It's not just small talk with the WI - we tackle the big campaigns too

PUBLISHED: 19:42 02 June 2019 | UPDATED: 19:42 02 June 2019

The WI is campaigning in support of women and the cervical smear

The WI is campaigning in support of women and the cervical smear


Claire Wade with the lastest news from the Norfolk WI

If you think the WI is just tea, cake and polite small talk, you haven't sat through a resolutions meeting. You can expect a passionate debate.

The resolutions raise issues that are important to WI members and if voted in, the power of the WI is unleashed to bring about change for the better.

Last year we focused on the resolution 'mental health 
matters as much as physical health'. This year we had 
two to consider.

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'Call against the decline in rural bus services' focuses on the fact that over the last decade there has been a massive decline in the number of bus services. The WI has focused on alleviating loneliness and improving health and wellbeing, so the bus campaign is a natural extension. The resolution raised a lot of debate within my WI as to how we could meet the proposed objective. We agreed there needs to be a better partnership between the bus companies and community transport operators, but there was differing opinions on how this could be achieved.

The second resolution, 'Don't Fear the Smear', aims to encourage people to attend routine screening. We learnt 
that cervical screening saves around 5,000 lives a year, yet attendance is currently at its lowest for a decade.

The Swallowtail members debated that lots is already being done to raise awareness, from posters to media campaigns. We discussed the barriers people face in getting screened, from embarrassment and fear, to physically being able to get to an appointment.

A member told us about iCASH Norfolk, the modern version of a Family Planning clinic. Most of us had no idea of this service, so we realised that there are ways we could implement the resolution, just by making people aware of pre-existing services available across the county.

The discussion brought out lots of strong opinions, but this is what makes the WI so successful in its campaigns. The members truly care and when we get behind an issue, we're determined to bring about change. If the resolutions pass, I'm sure this year we'll do just that.

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