W.I. Newsletter February 2024

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At our meeting this month and being a leap year, this was on 29 February, there were several sign-up sheets.  This always invokes the plea “can I borrow your pen?”  There never seem to be enough pens and members can never be sure they arrive home with their own or someone else’s!

What was on offer?  Our lovely Secretary, Aileen, is organising a trip to an amateur Theatre in Salisbury in April – this time it is an Agatha Christie play.  We have always enjoyed these productions.  Then there is our June meeting which is a visit to Featherstone’s English Flower Company.  Our summer outing is to the Tower of London – yes that headline is “Members of Abbotts Ann W.I. are off to the Tower.”   The latter two events being organised by our equally lovely Programme Secretary, Lynda.   We will need help to fill the coach and further information will be available shortly. 

Our speaker for the evening was Ryland Lee who was present to explain what Naomi House & Jack’s Place in Sutton Scotney can offer to families of children and young adults suffering from life-limiting conditions.  This includes medical, emotional and spiritual support.   He wanted to dispel the myth that hospices are sad and solemn places.  His slides and videos illustrated both what a lovely welcoming space both buildings are, being especially designed to cater for all who use their facilities whatever their needs may be. The bedrooms are decorated in bright colours, patients can bring personal items with them to make it feel more like home and all have doors opening to the garden, beautifully maintained by volunteer gardeners.  As well as providing end of life care, it also offers support to their families as they navigate their grief.

However, there is also much laughter as it also offers respite care so that families can feel confident to leave their loved ones there, whilst they get some much-needed rest and/or family time with their other children.  There are also opportunities for siblings to come together to share their experiences.  Facilities on offer include a communal area, a sensory room and swimming pool.  All with adaptable equipment to cope with mobility and pulmonary conditions.

Whilst Naomi House caters for those under 16, Jack’s Place was created for young adults from 16 – 35 who also still need support.  After this they are dependent on their local authority.  They were much involved in the design of the facility and asked for their communal area to be in the form of an American Diner

Members were surprised to learn that whilst there are only 10 bedrooms in Naomi House and 8 in Jack’s Place this enables them to offer support to 563 families.   However, it costs £7.2 million a year to run.  Whilst most of this is from public donations, there is some support from Government as they are designated a hospice not a hospital, albeit a very small portion.

Ryland touched on the problems that arose during the recent Covid Pandemic and how many services had to be suspended, although they are almost back to pre-covid normality now, recruiting nurses who wish to work in this form of care is still difficult.  They are always looking for support both financial and in the form of volunteering.   Lynda Goldstone gave a heartfelt thank you to Ryland on behalf of our members.

As you will have seen from last month’s diary dates there were opportunities for members to come together to discuss their latest book club choice, drink coffee as well as walk and lunch.

SAVE THE DATE:  Sunday 30th June – plans are being made for an Afternoon Tea fund raising event.  More information will follow in the coming weeks. 

Our next meeting is on 28 March and our speaker is Richard Murphy whose talk is “and Now the Good News!” Brilliant – there doesn’t seem to be much of that in the media currently.  So, if you wish to be cheered up then please join us.  Our meetings are held in the Village Hall and start at 7.30 p.m.


06 March –        Book Club – Dobbies Garden Centre 10.30 a.m.

09 March –        Walking Group

14 March –        Coffee Morning – Sports Pavilion at 10.30 a.m. (£2 to include refreshments) Non-members welcome

28 March          Monthly Meeting – Village Hall 7.30 p.m.