I like the English language and the written word, and I have enjoyed watching one of the world’s longest running quiz programmes, Countdown for many years.
Dictionary corner lexicographer, Susie Dent now has new words in her big book too, like Covid, and Coronavirus, and others more familiar like pandemic, lock down, zoom, and virtual.
As a world we have had to embrace technology, big time!…. having been forced to go into hiding from an invisible army of germs. The weeks we have spent hunkered down in homes, has given us not only the time to think and reflect on what is important to us and our families, but also a platform to learn new skills and be creative in how we communicate with others for our work, education and social time.
My computer skills are self – taught and like many lean on the younger members of the family to find lost documents, assuming I’ve saved it somewhere! I learnt to use skype a couple of years ago, but had never heard of zoom, webinar, Microsoft teams, Webex and GoTo meetings to name a few of the virtual sites that are offering the ability to carry on with a ‘normal’ life.
Many organisations, charities and the WI have had to rethink how they can reach out to their membership, as the ability to meet face to face in the local village hall and community centre is still not viable.
The WI has been exploring Virtual WIs, which has involved setting up a pilot project, and raised a number of constitutional and practical challenges for NFWI and federations in different parts of the country.
Members here in Suffolk East Federation are keen to lead by example and signed up to host a pilot scheme for interested members which ran until April 2021. At this point, and with better understanding of how this will operate in practice, NFWI are continuing to provide legal guidance, practical support and use the experiences gathered to bring belonging to the WI Virtually as educational and enjoyable as face to face gatherings.
This virtual WI will still need a President, Secretary and Treasurer, along with a committee ready to welcome more potential members from far and wide! They still need to follow the constitution, hold a minimum of 11 meetings, pay their annual subscriptions and hold an annual meeting. Online WIs also have the advantage of appealing to potential members with young children, members not wishing to go out at night, incapacitated or not able to travel. The spectrum of membership is worldwide and enables friends and family to join the WI together and of course there’s always a family pet on camera to bring about interesting conversation!
Suffolk East federation hosted an exploratory meeting virtually at the end of November 2020, and the 40+ zoom participants are now on line monthly, getting to grips with online protocols, chat room etiquette and background enhancements.
So….If you’d like to join our virtual WI please contact our head office email firstname.lastname@example.org
We look forward to meeting you.