Fox Hatch WI

"I am very proud of the way everyone has supported and helped one another during the pandemic."

When was your WI formed and how did the idea arise? 1972/73.  Younger members wanted an evening meeting rather than a day time one.

How many members does your WI have? Approximately 30.

How do you spread the word about your WI? We have an entry in our Village News every month and have given out leaflets on stalls at local events. Our WI also has Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.

At our meetings… we enjoy getting together to learn new things and socialise.

What are the three best things about your WI? Friendship, exchanges of ideas and skills and working together on projects.

If you had to describe the members of your WI in one word, it would be: Caring!

Do you mind telling us the age of your oldest and youngest member? Mid-forties and late seventies.

During the past months, the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed our way of living. How did and does your WI cope with this situation?

We created a WhatsApp group to stay in touch and both ask for and offer help. We have held meetings via Zoom. Prior to being able to use Zoom, we had already created the “Fox Hatch Herald” to replace our meetings.
We also founded a Book Club, involved ourselves in various craft projects for charities and we emailed and called those members who aren’t using WhatsApp to check on their welfare. We have had book and jigsaw exchanges, photo competitions, and quizzes to help alleviate loneliness and boredom in isolation.

I am very proud of the way everyone has supported and helped one another.

Can you name one thing people might not know about the WI or do not expect from the WI?

Many people still think all we do is serve refreshments and are not aware of the campaigning and educating aspects of the WI.

In your opinion, how has the WI changed during the last 105 years?

In many ways it hasn’t changed: it still campaigns vigorously, it still educates women and it still provides a welcoming and friendly environment for women to meet. Today, there is a wider variety of activities and more ways to connect with others via modern technology. The WI is more openly inclusive than in the past.

When thinking about the future of your WI, what are you looking forward to the most?

Welcoming new members with different backgrounds and skills to help create a more diverse group. In the short term – just being able to meet in person again as we have all missed the human contact.

Fox Hatch WI belongs to Essex federation.