Hot Topics April 2016

Before introducing, Tim Mann, the speaker for the evening, Fiona, our president, opened the meeting by welcoming 66 members and 2 new members. She then went on to say how guests are welcome and we are always pleased to see them. She reminded us that guests can attend free for their first visit and then twice more at £4 per visit and then they are expected to join.

Lys, our secretary, gave us some information about the two resolutions we were about to vote on, the result of which would go forward to the final vote at the Annual Meeting in Brighton on 11th June. The outcome of the votes is:
Avoid food waste, address food poverty
‘The WI calls on all supermarkets to sign up to a voluntary agreement to avoid food waste, thereby passing surplus food on to charities thus helping to address the issue of increasing food poverty in the UK.’ – 39 votes

Appropriate care in hospitals for people with dementia
‘We call upon HM Government and the NHS to provide facilities to enable carers to stay with people with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia that have been admitted into hospital.’ – 29 votes

March and May Meetings
Fiona mentioned that the Quiz in March was a great evening and we had made £653 for our chosen charity, Home Start Merton. She congratulated everybody who had helped to make it a success. Fiona reminded us that next month will be a Plant Sale and everyone is invited to bring seedlings, cuttings, plants, shrubs to sell to raise money for our chosen charity.

Wimbledon Fair
Veronica gave a short talk on Wimbledon Fair and asked people to sign up for both making produce to sell and for helping on the day. She went on to say Wimbledon Fair is our main fundraiser paying for the hire of the hall, speakers, Denman bursaries etc. She also reminded us that we can’t sell produce with cream or meat in, or anything that may deteriorate in the heat.

Rosey shared her concern about the future of Denman and mentioned the fundraising appeal to save Denman in the March edition of WI Life. The appeal is that if all WI members give £10 over the next 2 years it would make a huge difference. The money would be added to the budget for ongoing maintenance of the buildings and grounds and help to keep Denman afloat. Rosey will be sending the money she collected from members on Monday to the “Saving Denman Appeal”. Denman is a wonderful facility and enjoyed by so many and if members wish to donate to this worthy cause or need more information, please contact Rosey.

Eileen thanked members for all the wonderful knitted and sewn items that were recently taken to Kenya. She then went on to mention the sign-up sheet for the patchwork and collage workshop we will be holding at St. Lawrence Church Hall, Morden, on Saturday, 21st May between 10.00 and 2.00. We still have places so if you decide you would like to come, please contact Dulcie by email.

Merton Voluntary Police Cadets
Tim Mann from Merton Voluntary Police Cadets started off his talk by thanking the WI for their generous Christmas Gifts and to say that these were really appreciated when they were distributed across the borough.

Tim then went on to give us a very uplifting talk about the Merton Voluntary Police Cadets. He said it is a voluntary, uniformed, youth organisation run by the Metropolitan Police Service for young, local people aged from 13 upwards and recently they have started a junior section for 10+. There are over 95 units across the 32 boroughs with 4000 cadets and these cadets come from various backgrounds. He said 45% are from black, Asian and minority ethnic groups; 35% from vulnerable backgrounds and that there is a 50/50 male/female ratio.

Tim introduced us to some of his cadets who told us their name, age and what they liked about being a cadet. Not only do they do a lot of work with schools and in the community, they have also been involved in many key events such as the Olympics, Golden Jubilee, Marathon, Notting Hill Carnival, Remembrance Sunday, Trooping the Colour, and various other Royal events. They also take part in “test purchasing operations” and various crime scenarios where their opinions and suggestions are listened to and taken seriously.

A lot of the new recruits come with low self-esteem and little confidence and Tim said it was great to see them make new friends, gain in confidence and develop personally within such a short time of joining the cadets. He is obviously very proud of his cadets and deservedly so as they are a credit to the youth of today, who often get such bad press, and they make great ambassadors.