W.I. Newsletter April 2022

Several members met earlier this month to enjoy a walk from the Hare & Hounds at Charlton Down through Enham Alamein, returning to the pub for lunch, which they all enjoyed.  There was also a chance to catch up at the coffee morning on Maundy Thursday in the Sports Pavilion.  This monthly event is open to non-members and is a chance to meet us in a more informal setting.  Our next one is on 12th May at 10.30 a.m.

Unfortunately, our planned outing to the Tulip Festival in Arundel had to be cancelled due to lack of support, which was disappointing.  

At the start of this month’s meeting there was a minute’s silence for former member Joy Hicken who died recently at the age of 100.  Joy moved, with her husband, from Lancashire in 1964 to run a smallholding on Little Park.  Despite this being hard work, she found time to join the WI and enjoyed her membership until 2016 when mobility issues arose.   She wrote in our Centenary Memory Book in 2017 “… I have enjoyed my time at the WI, the speakers and the lovely outings and the many friends I have made.”  

Julia, our President, was delighted to welcome another new member to our meeting this month.  We were then given information on all that is on offer in the coming months. 

Then it was time to introduce our speaker for the evening, John Barlow who is Chairman of the Trustees of the Crisis Centre located here in Andover.  This is one of 286 located across the United Kingdom.

However, John had persuaded Carol and Cheryl, who are actively involved in the day-to-day activities and programmes to come along as well.

Carol, a support worker, spoke first and gave us background to the centre which was opened in July 1975, initially to provide accommodation for homeless men and women.  Since 1986 it has become a refuge for women and children and now has 15 family rooms and four single rooms for women without children.  They have also acquired four additional properties where women and families can learn to live independently, for an interim period, but with additional support.  The Centre is open and staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.   All victims of domestic abuse can call their centre, but men cannot be offered accommodation, however, they will be given advice and support.

Cheryl is an outreach worker and spoke next, giving us many frightening statistics including that on average a victim will experience 35 instances of physical abuse before seeking help.  Her role is to provide support to vulnerable women who wish to remain in their homes. 

There has been a substantial increase in domestic abuse (which can take many forms) recently and referrals can come from the Police, local Authorities, GPs, worried neighbours, and families as well as the victims themselves.   Discreet support can be offered. 

This Centre offers valuable support to those in need of their services, and they rely on funding from Councils as well as charitable donations and legacies as well as practical support from other agencies.   This is just a very brief summary, so much more could be written.  The question-and-answer session went on for some time as members sought further information.    All very sobering.   

It was then time for refreshments. 

It is our Annual Meeting this month and we will be looking back on the previous 12 months as well as looking forward, but we do need more volunteers to join our committee.   Please put 26th May in your diary and come along for a 7.30 p.m. start.  The evening will include a Fish & Chip Supper so make sure you have submitted your order to Lynne Lucas and paid our Treasurer!