President Ann’s Letter Spring 2019

Dear Friends,

As I am typing this letter to you, it is cold and dark but by the time you are reading it, the days will be lengthening and we will be looking forward to the spring flowers and more temperate weather. It will be the start of a new calendar year, but unbelievably we will be half way through our Inner Wheel year. The months are just flying by and how true it is that this happens when you are enjoying yourself. It is so lovely travelling around the country to spend time with you and get to know you at your District Rallies and your special club events. Thank you so very much for the true Inner Wheel friendship and warm welcome everywhere I visit.

Please help to make this year a real celebration, as we commemorate 95 years of Inner Wheel in Great Britain and Ireland. On 10th January 2019, I will have been to celebrate 95 years of Inner Wheel in GB&I and World Inner Wheel Day. Our celebrations being in Manchester, the birthplace of Inner Wheel and coincidentally my birthplace too! If you would like to know what else I have been up to, then please go to the home page of our Association website, where you will find my monthly blog.

I hope that many of you have registered for our Conference in Cardiff. Please put the dates in your diaries - 8th to 10th April 2019. We are working so hard to put together an interesting, motivating and fun Conference for us all to enjoy with some things old and some things new. If you haven’t been before, please give it a try. Please don’t forget to bring your broken or unwanted jewellery to support Jessie’s Fund. I hope that you’ve

Period Poverty The Scale of the Problem

The impact of poverty can be seen in the lives of many today but there are often hidden, and by their nature, less obvious problems such as, for example, period poverty. This is a topic that some will find awkward and uncomfortable to discuss. Periods are a pain in so many ways. It is extremely surprising and worrying to find that in this country and this day and age, thousands of women and girls dread “that time of the month” as they are unable to afford adequate sanitary protection. Imagine the shame and embarrassment of women on low incomes, in refuges and prisons and the homeless but most shockingly school girls across the UK who suffer the stigma, bullied by their classmates and shunned by their families and very often missing school every month.

Why and how IW feels it can help

This regrettable situation was foremost in their thoughts when the Governing Body chose the theme “Period Poverty – Dignity for Women and Girls” as the GB&I project under the banner of the IIW 3-Year Social Project 2018-21 and based it in GB&I.

As a women’s organisation, Inner Wheel can approach the problem from an informed position and will be able to work with and be welcomed by women’s groups.

The current position in the areas of GB&I

In GB&I, a successful petition to remove VAT on sanitary products cannot be implemented until after Brexit. Voluntary

organisations everywhere are organising collections and supplying free products. In England, national and local government are being lobbied to provide free sanitary products for women on low incomes and schools. In Scotland, the government is already providing free access to women on low incomes and in schools, colleges and universities. In Wales, councils will share a £1m fund to provide free sanitary products via community groups, schools and food banks. In Northern Ireland, one district council offers free sanitary products in all its public buildings. In the Republic of Ireland, a petition has been launched to advocate free items for those who need them.

What has been achieved to date and how we can take this forward even more

The Association has provided information for clubs and will approach appropriate retail chains and manufacturers with a view to working together. It is planned to launch the campaign officially on International Women’s Day, 8th March 2019.

Practical ways for clubs to get involved

Support existing petitions, both national and local, for the provision of free sanitary products to those in need, including schools, colleges and universities.

Support existing campaigns both financially and practically. Donate products where needed, for example, among others, to women’s refuges, organisations for the homeless, schools and via foodbanks.

Engage with the local community not only to publicise the project but to raise awareness of Inner Wheel.

IPAP Liz Thomas

Photo of Elgin Club and their bra collection courtesy of the Northern Scot

MEANWHILE– at the other end of the country, Midsomer Norton and Radstock Club in District 20 had a very similar scheme. President Sue Hopkins started her year in office with a cream tea in her garden at which the Club celebrated having collected well over a thousand bras for underprivileged women in other parts of the world, especially Africa.

been enjoying all your fundraising in support of Jessie’s Fund, together with your Tea and Trinkets parties and thanks to those who have already given me their spoils! When I attended my first Conference many years ago now, I suddenly realised how everything in Inner Wheel fitted into place and hearing about all the good work we do and listening to the speakers, I felt fired up to return to my own club to put in more personal service. I suppose even back then you could say that our Conference inspired us to Empower and Evolve. We must carry on moving our wonderful Inner Wheel forward.

