Monday, 24 October 2011

Now more than ever we need your help!

Sorry I have been away for a while. I have spent most of the time campaigning for the hedgehogs and putting together the resolution. Unfortunately the resolution was not passed at the NFWI selection meeting which I am really disappointed about. Especially when asked for feedback they said it was excellent, well researched and written and something that national and local could get behind. A bit of a kick but I am sure the ladies that made the decisions have put forward some Very important issues.
So where are we? Well I have set up an online petition which now has 800 signatures which is absolutely fantastic. The link can be found here so please sign and pass on. Bill Oddie has also recently re tweeted this which is fab to have such a well known supporter!
I have also been asked to speak at some WI's on the Island next year about hedgehogs which I am looking forward to do as it all helps pass the messages on.
Regrading on our visitors to the garden. We lost 2, 1 is currently being nursed after a abscess and amputation and we have re-homed another with 3 legs and back issues. This one will never be realised - she is called Hermione and is currently nesting. She spends 12 hours each night carrying lots of leaves, straw etc into her deluxe house! Will keep you posted on her progress. Oh and PLEASE bear our spiky friends in mind if having a bonfire this year.
Until next time

Friday, 12 August 2011

It's time to help - SAVE OUR HEDGEHOGS!

I mentioned a while ago the resolution we passed at the meeting with 100% of votes. I had to check things with HQ before I could shout about it. That has all been cleared and following various stories in the press today and the fact that all of a sudden I am caring for an injured hedgehog I am ready to SHOUT from the rooftops about it. The resolution is as follows:

Save our Hedgehogs
This meeting urges HM Government to recognise the shocking decline in numbers of the British hedgehog. We urge HM Government to give the hedgehog the same legal protection as the otter, door mouse and red squirrel under section 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

Some experts predict that by 2025 Hedgehogs simply won't exist and so I have just got to do something about it. Mainly inspired by the amount of hogs I get in my own garden and what a fantastic animal they are. They eat our slugs and so our vegetables thrive. But mainly because my future generations potentially might never see one and this just makes me incredible sad.
This is being put forward as a resolution fro the National Federation to consider and I just hope they see how important this and how we need to act now before it is too late.
If you want to support me in the quest please do by spreading the word and I will get a petition ready for signing soon. Thank you for your support - pass the message on. Big hugs xxx

Monday, 8 August 2011

Leave the WI to do what they do best!

About a month ago Northwood House in Cowes asked us if we would like to run a Cowes WI stall at their Summer Garden Fete they were organising. Of course we would we replied as it is great awareness for Cowes WI and potentially a lovely little fundraiser for us too.
We had the usual suspects offering to help by baking / providing items for the stall and offering their time to help on the day. I'm not sure how we get every member to join in and if other WI's have the same issues. It is frustrating at times especially when people say they will help but never come up with the goods (literally).

The fete was taking place on the first Sunday of Cowes Week and the forecast was good. We asked if we could do teas as well but were told 'no' as the house were offering teas and if we could stick to usual WI things that would be great! Isn't the WI associated with tea? We had cakes, jams, chutneys, biscuits, craft etc and once set up our table looked fab.

After a few minutes of being there we were being asked (a number of times) if we were selling just a cup of tea! Surprisingly just teas were not available at the house only if you wanted a cream tea. Seeing another opportunity I asked the organisers if we could get our tea urn and serve tea and coffee without upsetting people. So off we rushed to get the equipment and by the end of the day we sold well over 60 cups! Important lesson learnt for all - leave the WI to do what they do best.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Getting to grips with the 'way it works'.

