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Carmen Luscombe Carmen Luscombe

A warm welcome to
Devon Federation

Devon is a delightful county to live, play and work in. The county covers 2,590sq miles with a population of 1.1 million people. As well as agriculture, much of the economy of Devon is linked to tourism. Due to its mild climate, coastline and beautiful landscape Devon is a popular destination for recreation and leisure.

Devon Federation has nearly 7,000 members in 206 WIs and 46 groups. The Federation was formed 98 years ago and will be celebrating its centenary in 2020. The first WI to form was Cullompton on 28thApril 1917, but unfortunately it folded in 2007. Our oldest WI is now Cornwood, which was formed in June 1917 and celebrated its centenary in 2017.

The federation continues to attract new members and over the last year formed four WIs in both urban and rural areas. Our members are a diverse group of women, of different ages, backgrounds and cultures, in employment, carers or retired, but all seeking friendship, fun, new challenges and volunteering opportunities.

The federation is a registered charity, which is run by a board of 12 elected members who are hardworking trustees. They are responsible for the federation’s finances, governance and 3 skilled admin staff who work part-time.

We treasure and cherish our hard working team of 10 advisers and 2 trainees, who cover this vast county to support our WIs. To enable and support a range of exciting activities we have five hard working subcommittees, providing craft workshops, holidays, special interest days, cultural event, etc.  At Christmas we have a wonderful service in our beautiful cathedral in Exeter, with our outstanding choir of 150 women. Our Denman representative works tirelessly. Devon sends at least four coaches twice a year to Denman College with an average of 150 members, covering nearly 100 specialist courses.

We have now set up a new media support group, which is expanding its remit to include delivery of our monthly Newssheet, Website, Facebook, Office 365 and provide training for all our members.

In the spring we hold our annual Spring Council Meeting in the Riviera Centre in Torquay. This is a great occasion with outstanding speakers and a time to celebrate the past year’s achievements of our members and the Federation, and meet up with old friends and make new acquaintances.

Devon Federation has recently registered with the Alzheimer’s society to enable the Federation to become a Dementia Friendly Organisation. Our small team of Dementia Friends Champions (of which, I am proud to say, I am one!) is now working with our WIs to provide information sessions.

Plans for our centenary celebrations in 2020 to be outstanding and memorable are well on the way.

We welcome new members at all our WIs.  It is possible to visit a WI and decide on membership, and if you want to belong to several you can become a dual member. If you are unable to get to a local WI then you can become an associated member.

The WI is whatever you want it to be, so do come and try us.  You will be given a warm welcome with tea and cakes and we won’t forget the jam and Jerusalem!

Carmen Luscombe
Federation Chairman
carmen.luscombe@devonwi.org.uk

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