Please come and say hello to me in Cardiff, come and meet our International Inner Wheel President Chris Kirby, your Association Executive and of course many friends both old and new. When you think about it, we are all just club members and we all love a good chat, don’t we?

Ladies, enjoy your Inner Wheel. With sincere love, support and friendship,


Membership and

Development Plan Our Inner Wheel Membership and Development Plan arrived in your District via your Member of Council, District Chairman and District Membership Officer. It seeks to provide an overview or jigsaw to show how each layer of Membership and Development interlocks. The puzzle is an unknown and in order to create a way forward, we start with the pieces that are known, the edges. We then BUILD to create a bigger picture and fill in the current gaps – Public Awareness, Membership and District Officer Roles.

Everyone in Inner Wheel in GB&I has a responsibility and part to play, however small. Please ask to look at the plan, read the Club and Member sections and make a positive decision to contribute a piece to the jigsaw.

Inner Wheel in GB&I needs you and your friends. Bags and Bags of Bras

At the beginning of 2014, an article in the Inner Wheel magazine showed a club collecting bras and the International Service Organiser for Elgin Club (District 1) found the concept caught her attention.

The bras go to a textile company in Devizes where they are checked then sold to market traders in African countries such as Ghana and Kenya. It has been proven that women in Africa who wear underwear are much less likely to be abused as the abusers think these women have money and possibly a male partner.

For every ton of bras collected, £700 is donated to the British charity Against Breast Cancer and to date, just over 21,000 bras have been sent, raising £1,500 for Breast Cancer research. With the approval of the Club, friends and colleagues were asked to donate bras and the total rapidly grew.

There are now various collection points around the area, one of the most productive being the local lingerie shop. The local hospital, Elgin Golf Club, the Red Cross shop and several other places help.

An article in a local newspaper caught the eye of a reporter for STV2 and the story was featured on regional television. The club is happy to continue collecting bras and it is good to feel that this is helping women in other countries.

New Initiatives being considered to gain new members

Festooned around the garden were bras that will soon be off to new owners or sold to raise funds for a breast cancer research charity. It is all part of Inner Wheel’s concern for helping those less fortunate than themselves.

The Rich Heritage of Brigg

Members of the Inner Wheel Club of Brigg (District 127) certainly learned a lot about their town as they met outside the Heritage Centre to begin their walk around Brigg looking for pubs! No, it was not a pub crawl, though during the interesting half hour tour with a very knowledgeable guide, they could have done to have nipped into one for a hot toddy as the wind was definitely cool!

The guide was the manager of the Heritage Centre and he talked about the history of the town from pre-13th Century when the whole area was under water to its development as a market town in 1205. It wasn’t until the 17th century that the term ‘Brigg’ was in common use. Nearly every building was a pub and the group was shown many present-day shops that were originally pubs. The oldest still in existence is the Yarborough Hunt whose past landlord sometimes threw undesirable customers into the river where their dead bodies were often found the following morning! The smallest and quaintest was The Cross Keys which was a room down the side of a fish shop, the evidence of which can still be seen today as a boarded over window!

The next stop was the Heritage Centre which is housed inside the Angel where they viewed the Brigg raft, a Bronze Age flat bottomed oak raft that was used to ferry people, animals and goods. First found in 1888, it was not excavated until 1974.

This was a fascinating day out. The Heritage Centre in Brigg is well worth a visit.

Suzanne Griffiths

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Why join Inner Wheel?

How can we communicate effectively with


Membership Awareness

Who are We? inspiring women who make a difference!

Why do we need members to join and stay

in Inner Wheel?

Promoting Inner Wheel to attract new


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