One of the most challenging things in setting up a WI is getting to grips with all the formalities. One of our strengths and equally our weaknesses was that none of us had ever been a WI member before. We were therefore not going to be influenced about 'how it should be' but this also had a negative affect as none of us really knew what we should be doing. We obviously had an advisor to help us with the big things but its the little things that matter and when we never RSVP'd to another WI's invitation we had no idea this was upsetting or even insulting them. We soon knew about it after a few months when one of our ladies happened to meet another WI member and it was mentioned that it is / was rude not to reply. We now make sure we reply! The other challenge for us is almost all Cowes WI members work and therefore it is very difficult for us to attend the many activities put on by the federation and even other WI's. I worked out if I attended everything I would need 3 weeks off work - now as a wife this is just not practical as naturally I like to holiday with my husband. I became aware that this had come across to the federation that Cowes WI were 'not interested'. Now this is just not true - we want to support all the events we just hope and wish more would be in the evenings or weekends so we can attend more easily. This might be a frustration to others across the country and something my WI feel really strongly about and we have decided to keep mentioning this at meetings and to the federation and we hope for at some point in the future more things will be easy accessible for more of us.

Monday, 1 August 2011

No to Jerusalem?

As we were getting into the running of a new WI we made some pretty big decisions that would set us apart from other WI's and would probably make other WI's frown upon us. The first being a vote to see if we would sing Jerusalem. You may wonder why we even put this to vote and not just sing it. Well I have always maintained that Cowes WI is about the whole group, and to ensure our members support it, I wanted from day 1 for it to be a group effort not just about what the president or committee want. Plus we are an incredible young group and I really did not want to put younger people off by forcing them to sing a hymn that they have probably never heard before. The vote was cast and all voted against singing the hymn with 1 (Sarah) voting to sing! Therefore we do not sing Jerusalem we do however sing it if we visit other WI's and at the AGM. We understand and appreciate the WI policies and would never put down those that sing it. It is just not for us. Other big decisions was to offer free Tea and cake to our members and to date we have not paid for one speaker. I think this is the most surprising element when I talk to other WI's (who all pay for speakers). After all I am a sales person and therefor selling the benefit of talking to 40 - 50 women who may well then use their services is enough for most people who see this far better than cash payment. Plus our bank balance stays healthy.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Change of name and the beginning of Cowes WI.

As you will see I have decided to change the name of my blog to Zo Blogs - a play on words you see! All credit to the husband.
Anyway back to business. I have many new exciting things to tell you all but for now I am going to reflect on setting up Cowes WI and I promise I won't keep you in suspense too much longer.
After the email to IOW WI House I had a telephone conversation from Joan Finch, who became our trusted advisor. The conversation went a little like this:
J "where do you live?"
Z "Cowes - but there isn't one in Cowes is there?"
J "no, How old are you?"
Z "31"
J "how would you like to set up a brand new WI for Cowes?"
Z "erm yes okay"
J "Great get at least 5 people interested and call me back and we can take it from there".
So off I went to recruit. Please bear in mind I also work full time and have a cake business as a sideline but hey I found the time. I decided to set up a Cowes WI facebook group as a way to get people interested and a tool to keep high levels of contact. I got support from some amazing people who were as passionate about the idea of a Cowes WI as I was. I spoke to as many women as I could and when I got to around 21 interested ladies I decided to call Joan back. This was after about a week and I think Joan was impressed. The next stage was to find a venue (Northwood House Community Hall after seeing oh about 10 venues!) and a date to hold the initial meeting. Before all this she suggested I get together some ladies that might make up the committee to get together to discuss what a WI is all about and how we can make sure we have a successful new WI. This went well and so did the initial meeting with over 60 ladies from Cowes and further afield turning up who pretty much unanimously voted to have a brand new WI which would be called COWES WI. The president (me) Secretary (sue) and Treasurer (Jo) were all voted for as was the other committee members (Rose, Pauline, Bev, Suzie, Jennie, Becky, Jane) with the very first official meeting being in May 2010. The newly formed committee had  a busy time ahead not only getting to know each other but also plan the activities for the year.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Talking bout a resolution!

WOW what an inspiring meeting I have just got home from. Not only did the July Cowes WI meeting consist of chat about natural beauty and some beauty tasters we had the usual tea and cake, chit chat and an overwhelming vote for a resolution that will be put forward to NFWI. I will tell you the subject at a later date as need to get the paperwork all official first but I am not only inspired by my ladies but it is great they all see the benefit that this resolution will bring.
Once again a reason to be incredibly proud of being involved with women that have clout and power! Lets just hope NFWI consider it for the vote.
Zoe xx