I hope that by now many of you will already have received your first vaccination for Coronavirus as Dave and I have. It is at least the first step on the road to normal even if it has to be a new normal for us all.
It is also the time of year when you are all reminded that your Annual WI Subscriptions are due on 1st April. You will all remember that, in future, they will always be due in April rather than January which is something that WIs and Federations have wanted for a very long time. By now your own WI will also have been notified and given guidelines from National that, from this year, individual WIs will have flexibility on the portion of the Annual Subscription that they retain. I know that most of you are well aware of how the WI subscription is apportioned, but for those of you who don’t, or in fact may just have forgotten, here is a brief reminder.
This year the full subscription is £44 and of this your own WI retains £21.60 to help with the cost of hall hire and speakers etc, for the forthcoming year. The remaining £22.40 is sent to the Federation who keep £10.30 for each member to assist with running costs and the remaining £12.10 per member then goes on to National to help with their costs.
The new ruling on flexibility allows for each individual WI to decide if they wish to collect the full £21.60 or whether they want to make a change and charge you a lesser amount or indeed no charge at all. The amount going to Federation and National is non-negotiable and has to be paid for every member by the due date but, as you can see, the ruling on the WI portion is quite a significant change.
What a WI does is up to them and will be impacted by their membership number and what they have saved or spent over the last year. But one thing they cannot do, is charge any more than the full amount of £21.60 plus the £22.40 for Federation and National, making the total of £44. I know that many WIs spent money last year doing bags for members and paying for Zoom speakers, so all WIs will have to think carefully about what they do. They will have to remember that they must hold enough reserves to keep them going until the following year. If you need any more information on this then your own WI Committee will have full details and it will also be on our website.
Once again I am astounded by the generosity of WIs around the Federation and have just received very substantial donations from Bardon Mill, North Gosforth, North Sunderland and Seahouses, Stannington and Ulgham WIs. So thank you very much for that ladies. I have been invited to some more WI Zoom meetings so at least I have something going in my diary now. Ladies please remember if and when you do hold Zoom meetings that we don’t need to have any Jackie Weaver moments, we are the WI after all! One wrong step and you may be “thrown out”.
I hope that by the time you are all reading this our previous Chairman, Hilary Robson is fully recovered from a fall which left her with a broken wrist which can be very debilitating. I haven’t ascertained whether or not any vertiginous heels played any part in this event but we all wish her a very speedy recovery back to full strength.
Finally and with great sadness I have to announce the death of former Northumberland Board member and VCO (as Advisers were once known) Kathleen Beale of Corbridge WI. Her mother Kitty McHugh had also been a member at Board level being County Chairman in the 1960s. A card of condolence has been sent to her family on behalf of the Federation.
Stay safe and smiling ladies. Don’t forget to change your clocks at the end of the month.
Marj x

Northumberland WI

t: 0191 217 0808


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Blezard Business Park, Seaton Burn
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE13 6DS