Annual General Meeting Agenda & Minutes
Wednesday 4 April 2018
Venue: Café at St Andrew’s Baptist Church

Download the PDF of minutes

7.15pm – Members on rota arrive to set up

7.30pm – Members arrive, sign in and donations to Jar Tombola collected

7.45pm – Meeting begins

1. Welcome & Notices – WI ordinary business (Lisa H)


  • Welcome to three new visitors

  • Birthday cards handed out (3)

  • Club announcements: 22 April 2018 Walking Club will start at Wimpole Hall car park for 2pm start; 25 April 2018 Craft Club meeting at The Old Spring for 6pm; 10 May 2018 Book Club discussing ‘Bossypants’ by Tina Fey at The Burleigh Arms from 6pm

  • Tea Rota – please sign up

  • Member Survey – went out in three parts via email, please complete

  • Margot highlighted this month’s events mailing from CFWI. Harry Potter event stirred some excitement. Booking procedure explained. Some members questioned clunky-ness of procedure but there was generally good feedback on CFWI events from members who have attended in the past.

2. AGM

Presentation and Adoption of Financial Statement (Nikki B unable to attend – Lisa H presented)

  • There has been an increase in meeting takings due to implementation of tea and cake tokens and better quality ‘raffles’ (meaning a wider range e.g. blind date with a book, raffles, tombolas, competitions etc.)

  • Compared to last year, we have doubled our fundraising via the Summer Social, craft fairs etc – kudos to Mel and Helen for this.

  • Lisa ran through the expenses incurred over the last year for example, for the Summer Social (sweets, catering, hook-a-duck prizes…) and “Other” including paying for the independent examiner for the accounts.

  • Questions raised by members: if there are any thought of please ask Lisa or email

  • We are happy to provide a fuller financial report to the members at the June or July meeting, after the independent examiner has signed off the books.

  • Margot proposed this report be accepted, Jo Beale seconded.

Committee Report (Margot R) with Buzzword Bingo

WI Aims/Our Aims:

The main purposes of the Women’s Institute organisation are: 

to advance the education of women and girls for the public benefit in all areas including (without limitation): 

  • local, national and international issues of political and social importance;

  • music, drama and other cultural subjects; and

  • all branches of agriculture, crafts, home economics, science, health and social welfare.  

to promote sustainable development for the public benefit by:    

  • educating people in the preservation, conservation and protection of the environment and the prudent use of natural resources; and

  • promoting sustainable means of achieving economic growth and regeneration.


to advance health for the public benefit; and to advance citizenship for the public benefit by the promotion of civic responsibility and volunteering.

Last year’s Aim:  Stay within budget (links to sustainable development for the public benefit – our members and the people we reach with our activities).

Aims for this year: Increase membership engagement with activities (linking to education and civic responsibility).

How have we achieved these aims in 2017?

Staying within budget – well, you’ve just heard from Lisa!


Local, national and international political and social issues

April 2017 Cam City AGM and Resolutions Discussion
One of the things we do as part of the WI that has the widest social impact is what happens as a result of the resolutions process. When you vote on the short-listed resolutions in January, you start a process which leads to important political and social campaigning across the WI and partner organisations. 

In 2017, we had two resolutions to vote for or against; we voted against Alleviating loneliness as we felt the wording was too woolly, lacked a definitive path of action and so many WIs and other organisations already focussed on this issue.

We had some reservations about the Plastic Soup resolution too, worried that there was a lack of scientific research to support the assertion that toxins from the plastic leached into fish populations and that there was no clear set of actions we could undertake to support the resolution. However, Cheyenne introduced us to filters that can be bought for washing machines to reduce the number of microscopic fibres entering the sewerage system, and we eventually voted in favour of the Plastic Soup resolution.

The fact that both resolutions were eventually passed at the National AGM in June 2017 meant that the WI could then campaign on both issues. Many of us chose to switch to more natural materials in our crafting and clothing, install those wonderful filters and look into reducing the use of single-use plastics altogether. You can see the ongoing impact of this work (heavily influenced by the BBC’s Blue Planet programme!) going on today.

Music, drama and cultural subjects

We covered a range of subjects in the talks of 2017, including “How to sell your wife” (a talk which proved very controversial) in July, a brilliant pageant of historical clothing in October, a riveting introduction to the world of Jessie Knight, early female tattoo artist in May – and in February we even dabbled in a little murder!

