If your WI has held an event related to one of the campaigns listed here, or you have a resource that would support a particular campaign, please email the details to admin@essexwi.org.uk.

Clean Rivers for People and Wildlife in Essex

Our Great Big Green Week meeting in June 2023 on 2023’s WI resolution was a great success. WI Centre was full, and with many more delegates joining on line. All the speakers were excellent – we would strongly recommend inviting them to speak at your meetings.

Lucy from Essex County Council (ECC) showed us that as our summers become hotter and drier there will be increasing uncertainty over our water supply, with agriculture, industry, leisure and our increasing number of homes putting pressure on supplies. Nearly a third of our rivers are of poor quality for biodiversity,

Helena from ECC said species are being lost through loss of habitat, but Andy of Essex and Suffolk Rivers Trust showed removal of barriers such as weirs can help wildlife. All Essex rivers are polluted with chemicals, some the ‘forever” chemicals that are harmful to human health. 

Darren, Essex Wildlife Trust, described how our milder winters mean that algae now  overwinter on our salt marshes, killing off the plants that once held the marsh in place, causing coastal erosion.

Both Andy and Darren encouraged us to become River Champions, monitoring the health of our local rivers with their help and guidance. For more details go to https://www.essexwt.org.uk/river-champions

From Manningtree Mermaids, Rose showed us how we can keep our rivers safe and clean while Anna spoke passionately about how to check the water is safe and clean for open water swimming..

If you were there and would like to see the presentations again, or missed it and wish you hadn’t, the presentations are available on YouTube via this link www.youtube.com/@federationofessexwis-fewi4017

‘Mental Health Matters: Where To Find Help’ Guide

Our team at Essex WI have produced a guide designed to provide a comprehensive list of contacts whether you are someone in need of support, know someone who needs support, are a carer, or a WI member who wishes to campaign with us on this issue.

Mental Health Matters Where To Get Help

We hope you find this a helpful resource. If you feel we have missed out any useful contacts, then please do email us on: admin@essexwi.org.uk to let us know.

How One WI Is Fighting Loneliness Online

The Brentwood Belles WI is characteristic of many newer WIs in that it has a large number of members who are time poor whether due to work, or looking after children or grandchildren. Many of their members join as they wish to make new friends within the local area. However, the Belles were finding that whilst their sub groups and trips were well attended, they still weren’t accessible to everyone. As a result, their social media team came up with a cunning plan to use social media for good purposes and to link it to the Alleviating Loneliness resolution. So for several of their sub groups, they now have online versions as well. President, Jane Miles, explains more,

One group that many were keen to come to, but just couldn’t afford the time, or couldn’t attend when it was on, was our Happy Hookers crochet and knitting group. So we started a closed online Facebook group that is made up of both those who are new to the craft and those with plenty of years of experience. It has nearly 20 members and there are posts and comments most days, plus the girls organised an impromptu get together the other weekend too. It’s been brilliant for the newbies too as they can post pictures showing what’s happened and get advice really quickly.”


As a result, the Belles have now also made the following online groups too:

Business Belles – for those who own their own business, or who work along at home

Bookworms Online – an extension of their book group

Techno Belles Online – their technology advice group which means people can ask questions and support each other

And they have also launched a new Facebook only group, The Buddy Belles. Jane says, “this was the brainchild of our Membership Secretary, Margaret. It’s a group where if you are planning to go somewhere in the next couple of days and fancy seeing if anyone else wants to join you, then you can post and see who is around and wants to join you. Or, if you want to plan a trip to somewhere that the Belles aren’t going to, you can see if anyone else fancies it as well. It can be an impromptu thing, or more planned. But the key is that its about putting ideas out there of ways we can all meet up and get together, that we might not have thought about otherwise. Overall, all of these groups are about alleviating loneliness and making sure that the friendship and camaraderie that is unique to being a WI member, is available to everyone who joins, regardless of their work or home situation.”.