East Sussex Federation

Public affairs

The WI is a campaigning organisation, and has been since its foundation in 1915

We have recently formed a Public Affairs Committee at ESFWI with the aims of helping our members to understand the campaigns the WI supports, and to help WI groups and individuals to work on these campaigns in their own communities.


The list has just been published – WIs will vote on their choice in January 2020

  1. A call to increase potential stem cell donor registration

There is an urgent need to increase the number of people registered on the aligned UK stem cell registry in order to provide potentially life-saving treatment to people of all ages with certain blood cancers. We call on all WI members to promote registration to the database to avoid people dying whilst waiting for a match.

  1. Female crash test dummies

Women are significantly more likely to die, or be seriously injured, in car crashes than men. The WI calls on the government to mandate equitable testing with female crash test dummies to that of male dummies in regulatory vehicle safety tests; and for consumer organisations, such as EuroNCAP, to include a gendered breakdown in their published results.

  1. End modern slavery

There are tens of thousands of victims of modern slavery hiding in plain sight in the UK.  Modern slavery has severe consequences for the health and mental wellbeing of survivors.  The NFWI calls on Government to protect victims of modern slavery in the first instance and deliver longer term support to help them rebuild their lives. We call on our members to raise awareness of the prevalence of modern slavery throughout society and to campaign to defeat it.

  1. Time to talk about death and dying

64% of people in the UK think that we do not talk enough about death in this country, yet these conversations can be really helpful in enabling people to receive the end of life care they would want. In order to demystify a natural part of life, and support more people to share their wishes, the NFWI calls upon members to encourage open discussions about death and dying.

  1. Protect our precious helium

Helium is a precious resource that is widely used in healthcare, medical and scientific research, but it is non-renewable and in short supply. The NFWI calls on WI members to help raise awareness of the need to conserve helium, and on government and industry to work together to ensure it is used responsibly, and to support innovative research that could address the shortage such as reducing use or improving capture and recycling.


Two new resolutions passed at the 2019 Annual Meeting

Over 96% of delegates at the WI Annual Meeting in Bournemouth on 5th June voted to pass a resolution aimed at tackling the decline in local bus services.

The resolution, proposed by Burniston and Cloughton WI in North Yorkshire East Federation calls for the WI to lobby for more funding and work in partnership with bus companies and local authorities to improve services.

We want to hear from members who live in communities that have experienced cuts to bus services or where services are under threat. We are also keen to hear from members who have managed to save their services or develop new ways of making them sustainable. Do get in touch using the details below!

A resolution calling for action to tackle declining take up of cervical cancer screening was also supported by 97% of delegates.

In England and Wales women aged 25-49 are invited for cervical screening every three years, and those aged 50-64 are invited every five years. But attendance rates are currently at a 21 year low.

The resolution, put forward by Disley WI, Cheshire Federation, calls for WI members to attend their own screening appointments, to raise awareness of the issue and to tackle the barriers to attendance.

The NFWI will now develop a full campaign plan to enable members to take action locally and nationally to help raise screening rates. More information will be available in the August mailing, which every WI Secretary receives.

Climate change – ESFWI Climate Change Ambassadors start warming up!

Six of East Sussex Federation’s Climate Change Ambassadors got together at the Hailsham Headquarters, to get to know each other and discuss how best to work together.  Our role will be to help WI’s understand Climate Change and develop practical actions to help local communities cope with it.

Each of us shared how we had got involved in the Climate Change Campaign.  Some had felt strongly about the environment since school days, others had made positive changes in their lives as a result of recent events.  One CCA has developed a resolution for next year’s NFWI Annual Meeting, watch this space!

We discussed the resources we have at hand, including the materials provided by NFWI.  Each of us has a network of contacts, via the WI and in our families and local communities.  They can help us in our role with skills and information.  There is a great deal of overlap between Climate Change initiatives and the existing WI Campaigns such as Litter, Fair Trade, Pollution, Food Waste and Local Buses.

In the near future, we shall be sharing information on the ESFWI Website and on Facebook and testing an activity at the Brighton Belles WI.  Look out for messages from the CCA’s and Public Affairs at NFWI.

Our picture shows clockwise from the top left, Rosie English(East Dean & Friston), Susan Wilson(Beckley), Sue Margolis(Brighton Belles), Ann Majic(Brighton Belles), Margaret Plank(Seaford Martello) and Angie Lintott(Ovingdean).  Not Present: Tina Cox (Seaford)



If you have any questions or comments about Public Affairs please get in contact with Lee Ede, Sharon Hamby or Stephanie Gaunt via ESFWI HQ.

2019 – Key campaign dates