We also access a little culture at Book Club. Over the last year, this club has covered a huge range of genres despite only meeting every other month. Each meeting is well-structured courtesy, in the main, of Sarah Nelson. I know this club has introduced me to authors and topics I never thought I’d read. Although Sarah stepped down from committee last year she never gave up on this club – so a big thanks is due to Sarah!
And we can’t forget the amazing variety of film outings organised by Film Club; from the story of the Women of Colour who contributed to Man’s first steps on the Moon, to THE AWESOMEST DISNEY FILM Moana!!!! Helen has definitely done her best to both inform and entertain.

Agriculture, home crafts, home economics

This is probably the section we have covered best in terms of frequency and range. Apart from the September Glass Beading, we have had regular Craffles, a craft swap or two, and a Bake-Off at our Summer Social. We even raffled off one of Mel’s amazing Owl quilts at the Social, all of which tested our budgeting and organisational skills as a committee!

In June 2017 we were amazed at the generosity of our very own Sharon and Tracey, when Tracey put on a Glass Etching Workshop at Go Glass. Sharon and her daughter provided an ENORMOUS and DELICIOUS buffet, well worth every penny…And 100% of the proceeds went to our charity of the year, Cambridge Rape Crisis! Everyone who took part would definitely recommend having a go at this craft!

Craft Club has also gone from strength to strength, meeting most months every 4th Wednesday of the month, with regular attendees and stacks of great crafty products made for our craft fairs ready for fundraising…but more on that in a moment!

Science, health and social welfare

We started 2017 with a meeting on Self-Defence – because sometimes it’s good to get moving, because the instructor was a dish, and one day we may need to make our feelings VERY CLEAR. In March, as it was International Women’s Day, we focussed on a Women’s Health topic and had a presentation from Coppafeel on Breast Cancer Awareness. The Boobettes are on a mission to ensure EVERYONE is checking their boobs at least once a month, and we learned all the signs and symptoms to look out for. 

And we placed the Makaton Sign Language meeting in June in this section too - because Makaton is a language programme using signs and symbols designed to support spoken language. The signs and symbols are used with speech, in spoken word order, and can help those who are unable to communicate verbally as well as they may need or like to. Using Makaton can enable better communication between children and adults, for those with speech difficulties and those with no speech at all. This makes it a really important tool for the social well-being of those individuals.

Let’s not forget Walking Club! This is a great member-led club which rarely lets the weather stop them. Huge thanks to Bronwyn for leading many of these walks and being the backbone of this club.

Sustainable development promotion:

Preservation and prudent use of natural resources

In our December 2017 Fun with Flowers meeting, we learned about how you can make amazing floral and foliage wreaths and centrepieces not only using products from your own back garden (and maybe even your neighbours’!) meaning they’ll be cheap-as-chips, but also how to care for them and keep them fresh and vibrant as long as possible. We were encouraged to grow lots of different useful plants (which happily matches our SOS for Honeybees resolution of 2009) (and as a side-note, using them in decorations is actually a good way of pruning and caring for a lot of these plants!) and re-use the fancy glittery bits :) 

Sustainable means of achieving economic growth and regeneration

Possibly our most popular meeting, in November Chocolat Chocolat lead an incredibly tasty workshop exploring many of the different flavours and treatments of chocolate. We learned not all chocolate is delicious! I know! I was as shocked as you! And you may not recall (too giddy about the enormous amounts of free chocolate probably) but we even got an explanation of how cocoa-growing in Ghana (the world’s 2nd-largest source of cocoa) faces challenges in trying to be sustainable.  Educating farmers on soil and water conservation, biodiversity and ecosystem conservation is a part of that. 

First Buzzword Bingo winner awarded prize (Hotel Chocolat Easter Egg)

Promote civic responsibility and volunteering
As promised, more about our fantastic crafters! In 2017 we had a stall at two very different events in December – the Mill Road Winter Fair and the Blue Belle’s Craft Fair. A special mention to Viv, whose woollen hat decorations were responsible for nearly half our takings at Mill Road, and Helen and Mel, who put so much into organising our stalls. We couldn’t have these stalls without the generous crafty donations from our members who produce all the baubles and cards and everything else that we sell. The committee would also like to thank Suze, who sacrificed a huge amount of her time and energy volunteering on the stalls and getting the sales!

