‘WI Talk’ by Sheila Goldsworthy

Former CFWI Chairman and current Assistant Media Officer Sheila Goldsworthy writes a wonderful monthly WI column for The Cornishman. Here is Sheila’s January column:

The humble biro will be a great asset to members as they tackle some essential paper work in the coming weeks, as well as a good excuse to cosy up indoors in this typical January weather. The first little job is to open the November/December edition of WI Life to select a resolution they would like debated at the Annual Meeting. Full details are on page 23 with the accompanying selection slip. Selections must be submitted by 14 February, and there are lots of ways you can make sure your choice is counted. As usual, the selection of subjects chosen from the 43 submitted are diverse and compelling.

This is always a red letter day in the WI Calendar, when we have a chance to air strongly held views. Cornwall has been very successful in the past when one of their resolutions has been chosen and we enjoyed the cut and thrust of lively debate in a prestigious arena like the Albert Hall for example.

This year the Annual Meeting is being held in Cardiff on 25 May. Two of the resolutions concern water and NFWI has had many previous resolutions on this topic starting in 1928 when it was felt there was a lack of adequate water schemes in rural areas. Perranuthnoe WI led a very strongly worded resolution in 1972 urging attention be brought to the installation of small scale water supply schemes such as bore holes in country areas, highlighting the importance of water in schools particularly featuring those with appalling sanitary conditions.

Another resolution for this year concerns the tea-plucking workforce which traps women in the lowest paid jobs with few benefits. We all take a cup of tea for granted, but do we ever assess the physical and social cost? The four biggest tea producers are China, India, Kenya and Sri Lanka. The Fairtrade Organization which was co-founded by the WI in 1992 has always campaigned rigorously for better conditions and pay and we owe it to them to enthusiastically support them in the forthcoming Fairtrade Fortnight (27 February-12 March).

The fourth resolution concerns a devastating problem drastically affecting women and children – gambling. Current legislation is inadequate in addressing the harms caused by problem gambling and in providing protections to those affected. There has been a heightened increase in daytime gambling with colourful advertisements appearing to make it fun and harmless, however the notes accompanying this resolution view with great concern that legislation to reform gambling laws has been postponed for the fourth time. The impact of gambling which affects health, resources and relationships cannot be under-estimated.

It is so good to see that the WI is still tackling gritty and life changing issues of great consequence in 2023

The next little job for the trusty biro is to study and select the Royal Cornwall Show competitions to enter in our WI Marquee, held on the 8-10 June and being organised this year by the Cookery and Craft Sub-committee. This year’s competition is entitled “Our Green and Pleasant Land”. WIs are invited to create a staged exhibit reflecting the theme, using both their skills and imagination but must include the following: a vegetable item which must contain at least one green vegetable, a pot of jam, a freestanding landscape, an exhibit of words of Jerusalem and a foliage-only arrangement.

The Barbara Reed Trophy is to be awarded this year for an item of jewellery which can be of any shape, in any medium and any techniques.

The Floral Art competitions are as follows: Wadebridge Cup entitled “Clouded Hills”, Smale Cup entitled “Burning Gold”, Penponds Cup entitled “God Save the King” and Pat Ward Novice Cup entitled “Green and Pleasant Land”. Closing date for all competition entries is 31 March. This is another unrivalled event in the CFWI Calendar

The legendary Western Morning Rosebowl is again up for presentation on 17 March when teams of four will be competing in the annual quiz at the Ladock Community Hall from 2-4pm Cost for the team of 4 is £15 with £4 for the tea payable on the day. This event is always a buoyant afternoon.


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