaign on sexual health issues as far back as 1927 through to an AIDs awareness campaign in the 1980s.

The afternoon speaker was Laura Mc Allister, former international footballer and senior sports administrator. She told us about her journey and gave us the fantastic leadership advice of “Don’t be a dick”!

As the day finished Spa Sweethearts were excited to be featured on the end film as a highlight of the day. It was as ever amazing to connect with the wider WI and remember what a truly amazing women’s organisation we belong to.Ann left us with the mission to ask what the next generation of women will want the WI to look like.

The connections continued as we met up with our WI friends from lockdown when we opened our doors to WI’s around the country. Cardiff was glorious in the sunshine and it was a really enjoyable day.

Next years Annual meeting will take place at the Albert Hall. For any more information please see the NFWI website.

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