Second Buzzword Bingo winner awarded prize (Hotel Chocolat Easter Bunny)

We’ve already made a great start on 2018, as I hope you’ll agree. In January 2018 we heard All About Alpacas, in February it was All About Recycling and members did a fantastic job reducing waste by swishing a small mountain of clothing. In March we did a little skills-sharing as well as building up our craft stall stock with our Make Two Take One meeting. We’ve sent out a Member Survey asking for your feedback and input, and we look forward to reading your responses, and making any changes you tell us we need to. 

Looking forward, we’d really like to get you more involved in your WI. The WI is what you make it. Hopefully the committee has organised a meeting schedule that meets your tastes and interests, challenges you to try something new once in a while and broadens your horizons. The programme is constantly evolving, so please feel free to get involved any way you can.

Thank you.

Motion to adopt – Melanie Reed.  

Seconded by Gaynor Mears


Presidents Address (Lisa H)


  • President for 2 years but still not used to speeches

  • Has been a great experience and successes have not been down to one person – let’s be honest, if everything was run by Lisa everything would be all about dinosaurs

  • Hope that we are supportive, friendly and welcoming and continue to be so.

  • Have to say goodbyes to some committee members – Harri, Nikki, Gaynor and Molly. They will be sorely missed.

  • Committee leavers presented with cards and gifts (Nikki and Harri not present, cards and gifts will be handed over at a later date)

  • Thank you

Annual Charity (discussion) 

We have supported the Cambridge Rape Crisis Centre (CRCC) for 2 years. We are happy to continue doing so but would like to support the charities which are close to your hearts. Please put forward suggestions to committee or via email/Facebook – will vote on which charity to support for the following year at the May meeting

BREAK for tea and cake/raffle/tombola 20 MINUTES

£35 raised via Jarbola

Election of Committee (all those willing to join, stand)

Introduction of tellers – Shani Eliraz (Ladybirds WI) explained process

Lisa H, Mel R, Margot R, Helen L, Sarah C, Marie D stood and were accepted

(Marie D is a dual member and we will have to confirm her position on committee next meeting with a by-law adjustment)

Election of President (written nominations and secret ballot)

Lisa appointed President for 3rd year unopposed.

Explanation of Resolutions process & introduction of our NFWI AGM delegate 
(Gaynor M)
Sarah C is our AGM delegate for 2018


3.    Resolutions Discussion and Vote

‘Mental Health Matters’ Discussion/Presentation (Gaynor M)

‘Mental health matters as much as physical health. The NFWI urges all WI members to recognise the importance of parity between mental health and physical health, and take action to make it as acceptable to talk about mental health issues as much as physical health issues, and to lobby government for better support for mental illness.’

Handed out ‘Mental Health Quiz’ and went through answers after five minutes.



  • Gaynor led discussion with some personal experience of the importance of considering mental health issues

  • Amey has Mental Health Ambassadors – commercial firms are already addressing the issue

  • There is Climate Change coalition training available at Denman – could they also offer counselling courses to support this resolution?

  • Could we have a Welfare and Mental Health Officer?

  • Vagueness of resolution is good – keeps it open to interpretation/allows wider range of activities

  • What is meant by “better support”?
    Jo B – Dementia falls under Social Care not medical, therefore no funding for housing adaptation. A friend’s father had to have a stroke before he was allowed to get the adaptations to his house to deal with the dementia. The situation may not have gotten that bad if the distinction hadn’t been made/ could the stroke have been mitigated/avoided if better care were in place for the mental health problems?

  • Norfolk/Suffolk Mental Health have just had to cut 36 beds – Cambridge very stretched but currently no planned cuts; clearly funding is a huge issue.

Vote (show of hands)

‘Mental health matters as much as physical health. The NFWI urges all WI members to recognise the importance of parity between mental health and physical health, and take action to make it as acceptable to talk about mental health issues as much as physical health issues, and to lobby government for better support for mental illness.’


For:  25

Against:  0

Abstain:  0

Give our delegate discretion to change our vote:

For:  16

Against:  2

Abstain:  7


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